Nutter Butter Halloween Ghost – Instructions and Recipe ( $1.15 each bag decorated!)


Nutter Butter Halloween ghosts are a long tradition in our home. I remember my Mom making these when I was a teenager.

They are really easy, inexpensive and the kids can help do everything!

You will need Nutter Butters ( $3.47) Almond Bark ($2.98) and either Mini Morsels ($2.28) for the eyes or Mini Reeses Pieces ($1.98).

Chop up the Almond bark and melt in a double boiler or in the microwave. I don’t have a double boiler and so I do mine in a sauce pan.

You have to do this on the LOWEST heat possible and it will take a good 10 minutes to start melting good, but any higher heat and you will ruin the chocolate.

In the mean time, try and keep the kids out of the cookies!

Once the chocolate is smooth and all melted you are going to start dipping the cookies. I remove it from the heat because I let the kids do this. Every now and then you have to stick the pan back on to keep it melted.

Dip each cookie about 2/3 the way in. Shake them a little to get the excess off and sometimes I dip them a second time.

If you have any candy left…

This is where I grab kids and they can help either dip cookies or stick the eyes on.

We did one ghost with mini chocolate chip cookies and one with mini Reeses Pieces. Then we voted. The mini Reese pieces won because they were a little bigger.

After dipping, place them on wax paper, parchment paper or a surface where they won’t stick. You can make the chocolate harden faster by sticking them in the freezer or fridge, but I just let mine harden for about an hour on the counter.

Then you can place them in little gift baggies or boxes and give them away!

I used clear plastic gift bags ($1.99) from Walmart, ribbon from Dollar Tree ($1) and pumpkin and cat cut outs ($1.50 for 12)  from Targets Dollar Spot.

Total cost for 3 cookies in a bag with decoration: $1.15

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Halloween Decorating from the Dollar Stores


This is what I’ve done in the past. I am positing my Instagram picture because it looks cooler than the original!

I was at Dollar Tree one year and thought they had some really good decorations this year and for $1 each I could afford to have some fun!

My mini Christmas trees ended up as Halloween Trees. My husband thought it was a little sacrilegious, but the kids loved it! :) I thought the witches hats as the toppers were really cute. I bought every single thing at the Dollar Tree but the green netting. I got that at Hobby Lobby with my 40% off.

I figured it cost me $18 to decorate the front door. I already had the green netting from last Christmas and the mini Christmas trees.

  • 4 Spiders
  • 3 Black Creepy Cloths
  • 2 Skeleton Sets
  • 2 Spider Wreaths
  • 2 Rolls of Halloween Ribbon
  • 2 Witches Hats
  • 2 Halloween Picks ( flowers)
  • 1 Plastic Rat

Not quite as cool looking this way huh?! Instagram makes everything look cool! Anyway, I am sure some of you much more crafty people could have made this look better, but the kids love it and that is all that matters.

Don’t forget to look at the costume and party supplies. You can make some good costumes with what they have available. Plus, the party stuff is really cute!

Have you decorated with Dollar Store finds before? What did you do? 

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When your 4 year old plays with your phone…

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Well, this is what happens when your 4 year old plays with your phone… $108.24 in apps downloaded. :( One was a $99.99 Batman app. Which is crazy because I have a password lock on my iTunes account, if I want to buy a $.99 song I have to put in my password. How she was able to do this with no password is aggravating.

Have you had this happen? Were you able to get the charges reversed?

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Extreme Couponing craze in Tweens!

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The past 2 weeks I have had the amazing opportunity to travel a LOT and teach 26 coupon classes in a few different states. One thing that I have noticed in the past few months is the number of “tweens” who are HUGE fans of the show Extreme Couponing.

In each class I have taught there are always a few tweens who came to say “hi” and who basically begged their parents to take them to the class.

I LOVE THIS!!!

My kids friends are completely addicted to the show and ask my kids questions all the time. Of course my kids roll their eyes and do their best to answer questions, but my kids are hardly impressed :)

When I was a teen, I was super frugal but didn’t have the first clue about how to use a coupon or where to get them. These kids are the ones helping their parents and in some cases doing the couponing for their families. What a smart and thrifty group of teens! The cool thing for me is to imagine how much better they will do financially in college and after. I wish SO MUCH that I had known how coupon in college and even high school. These kids already know how and are doing it!

P.S. Sorry for my dumb smile… they were in the middle if making fun of me for being shorter then them and I could not stop laughing!

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Guess who was on Let’s Ask America?!

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If you like game shows… and you have nothing to do tomorrow during the day… you can catch me, and the kids on the Let’s Ask America game show!

Lets ask america

The premise is 4 people at home on Skype competing for $$ by answering questions where people America voted in the answers.

About the Show

“Let’s Ask America” is a daily, half-hour, television game show that lets you, the home viewer, be a contestant on the show on TV from the comfort of your home via web chat.

lets ask america 2

This is the “behind the scenes” of the kids and I competing. They were troopers, they had to stand there for almost 4 hours… I was pretty impressed with them!

You have to watch to find out how I did! You can check the times in your area HERE.

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It’s Shark Week Viewing Game!

You know how crazy we are about Shark Week! It is a family tradition for us, we watch each night and celebrate the week! I really should work for Discovery promoting them…

This week we are playing a game as we watch. I saw a drinking game that you can play while you watch and didn’t really think it would be appropriate for the kids, and not really for us as we don’t drink. However, if you do, just know that it is out there! LOL!

I changed it up a little and created the Shark Week Viewing Game game you see above.

The kids are going to get little bags or containers and as we play if they earn points we are going to use something like beans, or M&M’s as the points. You could also just use an old fashioned pen and paper to keep track!

This is a fun way to spend some time as a family and hang out together!

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Weekend Trip To San Antonio!

The Alamo night

When we have the chance, we often take a weekend trip to San Antonio. It is really one of our favorite cities. We have been coming here for the weekend since the kids were little, there is just so much to do!

We left late Friday night and as my tradition, I have Paul take me by the Alamo. It is silly, but I always cry when I am here. The reason why is a number of things, the history, the story, the bravery, how young all the men were, having an ancestor who fought here, and just the reverence of the building. I won’t ever get tired of visiting.

We headed to our hotel, and got everyone settled. They were exhausted thankfully and quickly fell asleep. We get 2 rooms now that everyone is bigger and I use a kids travel bed for the little ones.

the alamo day

We have been hosting an 18 year old semi – pro soccer player for the summer and since he was done with soccer, we wanted to take him to see some of Texas. That would be McKinnlee on the far right, towering above my little family! :)

It took him a little time to get used to all the kids, but I think he was sad to go yesterday when he left!

ripley's

The Alamo is right in the middle of the city. Parking can be a little tricky, but if we can do it in “the beast” anyone can find a spot! Across the street from the Alamo is an entire 3 blocks of funky and fun shops. They also have the Ripley’s Believe it or Not venue and Guinness Book of World Records.

On this trip we were able to check out these attractions thanks to the San Antonio passport. If you ever need any help deciding what to do in San Antonio, make sure to check out Visit San Antonio for everything with help from finding a hotel, to finding events.

sea world day

Sea World is a tradition for us every year and they had the new Aquatica open this year. It is a HUGE water park where you can get up close to birds and even swim with the sting rays.

Paul and I got the last 2 spots to swim with the sting rays for the day and that was a blast! It was $20 a person for about 20 minutes. They were like little puppies all looking for some food! The kids sat on the side all grouchy that we were having all the fun. For $5 you can sit on the side and feed them. which is worth a try as well.

sea world sign

Ok this is what I like the best. You can being a small cooler into Sea World, which for me with all my little kids is a big deal. I love that I can bring in water (I freeze it first so it is cold all day) and snacks. The cooler can’t be bigger than 12 inches on any side.

Plan on spending all day at the park and even maybe a 2nd day if you have the time.

Magic Time Machine

Tradition for us is always to go to Magic Time Machine. This is on of the most bizarre restaurants you will ever go to, and make sure to ask where the bathroom is…. :)  The waiters and waitresses all dress up like a character, some have been the same one for 9 years or more.

I usually get a gift certificate HERE. Currently they have a $50 gift certificate for only $30.

paul driving

Traffic has always been a little heavy on 1-10 into Houston on a Sunday afternoon. But it gives us time to hang out as a family in the car, which believe it or not we like to do.

One my most favorite things in the world is to be on the highway with all the kids, this guy ^^^^ driving and some good music on. If you are thinking of San Antonio, you won’t be disappointed. Make sure to message me with any questions and I can help you plan a weekend trip!

 

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How to make a Harry Potter Wand


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We spent the weekend being crafty. My kids are on a BIG Harry Potter kick, about 5 years behind the times, but loving it none the less. We watched most of the movies in the car on the way to and from California and all over Arizona and Texas this past month. They turn everything from straws. to sticks to  granola bars into magic wands.

I love listening to them and watching the big kids get completely involved and play along. In fact, we have made up a list of our own “Ivanovsky Spells.”

My Favorite? In place of one of the more popular Harry Potter spells “expelliarmus” the Ivanovsky version is “smelly lamas.” I am sure you can see how the rest of them go!

My oldest has a “real” Harry Potter wand he got one year from Santa, it was the pricy kind at $40 that is motion activated. The little kids drug it out and have been fighting I mean sharing it nicely all week. They had a lemonade stand earning $42 and decided to pool the money to buy another wand. Like that is  going to go well…

My crafty 8 year old got online and found many different sets of instructions on how to make a wand. The other kids shook their heads and said “no!” She begged me to help her make one. Since I had just about everything I said sure, and we got started.

You will need: 

  • Glue Gun / Glue Sticks (about 3 large ones for each wand)
  • Craft Paint (we liked metallic and glitter)
  • Construction paper
  • Chop Sticks or wooden dowels
  • Elmers Glue
  • Marble or something to put at the handle end. We found a bag of wedding gems at Walmart for $3.50 that worked perfectly.

Place glue on one side of any color of construction paper.

Take your chop stick and roll from the corner tightly.

When I got to the end, I taped the corner down and we left them to dry.

Now, when they are all dry, you will need to cut off the ends so they are flat.

Working with one end, I filled the end with hot glue and stuck the end of the gem in. I turned it upside down and held it until the glue had set.

The bigger kids started to take notice and thought we might be onto something cool, so they started making their own construction paper tubes!

Once the top was set, I took more hot glue and make rings around the gem and tube reinforcing it even more. I needed them to be sturdy!

This is where your glue gun skills come in handy! If you lived though the craft phase of the 90′s you know what I mean! :)

Start from the below your gem/marble and start building up a few layers of glue. I tried to spread it down, and as it would drip I would roll it around, making some kinda funky patterns.

The thickest layers need to be at the top and get thinner as you go towards the bottom. Just keep in mind what a wand might look like with a handle.

Once you have the first 1/2 of the wand done and before the glue cools, use the tip and make designs in the glue. This will give your wand cool dimensions and areas to paint when you are finishing it.

Once the glue has cooled, you will paint a coat of solid black over the wand as a primer.

The black really pulls out all the 3D of the glue. They start looking really cool at this point.

By now, I have all 7 kids making a wand :)

Once the black has dried, you can start painting your wand. My kids liked the glitter and metallic paint for theirs. We used gold a lot for the accents.

They took a few coats because of a few mind changes. Plus a few hours of drying time. But once they were done I thought they looked REALLY cool!

The kids were really proud of themselves as well. The big kids were so impressed they wanted to have friends over to make some with them!

These are our finished Harry Potter wands. They are very sturdy and really neat looking! When you feel them it is hard to imagine that they are made of chop sticks, construction paper and hot glue!

I added a few more lines of hot glue at the end on the wands where I painted the gold you can see to give them more of a 3D look then they already had.

For the other end, the kids went out and grabbed a few little rocks and we glued them in. One of the kids use a small gem for theirs, and one of the kids didn’t want anything and I filled the end with hot glue. These really feel like they were made out of wood.

They spent all day playing with them.

One final step that I have not done yet but will when I can get them back is to take a few small drops of black paint and mix it in a lot of water to create a wash. I want to “antique” them some and so I will brush the paint water on and then wipe it off so it creates an antiquing effect.

Cost of a fancy Harry Potter wand: $40  x 7 kids = $280!

Total cost of our Harry Potter wands: $21 for 7!

I am assuming you have a glue gun in those calculations! I had to buy some paint, the gems, and more glue sticks. Total saved = $259. Now if I can just figure out how to make them light up!
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4th of July Candy Craft Snack – Candy Kabobs


If you want to keep your kids (and husband) busy for a while, you can try this cute candy snack that we make for the 4th of July each year to take with us as we watch the fireworks!

All you need are some lollipop sticks or skewers and soft candy. I used mostly gummy candies. I also tried to just use red, white and blue for the 4th of July to make it festive. It would also be cute to do them to match birthday parties with different colors.

I was able to buy ALL the candy at our local convenience store this year. They carry all kinds of bagged prepackaged gummy candy, salt water taffy, and gummy lifesavers. I placed them all in bowls on the table, gave each child/Dad a lollipop stick and let them at it!

This is the one Paul made, actually one of the 10, he really got into it with the girls! We packaged ours in little gift bags with ribbon tied around the top. The sticks and bags we put them in cost $1.75 each at Walmart. You can find these in the craft section at your local store.

On the ones for the girls we have little necklaces for the 4th to go with them, turned out really cute!

Do you have any cute crafts for the 4th?

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Hitch Haul – Can’t live without item!

::REPOST – We just used ours again this weekend and had someone ask us about it, so I am reposting!::

I know this is a frugal blog but it is also my family blog AND an in general, “how to make your life easier” blog. You didn’t know you were getting all that in one did you?!

This weekend we went out of town to the Frio river for a long weekend. On Sunday as we were eating lunch it occurred to me that how handy the “Hitch Haul” that we have really is. The Hitch Haul is a platform that you can attach to the back of your truck or car to give you added storage space for your vehicle. This is one of the best, if not the best, under $100 purchases we have made for traveling! Well, beside the adapter to charge my computer while driving…

Sunday we used it as a picnic table to have lunch on, and again on Monday!  Usually we use it for the ice chest, water cooler and extra Rubbermaid’s that don’t fit in the truck. We have used it to haul wood, hay and anything else that is dirty to avoid having to vacuum out the truck when done. We used it for boxes when we moved.

We purchased ours at Amazon for around $70. It has been so used and needed I think it is one of the best purchases you can make if you travel!

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