Free (Or Cheap) Things To Do With Your Kids This Summer

This post contains some affiliate links. You can find out more about affiliate links on the Disclosure and Policies page.


Summer is finally here! No more homework checks, or school lunches, or uniforms. The kids get to have sleep in, have fun, and enjoy some time being kids.

And it took all of three hours for mine to say I’m  bored.

When you’re on a tight budget the idea of keeping your kids entertained throughout the summer can seem pretty daunting. So many things cost so much money. With three kids a single day at an amusement park can easily cost us 200.00 or more…that is definitely not in our budget! But summer fun doesn’t always have to break the bank. Below are some ways you can have fun with the kids this summer, without dishing out a bunch of cash in the process.

Parks and Splash Parks  

They are fun, and they are free! Pack a few snacks and some sunscreen and hit the park for an afternoon of fun. The best part is that the other kids there will keep your little one occupied, so mama can sit down and snag a small break…maybe.


Although many museums do charge an entrance fee, if you do your homework you an often find once that offer free admissions or search out the few days a year when your local museum offers free or reduced price admission. For example the Smithsonian Institute, Pioneers Museum, Bronx Museum, and Olympic Sculpture park all offer free admission. Museums are a great way to keep your child’s mind engaged and learning this summer, and they usually have air conditioning which is always a plus for me.

Movies in the Park, or in the backyard

Movies in the park is one of our favorite summer activities, we pack a cooler with our favorite snacks and a blanket and load up to go spend a night watching movies under the stars. Every place we have ever lived has offered this activity 100% free. If your community doesn’t offer this activity you can still turn your backyard into your own drive in. You can get projectors fairly inexpensive on Amazon and hang a sheet on an outside wall as a screen.

Invite some friends over for some DIY Jenga, or a water balloon fight using reusable water balloons, and it turn it into a party.

Craft Your Heart Out (DIY sidewalk paint, bubble paint, make a bird feeder)

My kids love any chance they have at making a mess, it’s honestly just a bonus to them if something cute comes out in the process. In the winter time I find myself trying to keep our crafting low key, because I don’t want to spend 3 hours cleaning up a 20  minute craft while my kids destroy the rest of the house. Can you blame me?

But in the summer, the kids can craft outside, and they can make any mess they want as long as the water hose will clean it up! We’ve tried DIY Sidewalk paint, making bird feeders, and adding food coloring to a homemade bubble mixture to create bubble paint. To help with our budget, I generally look for crafts with ingredients we already have, as well as things like thread spools as bubble blowers so we don’t have to spend extra money.

Go for a hike

Whether it’s a state park with long and winding trails, or exploring your town on own two feet, getting out and hiking together is a great way to spend time as a family. It also will wear the kids out, so that’s always a plus.


Any reason to stay up late earns a big thumbs up in my kids books. Lay out a blanket and grab an astronomy book for kids. Make a game out of seeing who can find the most constellations, or count the most stars. My kids love to play ‘connect the dots’ to see what kinds of shapes they can come up with on their own!

Lowe’s and Home Depot Workshops

My grandpa always told me that he was so glad I loved to learn, but to make sure I learned skills as well as books. Lowe’s and Home Depot must feel the same way, and both provide the perfect learning environment for our little ones. Lowe’s offers Build and Grow Clinics every Saturday, while Home Depot offers theres once a month on average from what I’ve seen. The best part is both are completely free, and kids get to keep what they build.


I mentioned that giving back can be a fun activity in my Date Nights post a few weeks ago, but it’s not just for grown ups! There are a lot of areas where kids can get involved in communities too. Like playing with animals at the pound, collecting food for shelters, or helping to organize the inventory at the local food pantry.

Library Fun

Story time, crafts, foreign language classes, cooking classes, and so much more are offered at our local library for kids. And all of it is completely free. As a family we try to go once a week to get new books, and we try to schedule it at a time that an activity is scheduled. This summer our local library has programs teaching kids about music and movement, recycling, and the Rain Forest, and community helpers.

What kinds of things do you plan to do with your kids this summer? Let me know in the comments below!

No Spend June

Today’s a special day, you’re getting two blog posts from me. I’m so excited about this news I just couldn’t help myself.

This morning I sat down with my husband and offered up the idea of a no spend month. A month where the only money coming out of our wallets is for gas, groceries, and bills.

No eating out. No trips to the ice-cream store or to the movies. No Target runs for mom (well, other than the once a month I have to go get Austen’s meds).

Nothing, nada, zip, zero, zilch.

I know that getting ahold of our finances also requires getting ahold of our spending habits, and a no spend month will help us in that endeavor. It’s going to be tough, but I know when July 1st comes around and I see my bank statements, it will also be so rewarding.

Six Ideas For A Fun (And Free) Date Night

This post contains some affiliate links. You can find out more about affiliate links on the Disclosure and Policies page.

“Never stop dating each other.” 

It was a piece of marriage advice I heard once while I was a teenager. I think during a sermon but I’m not 100% sure. It’s funny how you can remember a quote or a saying, but not take it to heart until much later. It’s definitely true about me and that sentence.

Tomorrow my husband and I will celebrate seven years of marriage. Not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it sure seems like a lot to us. Our marriage has not always been a walk in the park, and there have been times when both of us wanted to give up. But we’ve persisted and held strong. The other day I was thinking back on the last seven years, both good times and bad. I was trying to pick out what made the good years good, and the bad years bad. And while I truly believe it was several things, there was one common denominator during the good years: we dated.

During the good years we made a point to nurture our marriage and each other, and it showed.

It’s easy to stop dating your spouse. To make up excuses about why it’s not practical.

We don’t have a babysitter.

We work too much.

We don’t have enough money.

It’s so easy to come up with excuses, but let me tell you now there is no excuse to stop dating your spouse. Not even money. A date night doesn’t have to be an expensive extravaganza to be fulfilling, in fact some of my favorite date nights haven’t cost us a penny at all.

Here are some of my favorites:

  1. A Walk in the Park: I love this one because it can be done with the kids in tow if the need arises. The kids are distracted by the playground and you can take some time for yourselves on a park bench. Just sit and talk, reconnect.
  2. Netflix and Chill: Put the kids to bed, grab a cup of tea or a bottle of wine and some popcorn and sit together to watch that new series you’ve been eyeing for weeks but can’t let the kids see. Grab a blanket and cuddle, you don’t even have to talk if you don’t want to.
  3. Game Night: You know that game of Scrabble that’s been sitting in the closet since college? Take it out and have fun! See who can come up with the longest or craziest word. Up the ante by declaring winner makes dinner and does the dishes tomorrow night.
  4. Volunteer Together: Volunteering cost 0.00 and it’s always fun to help others out, doing it with your spouse is even better.
  5. Budget Meeting: I can see the eyes rolling now, but hear me out. When you and your spouse are both on the same page, planning a budget, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and allowing yourself to just dream can be fun. I love sitting with a glass of wine and dreaming about what we will do when our debt is all gone.

And the winner is….

Congratulations Sara on winning two sets of unpaper towels from Creekside Kid! You should have gotten an email letting you know of your win. Please email me at by Sunday May 14th to claim your prize.

Thank you all for your participation, and I hope you have a fabulous day!



The Lazy Mom’s DIY Dish Soap Recipe

This post contains some affiliate links. You can find out more about affiliate links on the Disclosure and Policies page.

When I first started on our minimal waste journey one of the main things I knew I wanted to tackle was the mountain of cleaning products I use. My great-greatgrandmother didn’t have this many cleaning products, I told myself (she was the author of several Home Economics books back in the day) and she somehow survived. If she could so can I. So I started reading and researching different products I could make on my own using less, and more sustainable, ingredients.

Alas, one of the first things I ran out of was dish soap, and for some reason it was also the most intimidating. I mean this needs to clean the things my family eats off of each day. Our healthy quite literally was dependent on me getting this right.

But y’all, I’ve got to admit, I can be lazy. I was not interested in a massive undertaking involving melting, cooking, and stirring ingredients. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I have been a huge fan of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap for several years now, so I started looking for recipes that involved it, but then I made another discovery. Dr. Bronner had another product that I had somehow missed all these years-and it’s seriously changed my life, and my cleaning game.

So here it is, my DIY easy-peasy, lazy mom approved liquid dish soap. I hope you enjoy 🙂


1 Cup Dr. Bronner’s Organic Sal Suds Liquid Cleaner

1 Cup Distilled Water

1/4 Tbsp White Vinegar

10 Drops Plant Therapy’s KidSafe Germ Destroyer

Want to get this recipe in printable version? Join the mailing list to have access to this and many other useful tools!

Zero Waste and Toiletries: Making the Switch

This post contains some affiliate links. You can find out more about affiliate links on the Disclosure and Policies page.

When I first decided to jump on the zero waste, or minimal waste, bandwagon I wanted to start in the easiest place possible. Low and slow have been my motto, and after analyzing my household usage I decided that the bathroom was it.

I decided this for once simple reason: I was already out of almost everything in my bathroom so I could simply replace it all in one fell swoop. It was fast, it was easy, and it was actually relatively painless. In fact, the only things that we continue that still create trash are toilet paper and my husbands toothpaste. Even though his shampoo and conditioner are still in bottles, as soon as those are done we plan to head on over to the Zero Market with the hopes that they have liquid shampoo and conditioner that we can refill our bottles with.

I’ve honestly been very excited about how easy the switch has been, and how little my husband has complained about it.

Interested in seeing exactly what I use? Well wait no further…

I switched out both our adult and child sized toothbrushes to bamboo alternatives. I love this brand because literally everything about the toothbrush, from the bristles to the packaging, are all 100% biodegradable. No more toothbrush waste! My toothpaste is a homemade recipe I’ve been trying out that includes activated charcoal as a whitening agent. I’m still 100% how I feel about it, and will post the recipe once I perfect it.

For my hair I went to Lush to check out some of their zero waste options, the New Shampoo Bar and Big Solid Conditioner had me a little nervous at first, I’m not going to lie. But they have been amazing for my hair so far. In fact, I have been able to go longer in between washes than I ever have in my life, and my hair feels soft and healthy. I’ve tripled down and also started using a solid soap bar as well instead of liquid body wash. Lush’s Honey I Washed the Kids Soap Bar is tough enough for the adults in our home, while gentle enough for the kids.

Like with my shampoo and conditioner, I wanted to try out some zero waste options for my face as well. Lush’s Movis Face Soap and Full of Grace Solid Moisturizer have been great choices. The Movis Face Soap is tough enough to take off most of my makeup, while also gently exfoliating my skin, and the Full of Grace Moisturizer feels light on my skin while doing a good job at protecting it from the dry Colorado climate.

When my makeup is super tricky to get off I reach for a normal kitchen staple in coconut oil, seriously nothing has done a better job at getting of my water proof eyeliner! I then reach for an alcohol free witch hazel as a toner, although neither of these products are fully zero waste I can reuse the coconut oil bottle in my pantry, and the witch hazel bottle is recyclable in my city.

Last but not least comes my deodorant. Aluminum based antiperspirants are the pits, studies show they are horrible for you, but every time I’ve tried to move towards a more natural option I’ve been left smelling like a barnyard. I have to admit I didn’t hold out much hope for Lush’s T’eo Deodorant, a solid deodorant bar that is again zero waste, but I have been more than pleasantly surprised. It smells like sweet lemons and lasts all day long. Please remember though, this is not an antiperspirant, so you will sweat. But sweating is actually good for you, so that’s okay with me.

The awesome thing about Lush is they also offer reusable tins to hold your products in. So when you buy from a Lush store you do not even have to use any packaging to purchase your products.

There is only one thing in my bathroom that has not yet been switched out, and that is my razors. I am down o my last disposable product, and my next purchase will be a good quality safety razor. I have to admit, I am scared to death go. Stay tuned for an update on how that turns out!

Zero Waste Paper Product Alternatives | GIVEAWAY!

This post contains some affiliate links. You can find out more about affiliate links on the Disclosure and Policies page.

Hello everyone!

I am so excited to be hosting this giveaway, seriously Creekside Kid’s products have made it so easy for me to begin switching to a minimal waste lifestyle and I love being able to share that with you. Check out the contest rules below and don’t forget there is more than one way to enter! The winner will be announced Wednesday May 10th!


Products Featured:

Unpaper Towels

Facial Rounds

Baby Wipes

Contest Rules:

Open only to contestants in the United States.

The only mandatory entry is that you MUST subscribe to my newsletter.

Additional entries can be obtained through following me on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as commenting on this post.

Free contest software by Rewards Fuel

Going Minimal Waste?!

This post contains some affiliate links. You can find out more about affiliate links on the Disclosure and Policies page.

Hi Guys!

I’ve always considered myself kind of crunchy. I cloth diaper my kids, breastfeed as long as possible, and try to go the more natural route with both our food and our health. But I recently came across a few Zero Waste YouTube channels, and then read Zero Waste Home by Be a Johnson and I came to the realization that even though I am a little crunchy, I am not making anywhere near as much of an impact on the planet as I would like to.

So I’ve decided to tackle our waste output, to bring less packaging into our home, and decrease the amount of waste going out of our home as well. I know I can’t be completely Zero Waste, Austen’s medical needs would never allow that, but I want to make an effort to combat the amount of trash we are sending to the landfill.

I know that a lot of people assume that by going green we will be spending a lot of green, but I am going to tackle that too. I actually thinking that going green will help us on our debt free journey. Because by reusing what we have, recycling what we can, and buying the least amount of extra stuff as possible we will be saving money along the way.

I look forward to taking you on this journey with us, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter to stay up to date on everything going on, as well as subscribe to my YouTube channel so you never miss a video!



5 Ways You Can Go Green While Saving Green Today

This post contains some affiliate links. You can find out more about affiliate links on the Disclosure and Policies page.

Brand Indentity Logo Design by Garlic Friday

I love to talk about going green in real life, especially coming from a small town where it wasn’t really the ‘cool thing’ to do. My cloth diapers, reusable grocery bags, and glass water bottle were always great conversation starters to let me share my views in comfortable and easy going way. But while people were intrigued by my crunchy ways, my conversations always seemed to end with the same results. People were interested in going green, but were worried that the transition would cost them too much money.

At first this really caught me off guard, I admit, because a lot of my green ways came about because I come from very very frugal roots. As in my dad literally never had paper towels in our house, not because he was trying to save the planet, but because he was too cheap to waste money on something so disposable.

But nonetheless I do know that even though things like cloth diapers and reusable water bottles will save you a ton of money in the long run (more on that in later posts), I want to let you know that you do not actually have to shell out any money at all in order to start making green changes in your life. That’s right, you can totally go green without spending any green at all. In fact, many of these ways will help you save green as well!

So here are my top five tried and true ways to go green, and save green, without spending any green. How about you try to say that five times fast!

Brick in the toilet

Okay it doesn’t have to be a brick, really anything that takes up a large amount of volume and is heavy enough to sink in the toilet tank can be used in this little hack, like an old coke bottle filled with pebbles or something similar. The purpose is to take up volume in the tank, so that the tank holds less water. Less water used in every flush means less water being used by your household every day. This will add up to not only a savings in your water bill, but also helps to save your community on energy needed to treat water and pump water to your home as well as helping to protect the wildlife that rely on the rivers and lakes in which our water comes from.


Turn off appliances you’re not using

Okay, turning off lights when you leave a room is kind of a no brainer, but do you know that many appliances continue to use energy even when they are turned off? That’s right, your microwave, lamps, coffee maker, and radios are all adding to your energy bill, even when you aren’t using them. The Energy Star website actually says that US pays 11 billion dollars on average annually in stand by energy costs. That’s roughly 87 dollars a year per household.

Line dry your clothes, and wash them in cold water

This is one of my favorite money saving hacks, because I personally love the smell of line dried clothes, especially in the summer. But if the fresh air scent isn’t your thing, maybe the fact that a small load of laundry costs you on average .36 to dry will make you change your mind (that’s about 131 dollars in savings a year if you do a small load of laundry each day). For my family those savings double because we also do a load of cloth diapers a day too.

As for washing in cold water, the savings are even more substantial. A hot wash/warm rinse will cost you an average .68 a load, whereas a cold wash/cold rinse will cost a mere .04 a load. Using the same standards as above of a small load each day, the average american family would then save a total of 233.60 a year just by washing in cold water.

And if the money savings aren’t enough, know that switching to cold water washing eliminates about 1600 pounds of carbon dioxide commissions every year per household. It also helps your clothes to last longer, saving you even more money in the long run.

I line dry clothes even in the winter, using foldable laundry racks such as this. Although it is a little bit of an investment, it does pay off in the long run.

Make your own cleaning solutions

One of the biggest ah-ha moments in going green to me was that I didn’t have to go out and spend a ton of money buying cleaning products for everything from glass to the toilet. It is so easy to make effective cleaning products from items you usually have in your home. Baking soda, vinegar, peroxide, and lemon juice can all be used to make great cleaners for almost every surface of your home. Sign up for my email list (located on the left hand sidebar) and gain access to my free printables page to get a list of some of my favorite cleaning recipes.

Choose to Reuse

Let’s face it, we live in a disposable society. Whereas our ancestors used to reuse items until they couldn’t anymore (and then they often went in the compost) we throw away everything from paper towels to shampoo bottles to endless amounts of food packaging. Do you know American’s use 500 million drinking straws every single day? That is insane! And while I do advocate buying your own reusable items such as water bottle and straws, you can reuse the items you already have in your home just as easily. For example old rags and towels can be repurposed for cleaning, so can old t shirts. Cotton fabric scraps can be composted, so can newspaper and a lot of junk mail. I even use my old prefold diapers as swiffer mop heads. You can fix items such as mixers and blenders instead of disposing of them and buying new ones, and even if your not ready to give up your plastic ziploc bags you can still rinse them, dry them, and use them again. I mean, they’re going to be around forever anyway, why not use them as much as you can?

See, going green and saving green really is easy. Do you have any free tips on going green? Share them in the comments below!

Brand Indentity Logo Design by Garlic Friday