Frugal Fun

Everything costs an arm and a leg anymore. Even music. With the typical download cost per song cashing in at around a dollar, the cost of building up your musical library can become astronomical. Thankfully, it doesn't have to be. Join us for a post on where you can get your favorite tunes on the cheap...or even free!

The Library

It's that time of the year again. Kids have left backpacks and school books behind and long summer days stretch on for hours, just begging to be filled. Moms and dads are trying not to pull their hair out because it's barely July. You know - it's summer. If you're looking for things to do with your kiddos you both can enjoy that won't break the bank, read on for two frugal options for cheap family summer fun.

Hit the Lanes

I may have mentioned in an earlier post that my twin girls turned six this year. To mark the occasion, we had not one but two parties: a friends’ party and a party for the family. And because I’m crazy, I made (yes, made, not bought) two separate cakes. Now, I’m not much of a baker, and I’m not known in my social circle as a crafty-type individual. But even I have to say both cakes turned out pretty good. So, without further adieu, here’s a post about creating your own chocolate barrel cake so that you, too, can win friends and influence people.

Summer lovin’, had me a blast...
Hot fun in the summertime...
Singin’ sweet home Alabama all summer long...

Summer. As many songs as there are about the hottest season of the year, it must be something special – and what better time is there to share with that someone special in your life? Date nights with your spouse are important any time of the year.

Sounds Like...

My husband is an excellent gift giver. It amazes me each holiday how spot-on he is in his gift choices, and this past Christmas was no exception. Among my bounty in December was a brand-spankin’-new Kindle. I love it, and what makes me love it even more is finding all kinds of freebie reads to download to it. In fact, I think I’ve only paid for three books since Christmas (and two of those only cost a quarter each!). Here are some of the tips I’ve learned along the way to find free books for your e-reader of choice.

Mass Retailer of Choice

Cake baking can get boring. There are usually only a few options for the actual baking: making a traditional cake, whipping up some cupcakes or baking an everyday cake batter in a cake mold. Beyond that, creativity in the cake world has been assigned to the decorating…until now.

I don't know about where you live, but this year's winter has been a strange one, indeed. Normally, western New York is known for a virtual bounty of snow. Up until very recently, we had very little of the white stuff on the ground; in fact, a good majority of our winter has consisted of temperatures well above normal.

Finally, though, we got a good dose of the lake effect special, our lawns finally covered with a blanket of white. My five-year-old twins and I took the opportunity to try our hands at turning some of the snow into something other than a snowball: snow ice cream.

As Melinda continues her series on cheap places, she has decided to broaden her focus area to include some of the most exciting and fun locations across the United States. However, she needs our help. If you know of any cheap places to take the family, let us know in the comments below! For now, let’s take a look at my neck of the woods: Northeast Iowa.

Ah, yes, these are the days of endless diaper changes, bottle feedings and becoming all-too-familiar with the local pizza delivery dude. It doesn't matter if one parent stays home with the rugrats or both work, getting out of the house together at this time could even be more essential than any other period in a marriage. Your bond as husband and wife needs to be strong and united as you work to present a stable and happy front for your children. Keeping connected by date nights is one such way to help you achieve this.

Despite cringe-worthy gas prices, the long car trip is not a thing of the past. In fact, my hubby and I have just about become experts in the art of driving cross-country with two kids in tow. No, I assure you, we haven't taken leave of our senses; rather we are sane, rational adults who have chosen to drive instead of fly ever since our two precious bundles entered the world.

If you have a long car trip coming up, here are some thoughts on how you can get to your destination with your sanity intact and your wallet fat (or at least not completely deflated).