20 [Mostly] FREE Things to Do With Your Toddler This Summer

Summer Fun With Your Toddler!

Summer’s here. Actually, it feels like it’s almost over. July has just started, but it’s already a blur on the calendar, filled with one event after another. And by the time August arrives, I’ll feel like it’s practically time for school to start!
The days have a way of getting away from me too fast, only realizing at dinner time that we really didn’t do anything fun today. That’s why I made this list of some fun (and mostly free) things to do with my little ones during the day. Although each activity on this list is very simple, they’re all things that my Littles LOVE to do, and a guaranteed way to make them happy and wear them out! 🙂
1. Go to the beach. For us, it’s just a lake or river beach, but it might as well be an ocean to a kid. Pack towels, sunscreen, snacks, and water. Kids will splash and play for hours. You don’t need fancy shovel and pail sets for sand castles, just use your old plastic leftover containers, plastic cups, and measuring spoons.

2. Fill a plastic storage tub with water and toys and watch them stay busy for at least an hour! My kids love splashing and being messy, and they have as much fun doing this as they do splashing in the pool!

3. Go to the splash pad! It’s fun, and FREE!

4. Play date at the park! Meet up with some other tots & parents at the park, where you can enjoy some adult conversation while the kids have a ball.

5. Go tour your local nature center. They usually have free tours and classes where kids and parents can see many different types of plants, animals and nature.

6. Get a library card and enjoy tot story time, new books, free DVD rentals, children’s programs, and so much more. All free!

7. Go to Barnes & Noble and play at the Lego table. We love going to the book store, even when we don’t buy anything. They always have lots of stuff to see, and this really cool Lego table that kids are always welcome to play with. This is also a great way to get your child socializing.

8. Visit the pet store and teach your kids about all the different animals and fish. We have a great pet store with an awesome tropical fish department. My son loves to go visit “Nemo” there!

9. Go for a nature walk. Let your kids pick up leaves, sticks, flowers & rocks. Make an arrangement out of them when you get home and let it be your table centerpiece.

10. Run through the sprinkler in your yard.

11. Let your kids play outside with shaving cream, hose them off when all done.

12. Build a blanket fort inside on a super hot day. Have snack time inside with flashlights.

13. Collect fireflies in a jar with your kiddo at night and let the jar sit next to their bed till they fall asleep. (Then set the fireflies free).

14. Splash & play outside in a kiddy pool. The hard plastic ones are only $4 at walmart.

15. Find a free petting zoo and let your kids visit and learn about all the animals.

16. Check out free summer kids movies at your local movie theatre. Most towns offer these weekly through the summer.

17. Throw water balloons! You can get a large bag of balloons for just a buck at Dollar Tree!

18. Draw a hot wheels track in your driveway using sidewalk chalk and watch your child have fun with all their cars!

19. Have a picnic lunch on a blanket in the grass. Have yummy sandwiches, a special drink and a treat for dessert.

20. Go to the lake or river and throw rocks in the water. You’d be amazed how exciting this is for kids. The bigger the splash, the more laughs you’ll get!

Enjoy your Summer days! Time goes way too fast to miss out on the sunshine! 🙂


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Cheap DIY Colloidal Oatmeal Bath Treatment

DIY “Aveeno” Colloidal Oatmeal Bath for Eczema

Colloidal oatmeal is a soothing addition to baths for the treatment of eczema, rashes, and other skin irritations. To put it simply, colloidal oatmeal is nothing more than VERY finely-ground oatmeal. So then why is it so expensive?! It doesn’t have to be if you DIY it! 🙂

Both of my little guys suffer from really bad eczema, especially in the cold, dry winter like what we’re having now. We have prescription meds to treat the problem, but whenever possible, I prefer to go the natural, homeopathic route first.

We’ve bought Aveeno Colloidal Oatmeal Bath Treatment for Eczema, but at around $10 a pop per box, and using at least one box per week per kiddo, think about that… It adds up to around $80 per month! This just will not do! I’m all about doing what’s best for my kids, but you know me…I’m also all about saving money.

DIY Colloidal Oatmeal … Just like “Aveeno”!

Sooooo…I decided to make my own colloidal oatmeal treatment, just like Aveeno.
But get this…mine is only about 7 cents per treatment, or $4 PER MONTH!! How’s that for savings?

Here’s what you need:

– Whole Oats. I buy mine at Aldi for about $2 for a huge, 42 ounce container.
– Something to grind them. I use an inexpensive food processor.

Aldi oatmeal…under $2 for a giant tub!

Add 1-2 cups of oats at a time into food processor and grind for several minutes until the oatmeal is a very fine powder. The finer the powder, the better it is for a bath, as it dissolves very easily in water and won’t leave large chunks on your skin and hair.

Once it is a very fine powder, transfer to a jar or plastic bag and store in a cool, dry place.

Soothing DIY Colloidal Oatmeal.

You’ll notice that the finely-ground oatmeal smells EXACTLY like the expensive Aveeno (but ours is DIRT CHEAP, so that makes it smell way, WAY better!) 🙂

Mix about 1 cup of colloidal oatmeal in a lukewarm bath for best results. I like to add 3 drops of lavender essential oil and 3 drops of frankincense essential oil to my kids’ baths along with the colloidal oatmeal.

Your skin will thank you! Enjoy! 🙂

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Tips for Feeding Picky Toddlers

How I Got My Picky Toddler to Eat!

Moms will do anything (within reason!) for our kids’ health an happiness. So, when my picky-eating toddler got even pickier (how is that even possible??), I decided to get creative!

I have tried nutrition shakes, I’ve tried hiding veggies in sauces, juices, and even created my own recipe for Black Bean Veggie Brownies (recipe here). Still, the little Pumpkin would only graze on bites here and there. And milk… Lots and LOTS of milk (at least there’s that). What gives?!

My picky toddler enjoying some fun food.

My frustration led me to vent on my Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages, and THAT led to some good advice from some smart moms.

I was SUPER excited when the makers of Pick-Ease reached out to us! …and I’m super excited to share their product with you! When I come across cool things, I just have to pass them on.

Pick-Ease is a super cute, fun little utensil made especially for picky eaters. They come in bright colors, with little designs on one end, and a pick on the other end, sort of like a toothpick but bigger. It allows kids to stab their food and make their own little kabobs. 🙂 Some of my favorite foods come on sticks, so why not let the little ones enjoy their noms that way, too?!


My little Pumpkin was definitely intrigued and entertained by getting to eat his meals like this! We were able to sneak in a few more bites than we normally would just because of the sheer novelty of the new, whimsical utensil. Hey, whatever works! 🙂


Sidenote, I really think Pick-Ease would be especially fabulous for kids who may have tactile issues (maybe SPD, Autism, Aspbergers), and not want to touch food with unique textures.

Pick-Ease comes in a two-pack and retails for $8.99. They’re FDA approved, BPA free, dishwasher safe, and Made in the USA.
If you think Pick-Ease would be a great addition to your child’s mealtime fun, check out their website: www.pick-ease.com


Parents, what are your tips for dealing with picky eaters??

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Recipe: Chocolate Black Bean Veggie Brownies (for picky eaters)

#chocolate #blackbeans #brownies #healthy
#chocolate #blackbeans #brownies #healthy
Chocolate Black Bean Veggie Brownies…You would never know there are several servings of veggies and fruits hiding inside!

My almost 2-year-old has gone from a fairly good eater, to a really picky eater, and this made me start to get pretty creative.
I don’t want to constantly be cramming veggies down his throat, and make him hate meal times. But I also worry that he’s not getting the nutrients his little growing body needs.
The kid has a love of sweets. Put a cookie or brownie in his hand, and he devours it like a little pig. So, this got my wheels turning. How could I create a healthier chocolate brownie that the Peanut would like, that had tons of healthy stuff hidden inside?
So, I came up with this recipe for Chocolate Black Bean Veggie Brownies, perfect for picky toddlers! As an added bonus, my teenager likes them, too. 🙂

#healthy #kids #chocolate #blackbean #veggie #brownie #recipe
My toddler loves my Chocolate Black Bean Veggie Brownie recipe!

Recipe: Chocolate Black Bean Veggie Brownies (for picky eaters)
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This is a dessert recipe I created for my picky little toddler. It's packed with nutrients and antioxidants!
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • I can black beans, rinsed, drained, and puréed in food processor
  • 2 very ripe bananas, puréed in food processor
  • 1 cup zucchini, puréed in food processor and drained of any excess liquid
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1¾ cups flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all of the wet ingredients.
  2. Slowly add sugar.
  3. Mix.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients.
  5. Slowly add all dry ingredients to wet ingredients.
  6. Mix well.
  7. Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  9. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or top with cream cheese frosting.


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Create Your Child’s Entertainment Library For FREE!

Goodwill VHS tapes free tv

Now that the little Pumpkin is almost 2 (Gasp! It’s going too fast!) he’s really starting to get more into kid’s cartoons and TV shows. I wanted to add a little TV to the playroom and start a kid’s DVD collection, but I also really did not want to drop several hundred dollars on a new flat screen, or a few hundred more on DVD’s. So, the frugal girl inside me got creative and went to work!

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3 Tips For Moms of Two Under Two

I’m not a pro, but now that I’ve officially had my “two under two,” (2 kids under the age of two years old) for four months, I can definitely say it’s getting easier. The little pumpkin is 20 months, and the new little Peanut is 4 months. At first, I’d lock myself in the house, afraid to go anywhere, afraid of the meltdowns or diaper blowouts that might occur in public. But now I’m much better at going with the flow. Here are a few of my survival tips.

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