Do You Want to Build an Olaf Snack Pack

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build an olaf image PPM

Frozen has taken the country by storm. Well at least my house! It seems like everyone has been inspired by the fun loving Olaf and princess Anna and Elsa. These fun little “Build an Olaf” Snack Packs are so much fun and super easy to assemble. They are perfect for a surprise lunch box treat, kids party or whatever occasion deem fit! No matter what you use them for the kids are sure to love them!

build an olaf snack pack

All you need are marshmallows, chocolate chips, pretzel sticks and candy corn. Put them in a baggie and seal it up this adorable printable “Do you want to build an Olaf label.  You can print on plain white paper or card stock, cut them to the size required and staple them to the tops of your baggies to seal them up for on the go!

Creating a Chore Chart That Works for YOUR Child(ren)

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If you struggle with chores in your house, we've got the fix!  You can check out this free chore chart by age and other forms - all to help you and your kids create a chore chart that works!  Click over to learn more about this system (and get some free printables)!!

Do you struggle to get your kids to do their chores — or even to figure out WHAT chores they need to do?  You are not alone.  And then, when you do figure out the chores, getting your kids to do them — with a smile on their face — is another obstacle all together.

As Moms and Dads, part of what we need to teach our children is how to contribute to the running of our household, which in turn can help them to become contributing members of society.  It helps the house run smoother and they actually get the opportunity to take ownership of a task.  That alone can boost self-esteem and help them with their development.  I know my kids get a lot of satisfaction when they complete a task.

When our kids were younger, we just did a ticket system and did not have a formal chore chart.  However, now that they are all older, it is easier to have all three of them follow the same system.  What we are trying to teach them more than anything is that you have to work to earn money.  Not only that, but if you do the wrong thing, you may have to pay money to others.

In our household, we do not call their money an allowance.  We call it commissions.  They also can earn bonuses (for extra tasks that are above what we would expect – like picking up the family room without being told).  Each Sunday evening, we sit down with them and their charts and we pay them all commissions and bonuses.  We then look at the fines to see how much they owe us in return.  Our fines include items such as fighting, sassing, not doing what you are told, etc.    They each know how much they can earn in 7 days and that they are responsible for any money they lose in the process.  If they do not do the work, they just do not get paid.  It is that simple (just like in life).

Here are some things to keep in mind when creating your own chore chart for your children.

 

1.  Keep it Age Appropriate.

 

Since we have 3 kids, that means the chores that they each must do vary.  In fact, our youngest has only 6 weekly items she must do whereas our 10 year old has close to 10.  The older your children are, the more responsibility they can accept.

I’ve created a chart you can use to determine the types of chores you can assign to your own children.  These are broken down into various age groups, to help make it simpler to find the chores your child should be able to complete.

chore chart by ages

Print Your Own Chore Chart by Age

This is a great way to help your children learn how to complete these tasks.  However, remember that you can’t expect perfection.  Just expect for them to try their best.  This chart is a great way for them to learn how to take care of themselves and their own home.

You may also try a task listed and find that your child is not yet ready to try that.  Just change what you do the following week.  Conversely, you may feel your child can take care of items listed in an age group which is older.  That too is fine.  This is a guide to help you find those items which work for both you and your child.

2.  Find a Form that Works for You.

 

It is important that your child can see the chart and keep track of what he or she has done for the week.  This can be done on a white board on your refrigerator or even a piece of paper tacked to a bulletin board.

The idea is that your children can see what they need to do on a daily basis and take the steps to do these items themselves.  I find that when my kids can physically check a box or a line to show they did something, they do much better at keeping track of what they have done and those items they have yet to complete.

We actually have created two different forms to help you and your children do just that.  One is very basic and is great for younger children. You fill in their name and the chores they need to do on each line.  Then, as they do each item, they just place an “X” in the box.

Blank Chore Chart For Younger Kids

Print Your Own Simple Chore Chart (for any age)

If your children are a bit older, you can use the Responsibility Chart instead.  This chart has spaces for the regular chores (Commissions), additional tasks (Bonsues) and areas where they tend to get into trouble (fines).  You tally up the income and take away the fines each week and they earn the difference.  This chart is created to teach them, well, responsibility in the workplace.

They learn that if they do not complete the work, they do not get paid.  They also learn that if they do the wrong thing (like fight or disrespect Mom and Dad), they have a fine.  We compare this to speeding or being reckless and causing damage to things.  It works well for our kids and they sure hate it when we say the word “FINE”!

responsibility chart

Print Your Own Responsibility Chart

If you want even more detailed information into how we use the Responsibility Chart in our home, you can read about that here — Teaching Our Children Financial Responsibility.

3. Check the Chore Charts Daily — Keep Them Easy To See

 

Whichever chart you opt to use for your kids, make sure your chart is easy to see and complete by your kids.  This may mean it takes up permanent residence on your refrigerator.  Your kids may have a bulletin board in their bedroom.  Wherever you place it does not matter – as long as your kids can see it.

Work with them to learn how to update their chart each night before they go to bed.  This helps them end the day seeing all that they were able to do, and ensures that they are working on those weekly items as need be done.

4. Determine the reward or incentive.

 

Rewards will vary greatly from family to family.  For some parents, the chores are required just as part of being a part of the family.  They are expected to contribute and there is no reward attached to it.  For others, it is simply financial.  They pay per chore or per week as the chore charts are completed.  Yet, for others, the rewards may be incentive based such as sleepovers, extra time on the game system, etc.  The beauty of any good system is that you can make it work for your family.

None of these are right or wrong.  You know your kids and your family structure, so you know what you expect and will give in return. A chore chart can serve as incentive and reminder for your kids (and quite possibly, even for you)!

The most important tip is be willing to fail.  None of us are perfect and it is easy to try something and find that it doesn’t work.  That doesn’t mean you should quit, you may just need to change the chores, or possibly the incentives.  Be willing to change it up and you will find something that works for you and makes your kids excited about helping around the house!

If you struggle with chores in your house, we've got the fix!  You can check out this free chore chart by age and other forms - all to help you and your kids create a chore chart that works!  Click over to learn more about this system (and get some free printables)!!

DIY “Thankful” Thanksgiving Banner

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thankful banner front

This Thankful banner was easy and fun to make. I actually used a Burlap Scrapbooking Paper Pad by DCWV. It made cutting, designing, sewing, and painting very easy. I also loved that it has a nice thick cardstock quality backing.

DIY thankful banner PPMTo make the flowers – simply take some scrap fabric and lay it flat. Pinch your two fingers right in the middle of the scrap fabric (the size or shape of fabric really doesn’t matter). Start twisting fabric starting from the middle where you are pinching. Once you have the desired look for your flower. Take a needle and thread and secure the flower. You do not need to be a seamstress to make these flowers, simply know how to thread a needle and poke it through fabric until it looks secure. Finally sew flower to the burlap paper.

The bow is made with some scrap fabric. Tied into a bow and sewn to the burlap paper.

This flower was made the same as the others. The only difference is the tule. Simply lay the scrap fabric out flat, place a piece of tule on top, and begin twisting fabric as explained previously. Secure closed with a needle and thread.

The letters were painted on with a stencil and black paint.

thankful banner

Finally with a hole punch add two holes to each banner piece and thread twine through holes. Space the banner pieces about 3-4 inches apart and hang.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bon Bon Recipe

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Peanut Butter chocolate balls

This chocolately peanut butter treat is insanely easy to make! Not only is it the perfect recipe for your kids to help you make, but they will also be the talk of the party (or whatever event you are making them for!) Just beware – these Chocolate Peanut Butter Bon Bon’s are dangerously delicious and will not do your waistline good!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/4 cup (9 oz) smooth or chunky peanut butter
  • 1 cup bag confectioners sugar
  • 2 TBSP butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix peanut butter, confectioners sugar and melted butter until the mixture is crumbly.
  2. Line a baking sheet. Roll the peanut butter filling into 1 inch balls. Place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes (this step will make coating with chocolate much easier!)
  3. In a sauce pan fill with water about 1/3 full and bring to a soft boil. Place chocolate in a metal bowl and create a double boiler by placing the metal bowl over the boiling water. Basically you are going to melt the chocolate by the steam of the water boiling below.
  4. Remove the peanut butter balls from the freezer. Insert a toothpick or wooden skewer into a peanut butter ball and then dip it into the chocolate. Cover the entire candy as best you can and quickly replace chocolate covered peanut butter balls to the lined baking sheet or platter.
  5. Refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes or until chocolate has hardened.

Fluffy and Moist – M&M Cookies Recipe

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m&m cookies ppm

Cookies are always a great choice for any occasion. Whether you are simply making tasty snack for your family at home, taking a treat for a holiday party at  your kids school or are preparing for a cooking exchange, these M&M cookies are amazing! Plus you can even alter this recipe to become a themed treat for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, St Patrick’s Day and more!

Ingredients:

  • 2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding mix
    3/4 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups M&M’s (you can choose seasonal colors like Valentines, Christmas and so on!)

m&m cookies pin ppm

Directions:

  1. In a stand mixer (or large bowl with electric hand blender) combine butter, white and brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and mix on medium-high speed until well combined and creating a creamy texture. (This takes about 3 minutes.)
  2. Add flour, pudding mix, baking soda, salt, and turn mixer to low speed. Mix until all ingredients are merged together. Do not over mix.
  3. Add the chocolate chips, 1 cup M&M’s, and mix on low speed until combined.
  4. Form 12 equal-sized mounds of dough, roll into balls, and slightly flatten about half way. You may want to add a few extra M&M’s to the tops of the cookies at this point.
  5. Place cookies on a large plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (This step is essential to not having flat cookies).
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, spray with cookie sheet with cooking spray. Place cookie dough on baking sheet. Make sure to space at least 2 inches apart and bake for 11 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
  7. Cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving. Do not use a rack.
  8. Serve and enjoy :)

My Weekly Menu Plan: October 19 – 25

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Weekly Menu Plan | www.pennypinchinmom.com #menu #plans

 

If you have never done a menu plan, you may think that you don’t need one. That is actually not true. By planning, you can save yourself time and money. Of course, if you’ve never set one up before you might not be sure where to start! Take a look at this post on How to Create a Weekly Menu Plan and Shopping List.

Before you get started creating your own plan, make sure you take a look at all of our FREE Menu Plan and Shopping List forms. You can either print them off, or even fill one out before printing it for the week – the choice is yours!

Here is my menu plan for the week!

 

BREAKFAST

 

Waffles
French Toast
Cereal
Granola Bars

 

LUNCH

 

Leftovers
Sandwiches, carrots, apples, yogurt raisins, baked chips, fruit snacks, cereal treats, cheese sticks, yogurt sticks (variety of these for school lunch)
 

SNACKS

 

Cake Batter Dip with graham crackers
Celery with peanut butter
Cheese and crackers

 

DINNER

 

Sunday:  Spaghetti with meatballs, salad, french bread
Monday:  Grilled burgers, hot dogs, beans, coleslaw
Tuesday:  Leftover night
Wednesday:  Tailgating for Royals Game (eating with friends)
Thursday:  Fish Tacos
Friday:  Easy sloppy joes, fresh veggies and chips
Saturday: Dinner Out

Cake Batter Dip

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cake batter dip

 

If you are like me, you love to sneak a lick off of the beater when you make a cake.  Of course, that isn’t safe due to the raw eggs.  But darn – if it doesn’t just taste Oh So Good!!  I recently found a recipe which gives you the cake batter flavor — but is safe to eat! In fact, it could be deemed a “bit healthy” because it contains both yogurt and lowfat whipped topping.  Pair it with some graham crackers or vanilla wafers and you’ve got an easy after school snack that your kids will love!

 

INGREDIENTS

 

1 Funfetti Cake Mix
2 cups vanilla yogurt
2 cups whipped topping (we use the lowfat)

1. Mix all ingredients in the order given.

2. Cover and put into the refrigerator to chill (around 2 hours).

3.  Serve and enjoy!

I wish I could tell you how long this is lasts in the refrigerator, but ours is always gone within a few days, so we’ve never had that problem!!

Homemade Gift Idea: Love Gifts (Best of All This Gift is FREE)!

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Love Gifts

 

I have many memories of holidays with my family.  When I think back, I remember the laughing.  I remember the fun.  I remember the excitement of waking up with my sister an sneaking out to see if Santa had paid us a visit.  What don’t I remember?  The gifts.   Well, for the most part.

When I was around 12 years old, my mom came up with a way for us to do something to show how much we cared for one another.  She came up with Love Gifts.  These were not any ordinary gift.  They came from the heart.

We had to come up with a way to do something, out of love, for another member of our family.  The only requirement was that it had to be free.  It couldn’t be to take someone out to dinner or buy someone something they wanted.  Nope.  We had to look within ourselves and decide what would be the best gift to give to someone in our family.

I remember a few of the ideas we would share included:

  • Do the dishes on your turn, once a month, all year long.
  • Wash the pickup 3 times this summer.
  • Be your slave for a day and wait on you.
  • Do all of your chores for one week.

The ideas are endless!  We would also make sure to include a note to let the person know that we did appreciate and love them.  These gifts were always hand written (makes it much more personal) and then wrapped up in small boxes.  They were placed under the tree with a HEART on them.  The heart could be on the tag or even attached with ribbon.

We would open all of our gifts as a family.  The love gifts were the LAST gifts to open.  We were not allowed to touch them until all of the other presents had been opened.  The anticipation of those gifts was just as great as those in the boxes with the big ribbons.  If anything, we were more excited to see what someone was going to do for us – and the joy on the faces of one another to see how excited they were to have us do something for them.

So, here I am, 30 years later and I still remember those gifts.  I remember reading the letters we would write to one another to share that we really cared about them. I remember the fun of coming up with something different to do for each member of my family.  Most importantly, this gift – this simple gesture – stands out above all other things we would do on Christmas.  And, isn’t that what it is all about?

8 Everyday Uses for Peppermint Oil

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peppermint 3 PPM

Peppermint Oil is one of the oldest remedies for heart burn and digestion issues. But many people do not realize that peppermint oil has several uses from curing an upset stomach to cleaning your home. Just remember when using essential oils to use them in moderation, as they are VERY strong!

1. Freshen Breath: Rub a couple of drops of peppermint to your tongue and gums. The peppermint will kill the bacteria leave your mouth feeling and smelling fresh.

2. Itch Relief:  Stop itching caused by bug bites, hives, poison ivy or minor allergic reactions. Simply apply peppermint oil directly to the affected area.

3. Relieve Stomach Pain: Rub a drop of peppermint directly onto the stomach and feel relief from upset stomach, bloating, or indigestion.

4. Headaches:  Apply Peppermint oil to the forehead, temples, behind the ears, and/or the base of the neck. If you can lay down for a few minutes, watch as your headache dissipates.

5. Ant Stopper: Put a drop of peppermint oil in the path of the ants and they will go running away!

6. Pain Relief: For sore-aching feet and and joints, add peppermint to a warm compress or into a hot bath with Epson salt and soak.

7. Reduce Heartburn: Mix 5-6 drops of peppermint oil with a teaspoon of coconut oil and massage onto your chest. Or add a 1-2 drops of peppermint oil to your tea.

8. Fever Reducer: Soak a clothe in warm peppermint infused water and lay over limbs and forehead.  Or apply a drop of peppermint essential oil to the bottom of the feet.

 

*Make sure you read your label and use those labeled for ingestion properly and do not ingest anything that states aromatherapy only.  

Homemade Apple Butter Recipe

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apple butter PPM

Apples are in season which means it’s that time of the year where we go apple baking crazy! This Apple Butter recipe is fabulous. Not only is it absolutely delicious, it will make your house smell amazing! You get the taste and smell of homemade apple pie, without all of the calories and fats!

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs apples (Granny Smith are my favorite)
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 TBSP Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Peel, cut and core apples.
  2. Combine apples, apple cider, brown sugar, honey and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir often and cook until apples are partially are soft. This takes approximately 20 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and add lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla and cloves.
  4. In a immersion blender (a regular blender) puree the mixture until smooth.
  5. Return the mixture to the Dutch oven and bake, uncovered for 2.5 – 3 hours. Make sure to stir every 30 minutes. Cook until apples have turned into a deep amber color and have thickened to your desired consistency.
  6. Remove mixture from oven and let cool. Transfer into an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Try Apple Butter on toast, waffles, pancakes, pork chops and more! It’s the healthy alternative to butter, gravy or syrup!