Happy SITS Day!

Welcome friends old and new! I am so excited to have you over for my SITS Day!

If there is one thing I know, it is that life is busy and at times can be a little crazy. AND sometimes we forget that we all need a little fun in our lives! Fun On A Dime is a site geared for all…children, teens, single, married, Aunts/Uncles/Grandparents…I have got you covered! I try to incorporate a little something for everyone. Take a look around and find something fun to do! And because I know you are busy, jump on down to the “Short On Time?” section of this post for tips on how to get the most out of this site.  I love comments and tips! So if you find an activity that you do differently, feel free to share your way in a comment or if you did one of the activities and posted it on your site, come back and share the link in a comment. I am so glad to have you hear!

 

How Fun On A Dime Came To Be…

 

I have always been painfully frugal growing up and had tons of fun. A couple of years ago, feeling cooped up and weighed down by our living situation I realized that I forgot the basics of having fun! There is a phrase: Those who have time spend money and those who don’t have money spend time. I am a big believer of this phrase and the same is true for fun. And thus, I started to challenge myself to look for for more opportunities to teach, learn and have fun at home with my family spending as little as possible and use my resources and my own experiences from growing up. And thus, Fun On A Dime was born to keep track of all our fun projects. It has since morphed into a site to inspire other individuals and families with fun ideas to enhance their quality time together.

Short On Time?

Here are some quick tips to use Fun On A Dime the best way possible:

  • Skim through each page. When you find an activity or project you like, save it/email it/pin it/like it on facebook, skim the supply list for basics and then schedule when you are going to do it. I try to include a supply list and pictures for each activity so it is easy for you to see it (my kiddos do a lot better when they can see a finished version first). As much as I would love for you to read everyone, I would much rather you spend the time actually doing the activity than reading about it!  ;-)
  • Use the menu tabs to navigate the 5 main categories. (Recipes, Tips, Crafts, Fun and Deals)   Although, you are perfectly fine clicking through each page, but if you are looking for something in a specific category, like a game, the Fun Tab may help you find a quick activity.
  • Comment? Like an activity, but feel like you don’t have enough time to comment? One word or very short comments are totally OK in my book! I also realize that your time is limited, but I love to hear when others are enjoying what they are seeing and doing. Or better yet, just click the Like button! Also, good enough for me.
  • Send fun directly to you inbox. Sign up for the Fun On A Dime Newsletter and get all updates sent directly to your inbox where you can also save all the fun ideas you would like to do.
  • Have a fun idea? I would love to hear about it. 2 ways to do this: Link it up to Hi-5 Fridays, a party every Friday that is available for all to share their latest and greatest accomplishments (crafts, tips, recipes, successes, or anything else that you feel you deserve a Hi-5 for). Feel free to contact me via the contact form under About on the menu bar or email me at michelle (at) funonadime.net.

 

P.S. Don’t know what SITS is? Go check them out! The SITS Girls. I have learned so much and have met so many other great bloggers from their site. Thank you ladies for My Day!

So, tell me….

What is your favorite activity to do?

Fatigue? – Fantastic Advice From One Parent to Another

I love this advice and I am so glad Emily could share it with us all.  Enjoy!

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I know what I need to do. But I’m tired and don’t want to do it!

Today I have a problem.

I know the dishes need to be washed, but I want to read a book.

I know the bathrooms need to be cleaned, but I want to play UNO.

I know that dinner needs to be cooked, and I’d prefer it be from scratch and healthy, but frozen pizza (cheaper than takeout) is easy.

How do you get the motivation to do what needs to be done? I’m a mother who knows, but do I know enough? It’s not motivating me to action. I know I can’t be perfect, but I don’t know what’s acceptable . …

Today was a depressive day. I just wanted to wear yoga pants, eat cookies, and sleep. Or read a book, since I have young children who need supervision. But I refrained! I did the dishes! I took Guy to preschool! I went to the library and Trader Joe’s and Ace Hardware with kidlets in tow! AND IT HELPED ME FEEL BETTER.

I still cried over the dishes, and cried in the car, and felt overwhelmed and sleepy. I once heard this advice, “It’s okay to feel depressed. It’s not okay to ‘do’ depressed.” You have to shower, get dressed, and tend to normal life, and you can cry the whole time. There are days I ignore this simple advice, but when I can get myself to do something, anything, that one ray of sunlight can help me remember to look up at the sky in gratitude.

Madame Coin lives in North Carolina with her three little boys, a house full of dirty dishes, and a husband who is a PhD student. She recently decided to watch her kids playing instead of Project Runway and to read the Bible and the Book of Mormon instead of blogs, resulting in happiness. She blogs intermittently at http://crosscountrycrunchies.blogspot.com/

This post was brought to you by “up-one-day-down-the-next-where-she-stops-nobody-knows” Emily.

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P.S. I’m guest posting over at Play With Your Family. Come over and say Hi! and meet these great ladies, too!

New Uses for Old Things: Household Odds and Ends

By Marisa Belger for Green Goes Simple

As a busy, penny-wise, green-minded mama, I’m on an ever-present mission to find new uses for things that may otherwise end up as trash. Faced with a growing pile of paperless rolls left over from paper towels and toilet tissue, used dryer sheets, and empty laundry-detergent bottles, I polled my eco-oriented parent friends for tips on new ways to use these old things. Here’s what I discovered:

Paper Towel and Toilet Tissue Rolls

  • Get crafty. Cardboard tubes of all sizes are the ideal foundation for crafts. Paint the tube with stripes or dots and glue on feathers, or fur plus ears and a tail, and you’ve got a quick and cute handmade animal. For the mini musician in your house, tape one end of a toilet paper tube with masking tape, fill with dried beans or rice, tape the other end closed, and voila: a homemade maraca. Up the fun by decorating it with bold paint and glittery glue.

 

  • Get organized. Paper tubes are a wonderful way to keep electrical cords tangle-free. Fold the cord and slide it into the roll before plugging it in. Get bonus decor points by covering the roll with colorful tape. And what about those tangled Christmas tree lights? Keep them in holiday-ready shape by wrapping them around a tube before storing for the year. Cardboard tubes can also be used to protect important documents or kids’ artwork. Roll the papers, slide into the tube and stash in a drawer or box.

 

  • Get Burning. Fill a cardboard tube with dried leaves and wrap in newspaper for an easy and accessible fire-starter. Stock a basket with these homemade starters during chilly months, and even the most hesitant of fire-makers will be ready to get burning.

Dryer Sheets

  • Banish (dust) bunnies. Word on the street — or from my mama crew — is that used dryer sheets are practically designed for dusting. Run one over shelves, furniture, blinds or any surface where dust gathers.

 

  • Say goodbye to soap scum. I’m particularly crazy about this one, since I appreciate anything that makes cleaning the bathroom easier. Running a used dryer sheet across soap scum reveals the shiny surface beneath!

 

  • Shine your screens. Screens of all types — and glass lenses — love being wiped down by a dryer sheet. Run a used sheet across your computer, TV or glasses for a crystal-clear viewing experience.

Laundry Detergent Bottles

  • Make a scoop. Cut an empty detergent bottle in half and use the handle side to scoop up, well, anything. Kids will love to add the scoop to sandbox fun!

 

  • Make some weights. Homemade gym! It doesn’t get greener than that. Skip the commute to your local workout emporium and get pumping at home. Fill empty detergent bottles with sand or water and flex those muscles.

 

  • Make a funnel. Transfer lots of liquid from one place to another with by cutting the bottom off of almost any bottle. Presto: funnel!

Marisa Belger’s work has appeared in Travel + Leisure Family, Natural Health, Prevention and TODAYShow.com, where she wrote a column about eco-friendly living. She was an editor at Lime.com and collaborated with author Josh Dorfman on his bestselling books, The Lazy Environmentalist and The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget.

Get Your Kitchen Cleaner Quicker

Ideas That Spark: Kitchen Flair

Get Your Kitchen Cleaner Quicker

From the Editors of Ideas That Spark

By Nancy Kalish

Most of us are cooking more to save money. Unfortunately, that means that the kitchen can get dirtier than ever faster than ever. But you can easily bring it back to its former sparkle with a little prep. And once you do, your regular cleaning routine will be a snap.

Looking to also be green while you clean? Here, Linda Mason Hunter, co-author of Green Clean: The Environmentally Sound Guide to Cleaning Your Home, provides her best tips for your dirtiest spots.
Is your counter covered with knickknacks, canisters or small appliances that rarely get used? Such objects eat up valuable workspace, attract dust and dirt, and make it harder to clean your counters quickly. Make space in your cabinets for all canisters of food and appliances (or consider getting rid of them altogether if you haven’t used them in a year), and you’ll make the rest of your job a lot easier. “A de-cluttered kitchen feels cleaner and stays cleaner,” says Hunter.
A buildup of crumbs can create more than just a mess: It can start a fire in your toaster oven. Stay safe — and clean — by lining the toaster oven tray with foil and replacing it weekly. To dislodge crumbs from a traditional toaster, turn it upside down and shake it over a garbage can.

1. De-clutter before cleaning.

2. Clean toaster crumbs.

3. Freshen the refrigerator.
Food can easily spill in your refrigerator, so it’s important to regularly wipe it down — inside and out — to remove spills and grease, and keep it smelling fresh. An open box of baking soda should do the trick and can then be used to make a baking soda paste to clean the refrigerator. “It’s especially important to use a natural cleaner in the space where you store your food,” says Hunter.
You can get rid of stubborn spots in your oven or on your stovetop with this nifty natural nonabrasive scrubber: Simply make a paste of baking soda and castile soap, apply it with a sponge and rub. This also works on dirty grout. If spills are especially stubborn, sprinkle with baking soda, lightly spray with water and let it sit overnight. Then, rinse with cold water. Next time you cook, sprinkle fresh spills with salt as soon as your stove cools. This will absorb the food, and you should be able to scrape it off easily. Want to make your next kitchen-cleaning job easier? Be proactive and zap spills and other dirty mishaps as soon as they occur. “The longer that dirt and grease sit on a surface, the longer it takes to remove them — and the harder you’ll have to work,” says Hunter. In addition, giving your kitchen a little TLC each day (wipe down the counters and sink, wipe smudges off appliances, sweep the floor) will help make bigger cleanups (almost) a breeze.

4. Banish burnt-on spills. Wipe it up when it happens.

Turning Cassette Tapes into Digital Audio

Do you have this problem? Are you still holding on to loads of cassette tapes even though your cassette player may be broken or even MIA? I know I have quite a few stashed in boxes in my garage waiting for me to find a new tape player. That was until I was recently enlightened by a friend that there is an easy and practically free fix. Go digital! With the use of a really inexpensive cord that you might already have, a working tape player and a computer, you can now listen to all those tapes on your computer, ipod or anything else that can play audio, and get rid of those tapes!

This is part of my tape collection I was recently given… a set of Children’s Books on Tape with the accompanying read along books. It is the same set that I used when I was little. I remember going to bed listening to these tapes and their stories and wanted to share them with my kiddos, but then the tape player had an unfortunate accident. So I was excited to do this project. It is SUPER easy to do, it is a quiet project (you are not listening to every tape being transferred) and it is cheap. A perfect project for any budget!

And the end result is some fun reading time for the kids (cough) a perfect distraction for a few minutes, if needed!

Now I just need to borrow my favorite music tapes from my mom’s tape stash, so I can listen to those during the day… Hello, Wilson Phillips! Why buy when you already have it?=-)

What You Need:

Directions:

**Despite the long steps this is a REALLY easy process.

Step 1: Locate  your own or borrow from a friend a Male to Male Stereo Cable. You can purchase a cord for less than $2, if needed, but most likely you have one and just don’t know it. I borrowed mine from a friend and discovered later that I had one of my own the whole time. These cables have the exact same end like this picture below and aim for around 6 ft long for convenience, if you are going to purchase it.

Cables Unlimited AUD-1100-06 6-Feet 3.5MM Male to Male Stereo Cable

Step 2: Make sure your cassette player is still friendly (won’t eat your tapes and still plays well) or borrow a working one from a friend or neighbor. Gather your tapes you would like to transfer to your computer, too, so you are all ready to go. It is a quick process once it starts rolling. Test the volume of your player with a tape in it. Adjust it so you have the right “texture” to the sound…some tape players when they get too loud get scratchy or static sounding. Once you find the right volume setting, you will be good to go for recording at that volume.

Step 3: Locate your audio software. If you don’t have your own on your computer, you can download a free and user friendly software called audacity.

Step 4: Now that you have all your supplies together you are ready to go. Take your stereo cord…

…and insert the ends into the headset jack on your cassette player and on your computer.

Step 5: Insert cassette tape into tape player and open your audio software. If your computer has a built in microphone, you will need to adjust it from it’s external mic to an internal mic (it’s a drop down menu on the main page with a microphone next to it. Easy fix!).

Step 6: Now the action. Push play on the cassette player and the record button on the audio software. You should be able to see the line moving up and down once the sound starts. Note: you will not be able to hear anything since the sound from the player is going to the headset jack to the computer, but know it is working fine if the line is moving on the recording.

Step 7: Now walk away and do whatever else you need to get done. Make sure to set a timer (or not) and come back later to stop it recording. I rarely had a recording last longer than 23 minutes a side. Sometimes I got side tracked a left it for over an hour, but that is okay because I just cut off the dead sound at the end and a little at the beginning (an easy highlight and press of the delete key).

Step 8:Once the recording is finished, click the “File” tab and click on “Export”. Give it a name and be sure to check “MP3″ (or whatever else you would like)  for your file type before saving. It will probably ask you for detailed info (Edit Metadata) for categorizing it on a new pop up and then click “OK”. Now you are done and can click “New” to start a new recording. Note: I did not separate every track, but saved each side of the tape. If you want to, it is possible but takes more editing.

Step 9: Now ENJOY! I know we are loving all our new stories to listen to!

***All these audio transfers were for our own personal use…just in case anybody is wondering! ;-)***


I am linking to these parties!

{Movie Review} & The Time I Got Thrown Out of Harkins

In the last post I told you about my date last Friday with my hubby, but I didn’t tell you what we saw. We saw “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”. I liked the original movie. Alot. Even though the people in ape costumes were really hokey, and a little disturbing. They had no facial expressions, as if they’d had the worst application of botox in history. I liked the remake a few years back, even though I got thrown out of the theater when I went to see it. It was kind of crazy. My mom and I were so excited to go see it. I was living near AZ Mills at the time. We met up almost an hour before the show so that we could get good seats. And we did. Front row (by the bar). As we sat visiting, my mom’s chair kept getting kicked by an child in the next row up. After 20 minutes she could take it no longer. Intending to ask the child to stop, she half-way turned around and placed her hand on the top-back of her chair. Immediately her hand came in contact with said child’s foot. She patted it a few times like any grandma would and said “Honey, can you please stop kicking my chair?”
The father then said, in a cold voice that still gives me the shivers when I think about it, “Lady. Get your hands…off…my…kid.”
My mom apologized saying she didn’t mean to touch his foot. It just happened to be in the spot where her hand landed, as evidenced by the repeated seat-kicking. She apologized again and turned around.
As we sat waiting for the movie, I could feel the most negative energy coming from right behind us. It was really creepy. No more was said for the remainder of the 20 minute wait. Just after the lights went out, several theater workers came in and asked us to step out. They stated that the man claimed we had threatened his son and he wanted us removed from the theater. We were shocked!!! I looked down the hallway a little and saw the father talking heatedly with the Police!!!
We explained what had happened and the theater managers were very sympathetic. They offered for us to see the next showing, but we declined. They gave us extra passes for our trouble and apologized over and over. We left, in a daze and each drove home. I cried the whole way. That was the worst feeling ever!!! I never did see the movie while it was still in the theater. When it came out on video I was able to finally enjoy it.
You can be sure that I have been careful about interacting with strangers kids since then.
Now to “Rise”. The premise of the movie is explaining how the world could have come to be ruled by chimpanzees and the like, as seen in the original. It was very entertaining, and Cesar is so life-like. Andy Serkus (Gollum from LOTRings) provided the model for the computers to make Cesar and he was great! I loved his attic bedroom so much! I wish I could give my kids a room like that!!!
I enjoyed all the little references to the original (the lost space crew, horse-back riding apes, “Get your hands off me you dirty ape”, etc). If you see it with your kids, the fighting isn’t overly gory (little to no blood) and the cursing is very mild. There are a few cold-blooded murders that aren’t too glamorized. You might even cheer a little in your heart.
“Draco Malfoy” is in it, and he’s a baddie. I don’t know if he’ll ever get the chance to play a nice guy. Just when you think the movie is over and the credits have begun there is a little blurb at the end to help tie up the story a little more.
You thought I was going to give you more details, huh?
Sorry, go see it instead. Just don’t touch anybody’s kid! Or you can rent it when it comes out on video in what will undoubtedly feel like a week. Movies are released for video so fast these days. Remember when it used to take a full year?
Anyways, I give it 4 out of 5 Popcorn buckets, if not for entertainment value, then for the sake of giving the original a little more plausibility.
If you’ve seen it, what did you think?
Debra is super talented, an awesome mom and very funny. In her words, “I am a mentally and physically exhausted mother of five (six if you count Curtis), caretaker of too many pets, piano teacher to the most amazing students, and always a day behind on the dishes. Where are those dish fairies when I need them?” She blogs over at Curtis Fan Club.
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