helpful tips

Last Minute DIY Costumes for Kids!

Waited until the last minute for Halloween costumes? Slim pickings at your local store? Fear not, there are TONS of easy, DIY costumes that you can make cheaply and easily to make for a happy kid to go trick or treating in. Here’s some of my favorites:

Minion

Don’t overpay for this popular costume when it can be made in such a more original, budget-friendly way. These are so awesome!

Minion

Minion [http://www.makeandtakes.com/last-minute-despicable-me-minion-costume]

Here’s what you need to make the hat:

  • Yellow snow hat
  • Scissors
  • Pipe cleaners

Cut your pipe cleaners to whatever length you desire. Luckily, each minion has a slightly different look, so  you can be as creative as you like. Thread through the knit hat, go slowly and it should slip right in! Bend the pipe cleaners so they stick  up however you like.

To make the goggles:

  • Paper towel tube
  • Scissors
  • Silver paint/brush
  • Black elastic
  • Stapler

Cut off a small section of the paper tube, 1/2 inch thick. If you cant two eyes, you can cut another section as well. Paint them silver and allow to dry. Once dry, staple together in the center. To attach to the elastic, simply staple as well. You can place on your face, or even on the hat on the forehead.

Wear a yellow long sleeve shirt, blue overalls, black gloves + boots, and you are GOOD TO GO. Minion! Thanks, MakesAndTakes.com!

Spider

This is an awesome last minute costume idea, and cute to boot.

Spider

Spider [http://madincrafts.com/last-minute-spider-costume-and/]

Here’s what you need:

  • Black hoodie
  • Large needle
  • 2 pairs black knee socks
  • Plastic grocery bags
  • Googly eyes
  • Adhesive dots
  • Black gloves

Pretty easy and self-explanatory, but here’s the jist of things: Stuff the pairs of black knee socks full of plastic grocery bags, attach to hoodie – if you aren’t comfortable with a quick sew, feel free to safety pin or even duct tape. To the hood, attach adhesive white dots and glue on the googly eyes. Slap on the gloves, zip up the hoodie, and voila, you’re a spider. Thanks to MadInCrafts.com for this adorably scary getup.

Snail

I can’t get over the cute of this costume, brought to us by OhHappyDay.com – so very adorable!

Snail

Snail [http://ohhappyday.com/2012/10/snail-costume/]

Pretty simple, all you need is a ton of kraft paper, and your little trick-or-treater can wear it like a backpack. Here’s what you need:

  • Brown kraft paper
  • Masking tape
  • Headband
  • Styrafoam Balls
  • Ribbon
  • Glue gun

First, make the shell. Crumple up the paper, and starting at the corner, begin rolling it. Once you have a nice section, begin wrapping into a shell, until it is at desired size. Go back and redo with the glue gun to secure it in a few places. Next, make another half shell, and glue the two sides together. Take a square of cardboard and mount it to the shell. Tie ribbon to it to make it a nice little backpack!

Next, make the headband – take a dection of brown paper and crumble until it can stand on it’s own. Add styrafoam to the end, and hot glue the other end to the headband. So cute, so easy. Love this!

If any of you try these out please send over some pictures! We’d love to see how you all look!

Easy, Inexpensive Halloween Snacks!

It’s almost time! There are so many parties from in-school, to after-school, to the weekend – I needed ideas for all the events and found some ADORABLY scary snack ideas that I know you’ll all love. They’re easy, inexpensive, and sure to be crowd pleasers – check them out!

Halloween Deviled Eggs

Halloween Deviled Eggs

Halloween Deviled Eggs [http://www.listotic.com/64-non-candy-halloween-snack-ideas/32/]

I just love these. They are so cute it hurts. Super easy to make. If you don’t know how to boil an egg, check out my post from #WorldEggDay for a foolproof recipe. Halve the eggs, and separate the whites from the yolks. To the yolks, add some mayonnaise (or Greek yogurt if you are looking to be a bit healthier!), dijon mustard, salt & pepper. If you’re feeling spicy, add some sriracha! It’s my favorite – but may not be the kid’s favorite!

To make them spiders, simply grab a can of large black olives and get to slicing!

These are such cute little appetizers – I can’t wait to make them. I know they will be such a hit!

Apple Peanut Butter Teeth

Apple Peanut Butter Teeth

Apple Peanut Butter Teeth [http://blommi.com/apple-peanut-butter-teeth-fun-easy-kids-snack/]

I may be dying of serious cute overload. These are so awesome and creative I cannot even get over it. Apple Peanut butter teeth, brought to us by Bloomi.com are super simple and no bake! Simply slice up an apple – an apple corer/slicer is perfect for this purpose.

Once your apples are sliced, spread peanut butter on one side of each slice and line with mini marshmallows – slap together the apple slices and you’re done! I love these. Have I mentioned that?

Halloween Fruit Snacks

Halloween Fruit Snacks

Halloween Fruit Snacks [http://princesspinkygirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/halloween-healthy-snack.jpg]

This is how I die. From the total overwhelm of cute. These look SO easy. Simply halve bananas and pop in some chocolate chips and peel some clemetines and pop a small stalk of celery in.

I love these. I love these. I love Halloween.

Enjoy everyone!

#NationalPumpkinDay

Happy #NationalPumpkinDay!

It seems like everywhere I turn, there’s something pumpkin flavored or pumpkin spiced something. I used to think this was such a novelty, but now it’s almost overboard! I’m admittedly a huge pumpkin-spice latte fan, from Starbucks. I went to get one at the beginning of the season though, and it was $6. $6. $6! For a coffee.

I thought that in honor of #NationalPumpkinDay it’d be appropriate to give you all a homemade pumpkin spice latte recipe that you can make on your own for considerably less money.

This recipe, from Betty Crocker, makes 10 servings of pumpkin spiced lattes! Perfect recipe to finish a fall dinner party and serve with dessert.

In a slow cooker, mix the following ingredients, and whisk until well combined: 5 cups strong brewed coffee, 4 cups milk (2% or whole), 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream. 1/4 cup canned pumpkin, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, stirring once after the first hour.

THAT IS IT. Serve in mugs and top with whipped cream if desired!

How amazing is that? So easy, all inexpensive ingredients, and made in a slow cooker, no less – couldn’t be easier or less expensive. Enjoy!

#NationalPumpkinCheesecakeDay

I know that it’s Wednesday, which means it’s freezer meal day, but it is also, EQUALLY IMPORTANTLY, #NationalPumpkinCheesecakeDay. I frankly cannot imagine a more decadent, delicious, or more seasonal dessert, and it just so happens that an important part of this recipe is freezing it, so this doubles up our Wednesday to accommodate both LCFR priorities!

What’s awesome about Chelsea’s Messy Apron’s recipe is that it has such a unique spin on pumpkin cheesecake. It is a hybrid of cheesecake, ice cream, and pumpkin pie. The pie is frozen to give it an ice-creamy texture, the cheesecake flavor comes from cream cheese, and the pumpkin pie flavor comes from regular pumpkin with some pumpkin pie spice. It’s the perfect combination of flavors – you’ll agree.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake [http://www.chelseasmessyapron.com/pumpkin-pie-frozen-cheesecake/]

Most importantly, this recipe is crazy easy with a prep time of only 15 minutes, and a total time of 15 minutes. That means all you’re doing is prepping and freezing – yes, please!

Ingredients include cinnamon graham crackers, light brown sugar, butter, pumpkin puree, cream cheese, cool whip, sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin pie spice, and butter extract.

To make the crust, you simply blend the graham crackers and stir in brown sugar and softened butter, and then press the mixture into the bottom of a spring form pan – place in the freezer while you make the filling!

To make the filling, beat cream cheese in a bowl until smooth, and then add pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice, and butter extract. Beat until combined and then slowly add in condensed milk until smooth. Fold in cool whip just until combined – be careful not to overwhip!

Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and freeze overnight or for 6-8 hours. Let soften for about 10 minutes until serving.

YUM! Enjoy celebrating today 🙂

6 Things To Always Buy at the Dollar Store

Hey all,

I’ve been doing some reading on local dollar stores. I used to bring my kids here all the time as a treat and let them each buy one thing (talk about an easy, inexpensive activity), but hadn’t been in a long time. I recently stopped in and was truly shocked by how much stuff I wanted to buy and knew I had use for. It’s not all junk and knick-knacks!

I did some research and there are a TON of tips on items to buy at the dollar store that are cheap and convenient. Here are some of my favorite ideas!

  1. Seasonal Decor

ChaChingOnAShoeString.com has this awesome tip to use the dollar store for anything from Easter basket fillings to Christmas Decorations. This is such a great idea, because as much as I *wish* I did, I so rarely store seasonal decor responsibly, and sometimes end up throwing it out. I won’t care nearly as much about this loss if it was inexpensive to begin with. I checked out DollarTree.com to see their Halloween selection and was absolutely blown away! From decor, to candy, to costume accessories, they really have everything to decorate your home for the season or a party – love it!

2. Cleaning Supplies

I would  have never expected this one! They won’t be your big brand names, but most cleaning products contain exactly the same ingredients, so they’ll still get the job done at a much lower cost. I cannot get over the selection that Dollar Tree has to offer. Dish soaps, air fresheners, paper towels – literally everything you could ever need in the basic cleaning spectrum.

3. Greeting Cards

Does anyone else think that it is SERIOUSLY INSANE that greeting cards these days cost so much money? I recently got one for a friend’s baby shower and it ran me $5. For a piece of paper. Unreal! This tip really speaks to me, because to get a card for $1, or, better yet, a 20-pack of cards for $1 is really such a game changer. Will be pivoting these purchases to the dollar store immediately!

4. Batteries

Love this tip from BargainBabe.com! Brand name batteries can really run you up a charge, and I am entirely fine with these no-name batteries to keep in the household to have on hand for toys, remote controls, etc. Nothing is worse than being withheld from an activity because you’re out of batteries!

5. Sandwich Baggies

There is never NOT a need for sandwich baggies in our family home. In my opinion, all sandwich bags are created equal, so why not simply pay $1 for a package of them? Check out the selection from the Dollar Tree – there’s literally every size and every style. You’ll want for nothing!

6. Health and Beauty Supplies

Obviously there is a limit and a line to be drawn here, but there are certainly some products that could easily be bought from the dollar store. Dollar Tree carries some brand names from E.L.F. to Wet N Wild – not too shabby for makeup and nail polish! The funniest thing that so many blogs said was that you should get pregnancy tests from the dollar store! As long as they’re accurate! These retail for anywhere between $10-$20 at your average drug store.

Hope this helps! What’s your go-to buys at the dollar store?

Freezer Meals: Week 12!

I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday! This calls for a freezer meal roundup! This week I thought it’d be fun to focus on desserts. There’s a VAST amount of recipes for all of your favorite sweet treats that freeze perfectly. They are prime freezer candidates! I pulled some recipes from around the internet that looked especially delicious to me. Let me know what you think! I can’t wait to try them myself.

Best-Ever Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies [http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2014/09/22/oatmeal-butterscotch-cookies/]

Ruth Soukup is a freezer-friendly queen. This is far from the first recipe I’ve tried of hers, and I imagine it’ll be far from the last! My husband and I are both huge supporters of oatmeal cookies, and this looks like a fantastic spin on such a classic cookie. She claims that they ‘freeze beautifully’ and are just as good straight out of the freezer as they do straight out of the oven. Sounds good to me!

This recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies. Preheat the oven to 350, and get to work mixing together butter and sugars. Add in eggs and vanilla and mix well. Then flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, and mix well. Add in oats and chips, and mix well. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown – cool + enjoy! Freeze if desired.

Freezer Friendly Brownie Bites

Brownie Bites

Brownie Bites [http://happymoneysaver.com/brownie-bites/#_a5y_p=3742288]

These little brownie bites are perfect for a small dessert or a snack. They’re such an easy, quick recipe! Melt butter and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. After melted, add cocoa powder and stir well. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and add in sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add in the chocolate mixture and stir until well combined. Lastly, add in flour and mix until smooth.

Grease a mini muffin pan and fill cups 2/3 full. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes and let cook before removing from pan. Let them cool completely and enjoy or place in a freezer safe bag. To reheat, just pop them in the microwave!

Reese’s Oatmeal Cookies

Reese's Oatmeal Cookies

Reese’s Oatmeal Cookies [http://www.momontimeout.com/2013/01/reeses-freezer-friendly-oatmeal-cookies/]

Can you tell I  love oatmeal cookies? Have I mentioned my affinity for anything peanut butter? This recipe looks so good that it needs to be shared!

The beauty of this recipe is that it highlights two things: 1) these cookies are great to freeze and equally delicious this way and 2) how easy it is to freeze cookie dough balls (if you’d prefer to eat them fresh and make the dough ahead of time!).

Simply cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, beat in eggs one at a time, add vanilla and mix together. In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, salt and baking soda, and add to the already creamed mixture. Stir in Reese’s Pieces and Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips.

Refrigerate for one hour and preheat the oven to 350. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes until light brown and cool.

#NationalGumboDay

#NationalGumboDay has arrived. What is gumbo you may ask?

Gumbo is a stew/soup that originated in southern Louisiana during the 18th century. It generally consists of primarily a strongly-flavored stock, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and veggies (celery, bell peppers, onions). Often times you’ll see gumbo made with okra as well. It’s traditionally served over rice or a heaty, warm, comforting dish.

There’s a lot of flexibility while making gumbo, so we’re in luck here at LiveCheapFeelRich. Not only can this be a crockpot meal, but it can also be a freezer meal – and depending on your family’s tastes, the recipe can be tweaked. Here’s a couple of recipes that I think our audience will particularly love.

Chicken & Sausage Gumbo

Sometimes seafood can be pretty pricey if you are looking to get a quality buy. This recipe capitalizes on the fact that the ‘meat’ of this recipe is chicken and sausage only, which is far less expensive. This recipe is also said to freeze so well that the leftovers are even better than the fresh batch! Best perk yet, WearyChef.com promises that this recipe can be done in a mere hour.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo [http://wearychef.com/chicken-sausage-gumbo/]

You start out by seasoning and cooking your meat. While this is happening, all the veggie dicing occurs (there’s a lot of it!). Once the meat is done cooking, you make a roux with flour and oil and stir together until smooth. Then add in the diced vegetables and cook until tender. While this is happening, you can start the rice and shred the cooked chicken. Add chicken broth, spices, and garlic to the veggie/roux misture and stir until smooth – slowly add in water and additional spices + your cooked meat. Cook at a low boil for about 10 minutes.

To serve, simply ladle onto a generous portion of rice and enjoy! There’s a lot of steps and things going on during this recipe, but if you plan this right and capitalize on your time while things are cooking, this is a pretty simple recipe that’s sure to please!

Slow Cooker Chicken Gumbo

All, this recipe couldn’t look any easier – praise the slow cooker! Here’s the lowdown:

Slow Cooker Chicken Gumbo

Slow Cooker Chicken Gumbo [http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/robin-miller/slow-cooker-chicken-gumbo-recipe.html]

Add the following into your slow cooker: 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces, 1 package frozen okra, thawed, 2 links andouille sausage, diced, 1 cup chopped onions, 2 celery stalks, chopper, 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, 2 cups reduced-sodium tomato juice. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Serve over rice.

A lot of the commentary on this recipe mentions that this isn’t ‘true gumbo’, but that it is a decent substitute and is a ‘healthier spin’ on the recipe. Try it out and let us know what you think!

Crockpot Gumbo

I had to include one recipe with the shrimp – I am a huuuuge seafood fan. Pro tip: don’t always say ‘no’ to frozen seafood! It’s generally flash frozen fresh and tastes just as awesome as fresh – usually cheaper too!

Crockpot Gumbo

Crockpot Gumbo [http://sagetrifle.blogspot.com/2010/01/crock-pot-gumbo.html]

This recipe, besides the addition to shrimp, is pretty similar to the one prior to this – crockpots make life just so, so easy. Here’s the lowdown: layer in the following ingredients to your crockpot, in this order, not stirring: 1 lb kielbasa sausage, 1 lb cooked chicken, torn into pieces, 1 large onion, chopped, 1 bell pepper, chopped, 3 stalks celery, chopped, 1 lb sliced okra (frozen works), 1/2 cup roux, 1/2 cup water, 1 tsp. brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1 quart tomatoes, undrained.

Cook on high for 1 hour, then lower the heat to low and continue cooking for 7 hours.

About 10-15 minutes before serving, add 1lb shrimp, peeled and deveined, 1 tsp old bay seasoning, juice of 1 lemon, 1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce, 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, and 1 tsp. hot sauce and cook until the shrimp are done but not overcooked. Ladle into soup bowls with a scoop of fresh hot rice!

So enjoy, everyone! Happy #NationalGumboDay! Have any family recipes that are your favorite? Show us the way!

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