Frugal Family Footnotes
So, who has time anyway?
February 6, 2012
by Kristi Hiivala

We are now into the second month of the year. February at my house means red construction paper hearts cut out at school and hung on the fridge, several bags of gummy valentine candy hidden from the kids and consumed by mom and dad after early bedtimes, and the acceptance that those crazy ideas – what were they called? Oh, yeah, resolutions – no longer exist and were just silly, crazy thoughts in the first place!

Generally speaking, the weather at this time of the year can strand families at home for days upon days. Fortunately for those who have Internet and an understanding husband, there are a few options for things to do to fill up those long hours before you can send the kids to bed.

The latest time-sucker on the Internet is a site called Pinterest. It is an online candy store for women of sorts – a huge selection of dreams, from which you can pick and choose and then “pin” it to your board for your friends to see.

I like crafts. I doubt I will ever possess the time or skill to make them, but it doesn’t matter on Pinterest! Once I “pin” it to my board, I feel like I have upped my status as a crafter wannabe to an aspiring crafter with pinned dreams.

Other dreams that have made it to my board consist of “looks easier than it is” recipes for family dinners, and tricks to make my hair look like a supermodel (I can dream big, can’t I?).

One fun idea that I did see and have already started utilizing is writing kid-friendly chores on slips of paper and throwing them in a fishbowl. Instead of barking out the orders to the kids (who have perfected their listening skills to automatically tune me out), it is more of a fun game to have them draw out their own consequence . . . .er, I mean chore. Then, instead of the kids being mad at me for asking them to empty the garbage cans, they can bemoan their own bad luck of drawing a yucky chore.

If you felt that you hadn’t wasted enough time on Pinterest already, there are a few other money-saving things you could look into online, as well. The Dassel-Cokato Online Garage Sale has really taken off. and currently consists of over 1,100 members. Just search for the title on Facebook, become a member, and start finding great local deals.

I love getting stuff in the mailbox – as long as it isn’t a bill. Participating in coupon trains means a couple of times a month I find an envelope with my name on it full of coupons that I may be able to use. The best trains I have found are located at The MN Coupon Train (again, you could search for it on Facebook). As a participant on a coupon train, you can let the other riders know what kind of coupons you are looking for and they will often make sure to send some of those particular coupons your way. Very fun!

One last thing to pass along before I log back on to the online garage sale and Pinterest: the Dassel-Cokato Early Childhood cookbooks are now for sale. This is a cookbook filled with family-friendly recipes submitted by members of our own communities.

The cookbooks can be purchased directly from the ECFE office or from one of the council members. The cost is $10 and all proceeds will benefit the preschool program. Last year, the council was excited to purchase shovels, a trike, and a dry erase board for the classrooms with money earned in their fundraisers.

Happy savings!

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