Frugal Living

How to Save BIG Money on a Family Trip to the Movies

Now that the kids are a little older, we’re back to a pastime we loved long before the babies arrived- going to the movies. It’s always been an expensive hobby- once you factor in tickets and concessions, you’re looking at a decent $40 price tag. But now that we’ve got double the people in tow? We’re looking for creative ways to save money at the movies wherever we can find them.

Once we were sure that Abram could sit through a movie (we tested it out with those cheap summer movies we love so much), we decided to take the kids to a proper, new release. $80 later (I’m not exaggerating!) we had been entertained for a couple of hours, and had a lot less money to show for it.

It took us a couple of years (and a LOT of wasted money) to come up with these money saving movie hacks, but once you’ve got them down, you’ll find that you get a lot more bang for your buck at the theater. So pop a little popcorn now, sit back, and enjoy this list of creative ways to save money at the movies

Everyone knows taking your family to the movies is crazy expensive. WIth these genius money saving hacks, it doesn't have to be. Find out how to save money at the movies on TheSaltyMamas.com. #savingmoney #moneysaving #moneysavinghacks #budgeting #cheapfamilyfun #familydateideas
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Kids' Activities

Make Bathtime More Fun with the Best Bath Toys for Toddlers

If you’ve got little ones at home, you’ll know how stinking hard it is to entertain tiny children. We coordinate all the activities for them, we buy the toys, we play with them and try to teach them things. But at the end of the day, entertaining toddlers is a lot of work, and sometimes we need a little break. That’s where bathtime- and the best bath toys for toddlers!- come in.

When the day is stretching on to infinity and beyond, we like to throw the kids in the tub for that last, long hour of the day.  We fill up a wineglass and then fill up the bathtub, and throw ourselves what our dear friend Amanda likes to call Bathtime Happy Hour.

From about 5 to 6 pm on one of the Daddies’ long work nights, you can find us setting up shop in the bathroom and letting the kids enjoy an extra long (and extra fun!) bathtime.  It’s an excellent sensory experience, helps with to scientific and analytical thinking (we’re not even kidding!), is a screen-free activity, and contributes to personal hygiene. Which makes it an extraordinarily easy thing to justify.

And more importantly, it keeps them from driving us bonkers.

So if you’re looking to get a little more life out of your bathtime routine, we’ve collected the best bath toys for toddlers, along with some activities and add-ins to make your time in the tub a little more fun.

Looking for bath toys for toddlers to keep your little one entertained in the tub? We've got crazy fun toys and activities to turn bathtime into an activity your baby and toddler will love at TheSaltyMamas.com. #bathtime #bathtoys #bathtoysforbabies #bathtoysfortoddlers Continue reading “Make Bathtime More Fun with the Best Bath Toys for Toddlers”
Kids' Activities

Puffy Paint Snowman Art

Do you wanna build a snowman? Us too! One teensy little problem though- we live near Los Angeles, and snow is in short supply. So when my kids requested that we build a snowman without snow, I quickly put some supplies together to bring them this snowman art for kids to scratch the itch with some snowman painting.

My kids and I love doing process art projects together (well, let’s be honest- I love setting up the project, and then drinking coffee in peace while they do said art project. Potato, Potahto.) I love the basics, but sometimes they get a little bored of doing the same projects over and over. So I try to keep it fresh by adding in some seasonal art prompts and materials, depending on the month we are in.

In this winter themed art project for kids, your children will use Shaving Cream Puffy Paint to create a snowman (or, if they’re younger, a snow scene). They’ll add some simple decorations to their creations, and, if you’re lucky, repeat the process to take up even more time. As a bonus, you’ll end up with some adorable little works of art in the process. Read on for the full instructions on this sweet snowman art for kids.

Super simple, two-ingredient puffy paint brings your snowman painting to life with this fun kids' art project. Get the details at TheSaltyMamas.com. #puffypaintrecipe #snowmanart #snowmancraft #preschoolwintertheme #preschool #kidsart #toddlerart #preschooler #craftsforkids Continue reading “Puffy Paint Snowman Art”

Mom Humor

#MomProblems: Holiday Edition

Do you find yourself with a flurry of Holiday MomProblems on your hands this season? Between the Elf on the Shelf and the million gifts to buy, moms are finding that they are SLAMMED. The to-do list is never ending, and the requests to make more and more commitments seem like they’re never going to stop.

Between the Elf on the Shelf and the school functions, the gifts to purchase and then to wrap, and the endless amounts of cooking and baking that go on, you’re likely feeling as stressed as we are.

But never fear- you’re not alone. The Salty Mamas have been there and done that with pretty much all of the Holiday MomProblems you have. In no particular order, here are the things that are driving us crazy this holiday season.

Holiday bustle got you down? You aren't alone, mama. Come laugh away the stress with TheSaltyMamas.com. #christmas #momproblems #momlife #holidaystress #happyholidays #christmasstress

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Kids' Art Projects

Snowflake Salt Painting- A Winter Themed Project You’ll LOVE

My daughter is OBSESSED with Raised Salt Painting. With a little glue, salt, and watercolor paint, kids can turn an ordinary piece of paper into a three-dimensional work of art. So when she asked to create a winter raised salt painting, I knew just what to do.

We decided to create snowflake salt paintings in a size that’s just-right to become an ornament on our Christmas tree. It’s simple, fun, and- once laminated- takes on a snowglobe-like quality that your kids are going to love.

My daughter is a bit of a perfectionist. She is super hesitant to attempt art projects she thinks won’t work “right.” It’s a delicate balance between teaching her to take risks and allowing her to create something she’ll be happy with. So sometimes I ask her to wing it, but other times (like this time!) I created a printable snowflake template for her to use.

If your child is less fearful of art activities, feel free to give them less structure. Ask them to create their own snowflake designs, or even to just experiment with different shapes and colors. Either way, your kids are going to get the incredible art, fine motor, and sensory experience that this winter themed raised salt painting provides.

Create snowflakes with this winter process art project featuring Raised Salt Painting. With simple materials and great results, this snowflake art project will be one kids want to repeat again and again. Get the instructions at TheSaltyMamas.com. #snowflake #snowflakeart #winter #wintercrafts #winterart #snowtheme #preschoolsnowtheme #preschoolwintertheme #processart #processartforkids #kidsart

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Kids' Activities

Christmas Tree Print Making for Kids (Featuring Bubble Wrap!)

We are getting into the Christmas with toddlers BIG TIME over here. My kids are all about Christmas, all the time. From the Elf on the Shelf to writing (and rewriting. And rewriting) letters to Santa, they’ve got the holidays on the brain in a big way.

It’s extended all the way into our art time as well. I can’t bust out a pot of green paint without them painting a Christmas tree, or the playdough without it becoming a present or ornament or cookie for Santa.

So when I opened one of my (THOUSAND) Amazon packages from my Black Friday shopping and saw that it included this green bubble wrap, I knew just what to do with it- turn it into a process based Christmas art project for toddlers (which just so happens to include an ADORABLE product for you, too).

If you’re kids are as into the holidays as ours are, we know they’ll love this Christmas tree print-making activity using bubble wrap. Read on for the instructions on how to make it happen!

This Christmas tree print making activity is fun for toddlers (and kids of all ages). With simple materials and adorable results, your kids will make keepsakes you'll treasure for years to come. Get the instructions at TheSaltyMamas.com. #christmasart #christmasartfortoddlers #christmas #holidays #toddlers #artforkids #kidsart #toddlerart #christmastreeart

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Kids' Activities

Low-Prep, High Fun-Holiday Playdough Activities for Toddlers

We’ve got this weird, love-hate relationship with playdough. The thing is that our kids love it, but the mamas? Well, we kind of hate it. But since there’s a ton of developmental benefits to playing with playdough (sensory experience, fine motor skill practice, hand strength, creativity, imaginative play)? The tie is gonna have to go to the kids on this one.

Because I personally get tired the squishy stuff, I try to step up my playdough game once in a while. I’ve found that homemade playdough keeps longer, for example, and that if I only make one color at a time my kids can’t drive me crazy by mixing colors together.

I change up our playdough activities regularly to keep things fresh, and this is so much easier to do around the holidays. From delicious scents to learning opportunities, there’s lots of  holiday playdough activities for toddlers your kids are sure to love.

We've got a fresh take on holiday playdough activities for toddlers! From Christmas playdough to a homemade Gingerbread playdough recipe, and from Hannukah playdough mats to a pretend play center, we've got your holiday sensory play covered. Find the full list of activities at TheSaltyMamas.com. #holidays #christmas #toddleractivities #hannukahactivitiesforkids #christmasactivitiesforkids #christmasplaydough #gingerbreadplaydough #peppermintplaydough #playdoughcenters
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Tips & Hacks

Quiet Your Anxious Mind (So You Can Fall Asleep Fast!)

It never fails- I’ve had a long day. I’ve had a million things on my plate, a million tasks to accomplish, and too many things to keep track of. I’m downright exhausted, and all I want to do is fall into my bed and spend the next eight hours in blissful, unconscious rest.

So why can’t I turn my brain off and fall asleep?

If you suffer from anxiety, this experience is far too familiar for your liking. We are exhausted, but our poorly wired brains won’t give it a rest so that we can GET some rest. One thought spirals into the next, and before you know it you’re agonizing about that comment you made to Sharon three days ago and if she’ll hate you forever because of it.

No? Just me?

At any rate, if you have difficulty falling asleep because your thoughts just won’t quit, we want you to know that you’re not alone.  We’ve been there (you know, only like, every night or so). And as a result, we’ve come up with some fool-proof strategies to help you shut down your brain and fall asleep fast.

You're SO TIRED, so why can't you SLEEP? We've got trips to soothe your anxious mind and help you fall asleep fast at TheSaltyMamas.com. #anxiety #sleep #sleepless #howtofallasleepfast #sleepbetter #anxious #mentalhealth #selfcare Continue reading “Quiet Your Anxious Mind (So You Can Fall Asleep Fast!)”
Kids' Activities

Frozone Ice Challenge: An Easy STEM Preschool Activity

Do you ever find yourself with a block of time with your kids that you’ve just GOT to fill somehow? Maybe you need to prep dinner, or you’ve used up all your screen time for the day, or they’re just driving you nuts and need a little more structure. Whatever, the scenario, you need an activity to fill some time, and you’re willing to try ANYTHING.

And so it was that this Incredibles 2 themed easy STEM preschool activity was born.

Around 2 p.m., it became abundantly clear that A.) my two year old was not going to take a nap, so B.) he would go to bed early, and thus C.) our family walk that takes up the last hour of the day was clearly NOT going to happen. So what in the world would I do with Lila?

We’ve been obsessed with ice lately (read about the time we painted it here!) and so I decided that I would trap some of her favorite toys inside a block of ice. Originally, I had planned to freeze Belle. But ice makes me think of Frozone, so I grabbed the Incredibles toys instead. This fun, engaging little Incredibles themed educational activity was born.

Celebrate the release of the Incredibles on DVD with this icy stem preschool challenge. Frozone has trapped the Incredibles in ice...can your preschooler free them in time? Find the full challenge (with a free printable letter!) at TheSaltyMamas.com. #stem #stempreschool #stemchallenge #easystemactivities #stemactivities #easystemactivity #preschool #kids #parents #education #science #stem #incredibles Continue reading “Frozone Ice Challenge: An Easy STEM Preschool Activity”
Tips & Hacks

7 Bathroom Cleaning Hacks to Get a Sparkling Clean Bathroom

I was a late bloomer in the cleaning-bathrooms department. I did have bathroom cleaning lessons, but they didn’t come at what I consider an appropriate age- say, between the ages of 8 and 16, for example. Nope. Two days before my wedding, in a hot panic, I desperately asked my mom to show me how to clean a bathroom. How I had avoided it until then is a complete mystery, but it was one of those life skills I was pretty sure I was supposed to have, but failed to, pick up along the way. I was eager to learn some bathroom cleaning hacks before I had to confess to my new husband that I was a complete failure in the adulting department.

Presumably, you learned how to quickly clean a bathroom somewhere along the way. It is rarely anyone’s favorite household task, but it is one that you’ll certainly notice if it hasn’t been completed in a while.  It’s a proverbially dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it. Spoiler alert: that person is you.

So if you’re trying to find out how to make cleaning a bathroom easier, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve come a long way since those wedding-week-lessons, and I’ve accumulated the best bathroom cleaning hacks in the past eleven years or so. They’re not going to make the need to clean your bathroom go away, but they WILL make it easier. And frankly, that’s about all we can hope for in the toilet-scrubbing department, am I right?

Need to step up your bathroom cleaning game? We've got bathroom cleaning hacks to make it quicker- and just a little nicer- at TheSaltyMamas.com. #bathroomcleaning #cleaninghacks #cleaningtips #cleaning #housekeeping #bathroom #clean #bathroomcleaninghacks
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