Top 13 Cheap & Healthy Snack Ideas for You and Your Kids

Let’s talk snacks… If you are a mom, you know how daunting it can feel to include snacks that are nutritious all the time. You make lunches, and they need snacks. When they come home from school, they want to snack before dinner. Finally, there’s the night time snack after dinner. I don’t know about your kids, but mine love to snack! So, where should you find so many healthy snack ideas?

I have found that making my own snacks has been both healthier (I know exactly what goes in them) and cheaper (I purchase the ingredients in bulk). Therefore, many of my favorite snacks are homemade. I’d like to share some healthy snack ideas that not only are a hit with my four boys but that I enjoy as well.

a healthy snack with bananas and peanut butter

No Bake Healthy Snack Ideas

No bake. Need I say more?

First, my favorite no-bake snack that once is in my fridge disappears the same day. I literally don’t bother putting them in Tupperware or baggies because there is no point. The only warning is that they are SUPER addicting.

1. No Bake Energy Bites

The recipe calls for old-fashioned oats, toasted coconut flakes (optional- I’ve made these without coconut flakes, and they are still tasty), peanut butter, ground flax seed, semisweet chocolate chips (or vegan chocolate chips), honey or agave nectar, chia seeds (also optional), and vanilla extract. Basically, all you have to do is measure out the ingredients and mix in a bowl, chill for a half hour and roll into balls. I leave these in the fridge, and they are gone the same day.

2. No Bake Cookies

Yes, this requires a stovetop, but it takes only 15 minutes to prepare. If you love chocolate, peanut butter, and oats, this is a snack you will enjoy. What is also great about these are the ingredients are similar to the energy bites, so some of these are ingredients you want to keep stocked up on. You will need the followings: butter, unsweetened cocoa, peanut butter, vanilla, quick oats, milk, sugar. Some optional ingredients to add are shredded coconut, peanuts, chopped almonds or walnuts.

Healthy Snack Ideas to Keep on Hand

It’s not always convenient to make all of your own snacks, so when you are short on time or need something easy to throw in your bag on the go, here are some choices.

1. Kettle Brand Organic Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper Potato Chips

a bag of Kettle Krinkle Cut potato chips

These are light, crunchy, and delicious. They do not contain GMO’s and are just as satisfying as other potato chips, without the guilt.

2. Clif Bars

a large box of Clif bars

These are a family favorite in my house. I always keep a few on hand on the go. There are so many flavor varieties that you are bound to find one that you love. Our favorites are the Crunchy Peanut Butter, White Macadamia Nut, and Sierra Trail Mix.

3. Annie’s Fruit Snacks

the label of a bag of Annie's fruit snacks

I love Annie’s products! They are guaranteed GMO-free and made with organic ingredients. Although they may be a little more expensive than their competitors, I don’t feel guilty about giving them to my kids. They are a little softer to chew than the regular fruit snacks but very tasty!

Healthy Snack Ideas for the Sweet Tooth

Everyone needs a little sweetness in their life. But you don’t always need to have the processed sugar and ingredients to enjoy chocolate.

1. Chocolate Covered Raisins

These are an excellent choice for many reasons. They are very inexpensive, come in small boxes that are convenient for on the go. They are very sweet and nutritious.

2. Chocolate Peanut Butter Fat Bombs

Yes, they do have fat, but the good kind, without the carbs or other GMOs. Here’s what you will need: pasture butter, virgin & unrefined coconut oil, unsweetened peanut butter, cocoa powder, Stevia or sweetener of choice.

Warm Weather Healthy Snack Ideas

With summer on the rise, ice-cream snacks and pops are popular. Here are two alternatives to cut down on the processed sugar and substitute with nature’s sugar.

1. Banana-Based Ice Cream

Yes, ice cream! It really can’t get any healthier than using fruit to create the favorite summer treat. The best part is, you can eat just banana flavor, but there are clever ways of creating different flavors. All you need are bananas, a freezer, and food processor. Pre-freeze the bananas, slice them, throw them in the food processor, and you’re done!

If you like a firmer ice cream, throw it back into the freezer for a bit longer. For ways to spice up the banana ice cream, there are other ingredients to add to its flavor to create strawberry-banana, mint chocolate-chip, and even green tea.

2. Smoothies!

Another “cool” idea for summer that you can blend up quickly for a refreshing treat are smoothies. There are so many options for how to make them, depending on your favorite fruits. I prefer using frozen fruit. This way you don’t need ice, and you don’t have the worry of your fruit going bad before you use it.

Sometimes fruit can be pricey, but it’s not nearly as expensive as buying them at a restaurant or ice cream shop! I like to wait for a sale. My kids beg for smoothies on a very hot day. So, I stock up on frozen fruit to cut out the drive through for expensive, sugar filled drinks by making these at home!

Healthy Snack Ideas Made with Veggies

Veggies are the biggest struggle to get my kids to eat. So, if you can mask them in a delicious snack, why not? The best veggies to eat are the green ones, so here are two ways to sneak them into a fun way to eat.

1. Green Monster Smoothie

This delicious smoothie is made with banana, peanut butter, spinach, yogurt, milk, and ice. The beauty of it is that the banana and peanut butter mask the spinach taste, and the kids think the color green is fun.

2. Green Power Mojito Smoothie

For more of a tart taste, this smoothie packs nutrition and taste. If you can get your kids to try it, you’ve won the veggie battle! This is made with: spinach, pineapple, orange, banana, and mint leaves.

Healthy Snack Ideas Made with Fruit

Fruit, although delicious, can get boring to eat. Here are two ways to enhance what nature has already made mouthwatering.

1. Frozen Grapes and Kiwi

There’s something about the crunch of food that turns ordinary into special. Simply taking fruit and freezing it creates eating fruit special. If you or your kids aren’t big on eating fruit, give it a try!

2. Yogurt-Coated Strawberries

This is sweet and delicious and simple to make. All you need to do is dip strawberries in yogurt and freeze! It doesn’t get easier than that.

Let’s Recap

Sometimes it just takes getting a few simple, healthy snack ideas to get thinking about more creative ways to snack a little healthier. If you are like me, you like to keep your favorite recipes on hand for less thinking, a quick reference for grocery shopping, and for making the actual snack. Most of the links I have included will lead you to a printer-friendly version of the recipe for a paper version to keep in one spot. I hope this has been beneficial. Happy snacking!

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Top 7 Best Stay at Home Mom Apps that Every Mom Needs

Most people would agree that today’s world is incredibly complex. Luckily, at the same time, modern technology has given us amazing things that can alleviate our daily burden by a great deal. Being literally at the tips of our fingers, software programs such as smartphone apps can help us face quotidian problems more successfully. For that reason, there are specialized apps that cater to different needs. Without a doubt, everyday life can get difficult for everyone, including stay at home moms.

a tablet next to a computer on a desk

Stay at home mom apps provide their users with services that, in a nutshell, help keep things organized around the house, particularly regarding the kids. Even though there are many useful ones in the market, this guide will focus on providing a well-rounded, comprehensive selection of apps that will help stay at home moms with all the different aspects of their noble occupation.

The Top 7 Stay at Home Mom Apps

Before going into the recommendations, it’s important to note that these apps are no replacement for patience, good judgment, attention, and love. Instead, they should be used in a complementary fashion to these important attributes. That said, it’s safe to say good stay at home mom apps can make your family life easier and more enjoyable. Without further ado, here are some of the most useful stay at home mom apps on the market:

1. Budget Touch

a pile of dollar bills on a table

No matter their level of income, all stay at home moms know how important it is to stay within a budget. However, amid the controlled chaos of routine family life, it’s easy to lose your grip on every single spending. That is where a sharp piece of software such as Budget Touch comes in.

This great app helps you keep track of all your spending. In order to do so, it organizes them by putting each one in a separate virtual envelope. It also provides users with options for calculating percentages, balancing accounts and organize your transactions by month, quarter or year.

2. Home Routines

Successful people from all walks of life know the importance of having a routine. Routines help you stay organized and on time, freeing up more time for other activities while avoiding mistakes and confusion. With that in mind, Wunderbear developed Home Routines, an app that keeps track of everything you need to do within specific periods of time.

With it, you can create your own routines and checklists. Additionally, you can control your progress and try to beat your own streaks. It even features a reward system that will keep you motivated to continue adhering to the schedule.

3. All Recipes: Dinner Spinner

the dinner spinner app page

Most people know what it’s like to have food but not know what to cook with it. To solve that problem, this useful app provides you with recipes based on what you have at hand. After you have entered all the ingredients you have available, the app generates hundreds of delicious and practical recipes that you can cook without having to go out grocery shopping.

As if that wasn’t good enough, it also learns your preferences increasingly as you use it. It even gives users the possibility of following specific chefs to get new recipes from them periodically.

4. Cozi

Similarly to the Home Routines app, Cozi allows you to create and oversee schedules. However, this app focuses less on routines and more on synchronizing schedules between different family members. Without a doubt, this is incredibly useful to keep track of your kids throughout the entire day.

Additionally, it allows parents to create and share chore lists, improving their ability to make sure everything gets done in the house. Practical, intuitive and easy to use, Cozi employs a color-coded system that will surely help parents organize their entire family life.

5. Mom Maps

For kids, going outdoors from time to time highly important. It is a great way to decompress, experience new things and become acquainted with mother nature. However, parents often don’t know where to take their children.

Positioning itself as one of the most creative stay at home mom apps out there, Mom Maps solves this problem by displaying all the child-friendly locations in a determinate area. It works in most urban areas, which means it’s great for traveling. However, it’s also great for discovering new spots that are near your home.

6. Yowza!

a white smartphone with apps

In most urban areas, there are many discount opportunities for buying things like grocery and household items. However, it’s often hard to find out about these opportunities. This wonderful app will alert its users of any interesting offers near their location. Additionally, it will send coupons to them directly, eliminating the need to go looking for them. One of the most advantageous stay at home apps available, Yowza! will allow you to save an impressive amount of money.

7. Remember the Milk

Unlike most stay at home mom apps out there, Remember the Milk does not offer a greatly innovative service. It’s, in fact, one among dozens of to-do list apps. However, Remember the Milk stands out due to its family-oriented simplicity. Without a doubt, this family-friendly attitude makes this app one of the most useful stay at home mom apps.

Remember the Milk makes it easy to organize your tasks into different categories. It even allows you to break down every item into subtasks, expanding the amount of control you have over each step necessary to complete each important task.

Let’s Recap

Many people will feel more hopeful after going through this list of useful stay at home mom apps. Even though they are not a substitute for good parenting, they are definitely capable of making everyday family life easier and, why not, more enjoyable as well. Without a doubt, technology can be extremely beneficial when applied to something as important as raising a family. Do you know any other apps that moms will love? Let us know in the comments!

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8 Tips for DIY Landscaping – How to Save Money by Not Hiring a Decorator

Conserving your hard-earned resources is your biggest concern. It’s taken a lot of effort for you to have your own schedule, so it’s understandable that you would want to put in the same effort to beautify your landscape. Although DIY landscaping can be done little by little, there are a few steps that need to be followed to make your landscaping project successful.

a cozy terrace landscaping

Whether you have a little or a lot of landscaping knowledge, your key focus should be on buying materials that can make your investment worthwhile. If you’re determined to do your DIY landscaping project on a frugal budget, read the following article to help you get started.

The Cost of Landscaping

several piles of dollar bills

Hiring a professional decorator involves several costs which are based on the details of your landscape project, its location, and its size. First, you’ll need to pay for a professional consultation that can range from $50-$100 an hour.

Next, you’ll need to pay for your decorator’s time to create a layout design for your property. The average cost for a basic layout design of your property is $4,200, but can cost $6,000 and higher the larger the scale of landscaping work is involved.

You’ll also need to buy the recommended materials to successfully complete your project. With so many costs associated with a landscaping proposal, it’s worthwhile to investigate how to decorate your landscape in a more affordable way.

Top DIY Landscaping Tips You Need to Know

#1. Find Inspiration Online

Find your DIY landscaping inspiration from garden scenes online or in magazines to get a feel of what the final layout will look like. However, you’ll need to learn whether or not the greenery chosen to decorate your exterior surroundings is compatible to your soil, climate, region, and location.

#2. Do a Soil Test

someone's hand holding a bit of soil

Test your soil before you start planting. Use a soil test kit to find out your soil’s pH and any nutrients and minerals it needs to make your greenery flourish. There are soil test kits that also provide a list of plants or flowers ideal for your soil type. Combine your local or mail-order purchases with friends and neighbors and buy plants, used tillers, lawn aerators, seed spreaders, for example at estate or yard sales.

#3. Opt for the Proper Type of Grass

green tall grass close-up

Choosing the right type of grass is key. If you want a healthy turf that requires less maintenance, minimal watering, and fertilization, choose a species that can tolerate various temperatures and weather conditions in your region.

To save on costs, plant grass seed as opposed to laying down sod; as an alternative, you could lay sod for the visible part of your yard and spread grass seed in less noticeable areas. Tall grass greatly inhibits weeds growth, so you don’t have to spend on herbicides.

#4. Use Organic Mulch

Adding a layer of organic mulch helps the soil stay moist longer. Mulch reduces your need to water and fertilize your landscape, plus minimizes your need to buy and use weed herbicides. Research which type of mulch is the best for your lawn and buy it in bulk.

Sawdust is a clean, ready-to-spread mulching material that helps your plants receive adequate nitrogen and can be used to create garden paths. Manure is a readily available fertilizer that you can often get for free if you agree to pick it up and haul it yourself.

#5. Look for End-of-the-Season Sales

Many garden centers and nurseries want to free up their surplus of plants and trees during this time which can cut your expenses in half or more by waiting to buy your greenery during end-of-the-season sales. Share local and mail-order costs with friends or neighbors who are willing to help you with your landscaping project. You can even buy flowers, shrubs, trees, plants, used tillers, seed spreaders and more at yard sales.

#6. Use Embellishment Items

a beautifully-arranged porch

Select wood chips, river stones, old bricks, reclaimed wood, pine needles, or shredded leaves. Use flat-cut stones for eye-catching stepping-stones, garden walls, flowerbed and pond edgings and integrate seashells, marbles, flagstones or other handy materials to design plain concrete paths instead of purchasing expensive garden path materials.

#7. Prune Regularly

Unkempt flowers, plants, trees, and shrubs will ruin your DIY landscaping project’s overall appearance and can be costly to fix. Moreover, allow your outdoor pruning (including kitchen scraps cut grass, fallen leaves, sawdust) time to break down and use this mixture as compost to enrich and aerate your soil and fertilize your lawn.

#8. Go for Native Species of Plants

yellow and orange flowers

Choose native plants species that are naturally present in your region to avoid frequent maintenance, extra watering, chemical supplements, and soil adjustment costs. Also, store surplus flower seeds in a cool, dry location so you can plant the rest of them the following year. Buying self-seeding annuals prevents you from replacing flowers every year.

If you prefer to buy perennials, choose those that grow quickly, such as zebra grass, allium blooms, or primrose. Split large bunches of hens and chicks, hostas, and trumpet lilies, into several plants to maximize the volume of your landscape’s greenery. Clip the roots of easy-to-grow shrubs, such as Red Diamond Loropetalum, or Daphne to grow new ones.

Final Thoughts

The cost of your DIY landscaping project will depend on whether you want to build it from scratch as well. However, you’ll save more money if you incorporate some parts of your existing landscape design into your new DIY landscaping plans.

Either way, the finished product doesn’t have to look shoddy. Make sure to research the basics of landscaping before you get started to help prevent costly mistakes. Be ready to maintain your landscape according to the season and your species of grass, flowers, plants, shrubs, and trees.

Although some DIY landscape projects may still require professional touches, you’ll be able to the basics yourself. Feel free to leave your suggestions and comments on how to save money on DIY landscaping below.

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Top 7 Best Buy Coupons Offers That Will Help You Save Money

Best Buy has served electronic entertainment to American families since 1983. With a wide selection of televisions, home theater systems, appliances, and computers, it’s easy to empty your wallet while shopping. Luckily, if you have the right coupons, you won’t have to. This article gives you the scoop on the top Best Buy coupons that can help you save money.

a pair of scissors on a pile of coupons

How to Save More Money with Best Buy Coupons

Even without coupons, Best Buy offers many ways to save. Best Buy allows you to price match competitors, including online sites such as Tiger Direct and Amazon. In addition, Best Buy advertises weekly sales events and has a regular supply of coupons. If you want to maximize these coupons to the fullest, join Best Buy’s myBestBuy rewards program.

MyBestBuy members will receive exclusive offers via email and accumulate points every time they make a purchase. These points eventually tally up to cash gift certificates and allow a member to level up to an elite membership. The elite membership allows special return policy privileges, more point accumulation, and access to additional savings.

The deals sent to members are excellent as well. Sometimes these deals are simply a heads-up about sales events, other times they are coupons providing massive amounts of savings. However, if you’re still not convinced about joining the membership program, there are plenty of other coupons you can take advantage of.

Top 7 Best Buy Coupons to Help You Save Big

Option 1: Small Appliance Coupons

a coupon leaflet for appliances

In addition to regular sales, Best Buy offers regular coupons discounting small appliances. The most popular coupon allows you to save 20% off any regular-priced small appliance. This includes microwaves, sweepers, blenders, personal care, and much more.

Option 2: Large Appliance Coupons

If your old dishwater kicked out on you, don’t fret; Best Buy is constantly sending out fantastic coupons with hefty appliance savings. The most popular revolving coupon is for 30% off select major appliances. If you plan on making a major purchase, you can also receive a gift card for $100 for purchases of $1499 and over. Best Buy also regularly offers brand-exclusive coupons.

Although not a traditional coupon, check out Best Buy’s free installation package. This can save you hundreds of dollars in delivery and installation charges at a later date.

Option 3: Television Coupons

Best Buy offers dozens of television models in-store and hundreds online. These televisions can range from just over $75 to over $8,000. Luckily, Best Buy offers plenty of ways to save when you purchase a TV. The most popular revolving coupon allows you to save up to 20% on select TV brands.

Also, Best Buy offers package bundles, such as a cart discount when you purchase a sound system with a 4K TV. These TV deals are hot and cycle quickly. It’s best to sign up for the email updates if you plan on purchasing a television soon.

Option 4: Student Discount Coupons

a large pile of discount coupons

If you’re enrolled in college and have a myBestBuy membership, you can become privy to some of the top coupons Best Buy has to offer. Most of the deals in this category are computer-related, including a $100 discount on certain laptops, such as surface books. In addition, you can bundle a free subscription to essential software with your computer purchase, such as Microsoft Office.

Option 5: Credit Card Coupons

If you’re open to signing up for a credit card, Best Buy offers exclusive coupons to their card holders. For example, when you apply for a myBestBuy credit card, you can instantly earn 10% back in rewards. Like regular coupons, Best Buy coupons for credit card holders can revolve weekly or monthly.

The current deal allows you to earn an additional 5% in points for each purchase, or you can select 12 months no interest financing for purchasing over $399 and up. A few other deals that circulate are the 18 months no interest financing on appliances $599 and up, or 24 months no interest financing on home theater systems $799 and up. While these deals will not save you immediate cash, with a variable APR of 25.99%, the savings are astronomical.

Option 6: Third Party Coupons

There are several third-party websites that can help you find Best Buy coupons, such as retailmenot.com, PCmag, and offers.com. Each coupon suggested will have a percentage of verified failed and successful attempts. Although most of these websites only list the current coupons available from Best Buy’s website, sometimes this can help you hone in on a particular deal more quickly.

Option 7: Flash Sales

the sign of shopping and discount

Although not technically a coupon, you can find some of the best deals at Best Buy from flash sales. Flash sales usually only last for 4 hours or while supplies last, whichever comes first. These deals are extremely valuable, usually highlighting only a few particular products in a category at a severe discount. It’s almost impossible to take advantage of a flash sale without signing up for the email subscription.

Putting It All Together

Whether you’re looking for your own needs or a great Father’s Day gift, Best Buys offers numerous electronics products at a great price. There are several ways to snag Best Buy coupons. You can subscribe to their email updates for the most recent Best Buy coupons and deals, join their impressive reward system, or simply clip coupons from their ads or third party websites.

Whatever you do, be sure to check their deals before you make any major purchase. Have you found a way to save big at Best Buy? Share your tips below.

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