Nov 27, 2014

Sweet Potato & Bacon Casserole Recipe!


Best Sweet Potato and Bacon Casserole

A few years back we were at our friend Meg’s house for dinner and she made this absolutely amazing sweet potato and bacon casserole dish!  I immediately asked her for the recipe, and have made it several times over the past few years.  Y’all, it’s INCREDIBLE!

And today, Meg is sharing her recipe with all of you too!  If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out her website Lesson Plan Ladies where she shares Pre-K and Kindergarten lesson plans for homeschoolers (with more grade levels coming soon!)

Sweet Potato & Bacon Casserole Recipe!
  • 6 Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 package (12 oz) of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • Bacon grease from the cooked bacon
  • ¼ cup of Maple Syrup
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
  2. Place the peeled & cubed sweet potatoes in a 9x13 baking dish
  3. Add the cooked and cumbled bacon on top of the cubed sweet potatoes
  4. Pour the bacon grease on top of the sweet potato/bacon mixture
  5. Drizzle the maple syrup on top of everything
  6. Add the salt and pepper and stir well
  7. COVER the baking dish with foil (*important*)
  8. Bake at 450 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally


Be sure to follow us on Pinterst for more great recipe ideas!

Follow Me On Pinterest

Print this post This post may contain affiliate links. Click to view full disclosure policy.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Nov 26, 2014

Essential Oil Gifts For The Essential Oils Fanatic!


Gift ideas for the essential oils FANATIC!!

If you’re not personally an essential oils fanatic, then you likely know one!

Essential oils are a big deal right now, and I can almost guarantee that at least someone on your gift list this year has jumped on board the EO bandwagon.

I told Ryan that he could tell anyone that wanted to get me a gift this year that all I wanted was more essential oil diffusers.  Yep, that’s it.  I can’t think of anything else that I’d rather have!

Before I list out the different essential oil gift ideas, here are a couple of tips for gift-giving to an essential oils fanatic:

Tip 1: Many essential oil users are pretty attached to the company that they buy from.  On those {pretty rare} occasions that I get a professional massage (it’s usually what I request for Mother’s Day!), I bring in my own essential oils because I only want oils that I trust penetrating my cells.  So, as a general rule, when you’re giving to an essential oils fanantic, stay away from gifts that are made with essential oils (like lotions, lip balms, sugar scrubs, etc.) unless they are made with the brand that the recipient uses.

Tip 2: If the number of gift options below seems overwhelming, you really can’t go wrong giving someone a diffuser.  I can’t think of a single essential oils fanatic I know (and I know a lot of them!) who would say, “You know, I think I’m good on diffusers.  I don’t need another one.”  We always always need another diffuser!

So are you ready?  Here’s the list!

Best Essential Oils Gifts Diffuser

1. Essential Oil Diffuser

Have I mentioned that an essential oils fanatic always wants another diffuser? ;)

This one (the one pictured) is my favorite, but there are several to choose from here!  Just make sure that it says “ultrasonic” on it and that you read through the reviews before buying.

Best Essential Oils Gifts Sew Now Wat Case

2. SewNowWat EO cases

I visited my friend Shellie this past summer and she had one of these that she highly recommended.

I bought one as soon as I got home and now it goes with me everywhere!

These cases are gorgeous, extremely well-made, AND will fit either 5 ml or 15 ml bottles!

Best Essential Oil Gifts Keychain Case

3. Mini Keychain Case

What about those times that you just take your keys and wallet with you and leave your purse at home?  You don’t want to be without your oils then, right?

I love my keychain case, and always keep my 8 most-used essential oils in there (those 8 would be: Lavender, Peppermint, Lemon, Purification, Thieves, Di-Gize, Stress Away, and Peace & Calming)

The case comes with 8 empty essential oil vials so the recipient can fill them with whatever oils they want to have with them at all times.

Essential Oils Gifts Diffuser Necklace

4. Diffuser necklace

These are so many options out there for diffuser necklaces, but here are my three favorites:

1. Diffusing Mamas has several very well-made diffuser necklaces in both silver and silver/gold combo. I have one of these necklaces and it gorgeous and very good quality.

2.  Sacred Arrow jewelry makes absolutely gorgeous diffuser necklaces.  PLUS, a portion of all of their earnings goes towards sending bottles of Sacred Frankincense to cancer patients!

3. Oil Wear  I got one of the Oil Wear necklaces this past summer and LOVE IT!  They are much less expensive than the stainless steel ones from Sacred Arrow, but I’ve been really impressed with the quality (and I love all of the colors!)

Essential Oils Gifts 31 Bag

5. Baubles & Bracelets Thirty-One Bag

This bag from Thirty-One Gifts was designed to hold jewelry, but it actually works perfectly as an at-home essential oils case!

Keep in mind that there won’t be any padding with this case, so it might not be good for major traveling, but it works very well as an every day case.

Thirty-One distributors aren’t allowed to post links to their Thirty-One page publicly online, so the best thing to do if you want one of these is to ask on Facebook if any of your friends are Thirty-One distributors.  I can almost guarantee you’ll get a few private messages from friends who are more than willing to help you get one!  :)

Essential Oil Gifts USB Diffuser

6. USB/Fan Diffuser

I’m not sure which of these USB diffusers to recommend since I don’t have one yet.  But hopefully I will be able to come back and update this post at the beginning of next year! ;)

All of the USB diffusers can connect to your USB port in your computer or in your car (if you have a newer car with USB ports) so that you can have your favorite essential oil smells with you whereever you go!

There was even a picture on Facebook of Natalie Grant using a portable fan diffuser on an airplane!  Can I diffuse Peace & Calming so that everyone on the plane goes to sleep?

Essential Oils Gift Diffuser Bracelet

7. Leather diffuser bracelet

Again, I highly recommend Sacred Arrow Jewelry! They have GORGEOUS essential oil jewelry products and use a portion of their profits to give Sacred Frankincense to cancer patients.

Essential Oils Gifts Glass Bottle

8. Glass spray bottles

Did you know that you shouldn’t put essential oils, especially citrus essential oils, in plastic?  If your friend or family member is an essential oils fanatic, then they will definitely be needing some glass spray bottles so that they can make their own air freshener, homemade cleaners, and mosquito spray.

Essential Oils Gifts Car Diffuser

9. Car Diffuser

If you live in the dark ages like me, and your car doesn’t have a USB port yet, you can get a diffuser that plugs directly into the cigarette lighter.  {Is it still called a cigarette lighter??}

Essential OIls Gifts Water Bottle

10. Glass water bottle

Essential oils and plastic don’t mix, so please don’t ever put essential oils into a plastic water bottle or a styrofoam cup.  There are different opinions on ingesting essential oils, and this isn’t the place to get into that. But for those who feel comfortable adding a drop or two of an essential oil brand that they trust to a water bottle, a glass water bottle with a silicone sleeve is a must-have!

I got a 2-pack earlier this year at Costco, but you can also get glass water bottles online here.

Essential Oil Gifts Rollerball

11. Roll-on bottles or rollerball fitments

You can look through all of the different options for rollerballs here.  Just be sure to get one that’s darker in color and NOT clear.

Most essential oil fanatics love making their own blends (for example, a blend of Vetiver, Cedarwood, and Lavender is a wonderful blend to help with “focus”) so having rollerballs, or roller ball fitments that they can add to their existing bottles of essential oils are wonderful to have on hand!

Essential Oil Gifts Stainless Steel Straw

12. Stainless steel straws

Have I mentioned to keep essential oils away from plastic?  That includes plastic drinking straws!!

Sipping on an ice-cold glass of lemon EO water through a straw during the hot Texas summer is one of my favorite things, but just make sure that the straw is made of stainless steel or glass!

Essential Oil Gifts Rack Organizer

13. Essential Oil Organizers

There are so many different options here!

I use a clear nail polish counter display, but if you’re giving this as a gift, you’ll probably want to give something a little cuter.

Here are two options that I think would be great:

1.  Chalkboard Essential Oils rack – this is much smaller than the one above, but so cute!  I love that it has the chalkboard on the back to write on.

2.  Hanging Bronze Nail Polish organizer – this is the one that I want!  Check out what my friend Alyssa did with TWO of these…

Alyssa EO Display Case

Essential Oil Gifts Books

14. Essential Oil Books

There are so many different essential oil books on the market right now, so here are a few that I absolutely love and would highly recommend.

The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils

The Essential Oils Desk Reference Book

Gentle Babies

Essential Oil Gifts Shea Butter

15. Carrier Oils & Lotion Ingredients

The essential oils fanatic is likely going to be making a lot of their own body products and beauty products, so here are a few items that you could get them to help with that!

Shea Butter
Organic Vegetable Glycerin
Vitamin E Oil
Beeswax (adds firmness to body products like lip balm, lotions, soaps, etc)
Organic Jojoba Oil (works great as a carrier oil)
Organic Coconut Oil (it works wonderfully, especially during the colder months, to make whipped body butter!)

There are so many options for the essential oil fanatics in your life!

And for those of you who aren’t fanatics yet, and don’t know anyone who is, then check out the essential oils special that I’m running just in November!  Who knows, you might turn into an essential oils fanatic too before this time next year!  ;)

Want more ideas for essential oils?

Follow my Natural Remedies Pinterest board below!

Essential Oils On Pinterest

Oh, and one more thing before you go!  Whenever I post a new article (many of them are on essential oils) I send out an email to everyone who is on my email list!  If you would like to get these emails and stay up to date with all of the latest ways to save, then please sign up for our email list!  I promise, there’s absolutely no spam EVER.  :)

Print this post This post may contain affiliate links. Click to view full disclosure policy.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Nov 23, 2014

Top 20 Most Amazing Pumpkin Recipes + How To Make Pumpkin Puree!


How to make pumpkin puree!!  It tastes so much better than canned!

It is so incredibly easy to make your own pumpkin puree instead of buying it in cans at the store.

Just buy a pie pumpkin (one of the smaller ones) and cook it using your preferred method.  I prefer cooking my pumpkins whole in the oven.

Once your pumpkin is cooked through, cut it in half and scoop out the seeds (put them to the side to make roasted pumpkin seeds later!), scoop out the remaining pumpkin pulp, and then use a food processor or Vitamix to puree the pulp.

I’m a fairly lazy cook, so I just use my pumpkin puree as is and use less of other liquids in the recipe.  But if you would prefer the consistency to be more like canned pumpkin, then just place a cheesecloth over a mesh strainer, and pour the pumpkin puree in the cheesecloth.  Allow the puree to sit for about an hour, and then use it like you would use puree from the can.

A 3 lb. pie pumpkin should give you around 2 cups of puree, which is just a tad more than the 15 ounces in a can.

So now what do you do with this pumpkin puree?

I turned to my favorite recipe search engine, PINTEREST, to find lots of amazing recipes using pumpkin puree!

I tried to have a mix of dessert and non-dessert recipes, but it *might* be a little dessert heavy. :)

Oh my!  I'm so hungry now!  These really are amazing!

Just click on the pin below to go to the blog or website for all of the directions!

1. Baked Pumpkin Donuts

2. Pumpkin Pie Tortilla Rolls

3. Pumpkin Upside Down Cake

4. Pumpkin Hummus Dip

5. Pumpkin Custard

6. Curried Vegetable Stew

7. Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

8. Slow Cooker Pumpkin Butter

9. Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel Frosting

10. Pumpkin Cobbler

11. Pumpkin Waffles

12. Pumpkin Spices Latte Cake

13. Pumpkin Churro Cake

14. GLUTEN-FREE Pumpkin Donut Holes

15. Homemade Pumpkin Gnocchi

16. Grain-Free Pumpkin Spice Bread

17. Pumpkin Pie Larabars

18. Pumpkin Fudge Balls

19. Pumpkin Spice Glazed Loaf

20. Paleo Pumpkin Tortillas


Ok, who else is hungry now?!

Want more recipe ideas? Follow me on Pinterest below!

Follow Me On Pinterest

Print this post This post may contain affiliate links. Click to view full disclosure policy.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Nov 22, 2014

Essential Oil FREEbies Promotion!!


Essential OIls Promo

As many of you now know, Ryan and I have jumped on board the essential oils bandwagon (yes, Ryan too!) We use them for our family for all kinds of things like seasonal nasal discomfort*, soothing the discomfort of burns*, supporting our immune systems*, promoting proper stomach digestion, and even bug spray! (And lots lots more! Have you heard the saying “there’s an oil for that”? There really seems to be!!)

The “medicine” that God created is definitely powerful and created to work perfectly with our bodies. It’s funny that the media talks about essential oils like they’re a “new trend” when people have been using essential oils for thousands of years! :)

With company after company popping up (goodness, it sometimes seems like a new one pops up every week) to try to take advantage of the “new trend” of essential oils, I’m thrilled to have found a company that I trust and that was the pioneer in bringing the use of therapeutic essential oils here to the states.

If you’re interested in getting a starter kit of some of the most useful essential oils and essential oil blends, then I’m offering a SPECIAL DEAL just for Surviving The Stores readers right now!

Two years ago, Ryan got me this starter kit as my Valentine’s Day present, and while I knew I would love it, I had no idea how much this one starter kit would change our lives!

The world of essential oils can be very confusing, so I’m using the commission money that I make to give you back freebies that will be a HUGE help in your oily journey!

If you get a premium Young Living starter kit (which is, on its own, a really great deal at $150)…

Compare Starter Kit

…then I will ALSO mail you a super helpful Essential Oils Reference Guide (you can look up almost anything in it and see which oils have been used to help with that problem), a set of essential oil labels to keep your oils organized, a Starter Guide to get started specifically with your starter kit, a set of laminated easy-reference sheets for how to use the oils for First Aid, and how to use them for babies & children, AND a $20 Amazon GIFT CARD!

There are so many great “oily” resources on Amazon that you can use the gift card for (although you can use it for anything).

Oh, and one quick thing. You get ELEVEN 5 ml bottles with this deal. Several people always ask each time I talk about this starter kit if it’s just the samples. Nope, you get everything in the picture below with your kit including the 11 5 ml bottles of oils!

What comes in the Young Living starter kit?  PLUS several freebies when you get started!!

If you are ready to buy a starter kit, then be sure to sign up as a wholesale member (with one of the premium starter kits) through the instructions below to take advantage of these freebies!

1.  Head over to the Young Living page here and fill out your information. {Please use your laptop or desktop to sign-up, instead of your smartphone or tablet.}

2.  Be sure the “Wholesale Member” option is checked so that you don’t end up paying retail prices (which are 24% more than wholesale).

3. Be sure the “sponsor ID” and “enroller id” say 1423474 (so that I can send you your free book!)

4. If you do not feel comfortable putting in your social security number (this is only for tax purposes if you decide to turn this into a business) then you can get an EIN from the IRS in just a few seconds here and use that number instead (the IRS just needs to be able to connect some number with you for tax purposes).   They need a Social Security Number or an EIN because if you make $600 or more per year selling Young Living products, you will receive a 1099 form in the mail (which is required by law). Young Living will never share this info with anyone.

5. Select which starter kit you want to get. My recommendation would be the Premium Starter Kit (and that’s the one where you get all of the freebies!) Those are the oils that I use almost every single day! You can get the kit that’s $150, or you can get a kit for $160 with the bamboo essential oil diffuser! (I personally like the $150 kit with the Home Diffuser better!)

6. You can skip the Essential Rewards part of the sign-up process if you want to. I’ll send over an email with more details on that part of things after you sign up (if you’re going to be purchasing products monthly then it’s a great program that will give you credit back with each order and save you on shipping costs).

7. Go through the checkout process.

8.  IMPORTANT: After you sign up, FILL OUT THIS FORM HERE and use the code “STSOILS” at the bottom. If you have any specific questions, feel free to email me at [email protected] and I will also help you find the information that you need. :)

BONUS Step 9 (COMPLETELY Optional!)

If you would like to earn a BONUS essential oil, then you need to get your order total up to 190 PV (different products have different point values). If you get the $150 Premium Starter Kit then you’ll automatically have 100 point value… then you’ll just need 90 more points to get the bonus oil. For example, you could grab an extra bottle of Thieves Oil at 33.75 points, 15 ml bottle of Lavender at 23.5 points, 15 ml bottle of Lime at 11 points, and the 14.4 ounces of Thieves Household Cleaner at 22 points (just pour one capful of the concentrated Thieves cleaning solution into a spray bottle and it lasts for a really long time!) All of those items will bring your total points up to $190.25 which will qualify you to get the BONUS oil! (This step is completely optional!)


If you would like to earn TWO free BONUS essential oils this month, then you can go ahead and enroll in the Essential Rewards section (the Step 3 on the Young Living signup page). Young Living has put together a great rewards program for those who think they will be ordering regularly. For this first month, you will need to choose one of the Essential Rewards kits that are offered on the sign-up page, but in the future, you can change up your order each month. Most people get the Wellness Essential Rewards Kit when they sign up so that they can try out the Ningxia Red (an AMAZING juice blend filled with antioxidants from the Ningxia Wolfberry), and other great YL products like their exclusive Slique blend to help with weight management!

There’s absolutely no obligation to do the Essential Rewards program, but if you would like to get both of the free oils available this month and you know you’ll be ordering regularly, then it’s a great program to maximize your savings!  (This step is completely optional!)

IMPORTANT:  This promotion is only available when you sign up with the sponsor ID and enroller ID as #1423474.  Also, if you recommend this promotion to a friend (or group of friends) and they sign up too through this promotion then please let me know so that you can get credit for referring them. :)

{Scroll down for several frequently asked questions!}

*Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please confirm any information obtained from or through this web site with other sources, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on this website.

Frequently Asked Questions:


Does signing up make me a “distributor”?

Nope! You are not required to sell anything at all to anyone. When you become a wholesale member, you get a special link that you can share with friends and get credit from their purchases, but there are no minimum sales amounts at all. In fact, 90% of the wholesale members in Young Living don’t do the business side at all. They are buying from Young Living because of the quality alone.

Am I required to make a minimum purchase each month?

There are absolutely NO minimum monthly purchase requirements. To remain a wholesale member, you have to make $50 worth of purchases per year to keep your membership. But if there’s a year that you don’t make a $50 purchase, you can reinstate your wholesale membership discount by just placing a $50 order.

If you do find yourself making regular purchases each month, then Young Living has a rewards program (called Essential Rewards) where you can make a nice percentage back in product credit each month on all of your purchases. So that’s a neat program to join if you find that you *want* to purchase regularly (but it’s not a requirement for being a wholesale member).

Why should I buy from Young Living instead of other essential oils companies?

It does seem like a new essential oils company pops up every day, doesn’t it?

I can’t speak to the quality of other companies, but I can say that Young Living was the only company in my research of essential oil companies that could answer all of my questions about purity in a way that was satisfactory to me.

Young Living was the only company that has their own farms (in the regions where the plants should be grown), could absolutely guarantee that no pesticides or herbicides were used in the growing of any of their oils (they use essential oils for pest control and they do all of the weeding by hand), has their own testing equipment (they do both in-house and 3rd party testing, and use many different testing methods not just GC/MS which only tests for certain chemicals, not whether those chemicals are synthetic or not), and only uses the first distillation of oils instead of adding chemicals to get more out of the plant.

Young Living also was the only company that was directly in charge of essential oil farming operations. Every other company I researched goes through some kind of an “oil broker” to buy their oils. They have to trust that the oil broker is telling the truth, who has to trust that the essential oil distilleries are telling the truth, who have to trust that the farmers are telling the truth about what they say they are doing.

With Young Living, you just have to trust one company instead of several.

I feel like it’s a trust step either way (anyone could be lying) but I felt the most comfortable trusting Young Living since they are a full-disclosure company. ANYONE can visit the farms, participate in the harvesting and distillation, view the Young Living labs, and see the entire process. That’s not an option with any other company.

How will I know which oils to use for what?

One of the benefits of getting a starter kit through this promotion is that you also get to join our private Facebook group that’s specifically for questions about essential oils!

The reference guide that I’m giving away as part of this promotion is also a HUGE resource. You can look up almost anything in it and see which essential oils and supplements can be helpful.

Does Young Living only sell essential oils?

The answer to this one was suprising to me when I first got my starter kit! Young Living actually has an entire line of personal care products, supplements, meal replacements, energy drinks, and more! Almost every product incorporates essential oils (for example, frankincense is absolutely wonderful in facial products), but there’s a wide variety of products available.

What if I live outside of the United States?

For those who live in Canada, we will mail the book and labels, but will need to either reduce or remove the gift card to cover the extra shipping charge.

International orders of 100 PV or more will receive a $25 Amazon or Paypal gift card. Many times the only kit that is offered to those that reside outside of the US doesn’t have a PV at all. To receive the gift card, you will need to have a minimum of 100 PV in your final order.

What about overseas US military?

If you are military with an APO/FPO address, you can still receive the same promotion as those in the United States since the address is here in the US.

Please let me know if you have any other questions at all and I will do my best to answer them!

Limited-time promotion. Only available until 2/28/15 or until there are no more freebie packages. Posts will be updated if the promotion changes before February 28th.

Print this post This post may contain affiliate links. Click to view full disclosure policy.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Oct 27, 2014

How To Dye Hair With Kool-Aid!


How To Make Kool Aid Hair Dye

My 12 year old has been begging to dye the ends of her hair for a while now, so I figured that dyeing it with Kool-Aid would be a great compromise!

I was surprised at how well it turned out (so impressed that I might even try doing mine!) and my daughter loves it.

I posted the after picture to Instagram and to my personal Facebook page, and I had a few friends say to be careful when dyeing BLONDE hair with Kool-Aid because it can take forever to wash out.

Let us know how it turns out if you try it!

These are the instructions for dyeing the tips of the hair, but I’m sure you could do your whole head, or longer highlights if desired.

How To Dye Hair With Kool-Aid

Step 1: Put three packets of UNSWEETENED Kool-Aid in a bowl. DO NOT get sweetened kool-aid or your hair will end up sticky.

Step 2: Add a blob of conditioner. I didn’t actually measure it, but I don’t think it really matters exactly how much. You can see how much I used in the image below.

How To Dye Your Hair With Kool-Aid!

Step 3: Mix the unsweetened Kool-Aid and conditioner until it makes a paste.

Step 4: Add 1 teaspoon of water and blend more.

How To Dye Your Hair With Kool-Aid!

Step 5: Brush hair out really well and put on an old t-shirt.

Step 6: Separate out a small section of hair and place it on a piece of foil.

How To Dye Your Hair With Kool-Aid!

Step 7: Using a paint brush, brush the Kool-Aid mixture over the piece of hair.

How To Dye Your Hair With Kool-Aid!

Step 8: Fold up the foil piece so that the dyed section of hair is completely covered. I also folded over the sides to help the foil stay more securely (not shown).

How To Dye Your Hair With Kool-Aid!

Step 9: Continue around the head with the same technique used in steps 6-8.

Step 10: Wrap the hair, including the foil sections, in saran wrap so that no dye will get on your pillow while you sleep (sorry everyone, my daughter wouldn’t let me take a picture of this step in the process!)

Step 11: Sleep with the Kool-Aid mixture in your hair. Shampoo WELL as soon as you wake up the next morning and style like usual!

How To Dye Your Hair With Kool-Aid!

Ta-da! :)

Ok, who’s going to try it? I can’t wait to hear how it turns out for you!

FEBRUARY UPDATE: I dyed the tips of her hair at the end of October and the dye definitely faded a lot within a month or two. In the light you can still see a *tiny* bit of red on the tips, but it’s not anything that’s noticeable. I would definitely only do this with a color that I was comfortable having in my hair for several months (like a red), and NOT a color like green or blue. :)

I also would NOT use this as a dye for the whole head of hair unless you want your hairdresser to be really really frustrated. This is a fun thing for kids to do to dye their tips, but you probably will want to leave YOUR hair to the professionals!

Follow me on Pinterest for more fun ideas!

Follow Me On Pinterest

Print this post This post may contain affiliate links. Click to view full disclosure policy.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Oct 16, 2014

How To Save Your CASH When Buying Gifts For Kids!


Save Money On Kids Gifts

Gifts for kids are unarguably one of the biggest expenses each holiday season.

And especially for those of you who are like me and have the “love language” of gift-giving. If I see something that I know that someone I love wants, it is SO HARD for me to resist buying it for them. And I love my kiddos. A lot. :)

So I really have to be careful with what I spend during the holidays on them… and THANKFULLY I have my financial-whiz husband who totally keeps up with our budget each month!

So what do you do about kid gifts? How can you still give them things they will love and not have to take out a second mortgage?

Here are a few ideas that I hope are helpful for all of us:

1. Stick to a well-defined budget.

I’ve created a super simple holiday budgeting spreadsheet to help you do this! Just open up the spreadsheet, click on “File” then “Make A Copy” to be able to edit it.

First, figure out exactly how much you can spend TOTAL on gifts.

Then, write down the name of each person you need to buy for, and how much of that budget can go towards each of them. When you are done, the number in “How much room you have left in your budget” should be $0.

As you buy presents, put down what you bought in the correct spaces, and then put how much you paid for it. Everything will add up and you’ll see if you went over budget, met your budget, or were UNDER budget (which would be awesome!) :)

It’s truly amazing how quickly buying gifts here and there add up, so if we can see exactly where the money is being spent, it really helps.

2. Watch the deal sites (like Surviving The Stores) THROUGHOUT the year!

Don’t wait until a few weeks before Christmas to purchase! Keep your eyes open for awesome deals throughout the year and grab things when the prices are low. I see deals like the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals all throughout the year (although not ALL AT ONE TIME like on BF & CM) and I post about the best ones here on STS!  Be sure to subscribe for email updates and follow us on Facebook to stay up to date with what’s going on in the deal world!

Just remember to write everything you buy down because it’s super easy to forget what you have already purchased and how much you have spent.

3. When buying for your own kids, let them know their budget!

It’s so much easier when they understand how much things cost and can really weigh their decisions based off of prices (definitely a valuable lesson to learn!) Obviously, this wouldn’t work for younger children, but it’s much easier to stay frugal with younger children (in my experience), than with older children.

So let’s say that your budget for each child is $100. Each child can write down as many gifts on their wish list that they want, as long as it adds up to $100. They can either choose that 1 American Girl doll that they want, or a few less expensive presents.

I would also recommend giving them a budget that is LESS than what your “real” budget is so that you are able to find some fun surprises that you know they will love.   :)

4. Pare down your gift-giving.

One of the pins I’ve been seeing going around Pinterest is this one:

I LOVE this idea!! Basically how it works is that each child gets something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read!

Such a great way to keep things focused away from just “what am *I* getting”.

5. Focus on reaching out.

One of the things that we love to do with our kids each year is pick out a gift to give to a family in need from the Gospel For Asia gift catalogue. You can give rabbits, oxen, water wells, all kinds of things! The kids have a blast figuring out what to give and they see that the holidays aren’t just about what THEY can get.

6. Utilize garage sales.

Whether it’s HAVING a garage sale with old toys to pay for new toys, or GOING to garage sales to look for toys, garage sales are BIG helps in saving money on kid gifts during the holidays! We’ve found lots of great items at garage sales that just needed a little TLC… and even some brand new in-the-box items that we were able to regift! Don’t forget about the consignment shops like Once Upon A Child and the Just Between Friends sales too!

7. Shop clearance throughout the year.

Especially the Target 75% off Toy Clearance that comes around each January and July! This is where I get about 90% of the presents for my younger kids, and usually end up spending around $50 TOTAL for $200 worth of gifts! Toys and clothes go on clearance all the time, ESPECIALLY after the holidays, so consider leaving some room in your budget this year to grab things for NEXT year! :)

8. Check the pawn shops and Craigslist.

These are great money-savers for budgeting for the older kids who likely have more expensive tastes (like drum sets, XBOXes, and cameras). And, contrary to the stigma, pawn shops are NOT just places that have stolen items (actually, that’s likely more common on Craigslist now). Pawn shops make sure that an item hasn’t been reported stolen before putting it out to sell.

9. Sign up for the Daily Deal websites

There are lots of great websites that have new deals every day, or every week.  You can find deals on *almost* anything through the sites!

The sites that I’ve listed below are the ones that I’ve personally used and would recommend.  You can click on each link to sign up for that website so that you can get their emails letting you know what’s on sale.

RACHEL’S DAILY DEALS TIP: I highly recommend getting a “deals-only” email address for signing up for these company newsletters.  For example, I could get [email protected] so that all of my “deals” emails go there and don’t get mixed up in my personal inbox.  Then I can check that separate email address when I need to.

What about you? What are your best tips for saving money on kids gifts?

Print this post This post may contain affiliate links. Click to view full disclosure policy.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."