Thrifty Kids

2-Ingredient Homemade Fruit-Rolls Ups (Easy Fruit Leather that is Natural and Gluten-Free)

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by Alex


How to Make Homemade DIY Fruit Roll-Ups and Fruit Leather – Easy Recipe

Fruit roll-ups or fruit leather is an awesome snack for kids! But we either find 2 major problems…. many fruits roll-ups or leather contain food dyes and high fructose corn syrup, to name two ingredients that our family tries to avoid…. or you try to buy natural fruit roll-ups or fruit leather and they are so incredibly expensive.

So we learned a long time ago how to make our own.  It is cheaper, especially when you can make it with seasonal fruits, and quite easy. In fact, before we learned this a while back, we hadn’t realized just how incredibly simple this is!  This is just yet another recipe to add to our collection of recipes to replace a store-bought product!

You can follow this same recipe for pretty much any fruit (except citrus – we haven’t tried that)! We are going to demonstrate with our latest batch from the cheap strawberries and blueberries that we grabbed in season recently.

Strawberry fruit roll-ups are a favorite flavor in our house.  Which is a good thing as this is also the most popular.  I made strawberry, blueberry and a mixture of strawberry/blueberry in this round of fruit roll-ups.

Recipe for Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups and Fruit Leather


  • 3 Cups of Fresh Fruit
  • 1 TBSP of Honey (we use local raw honey)

*If this is for pregnant mothers or infants, we would recommend using sugar or maple syrup instead of honey.

How to Make:

  • Wash the fruit, cut out stems, seeds, etc.


  • Stick in a blender or food processor
  • Then add your sweetener


  • Blend until it is slushy like.


  • Line your pan(s) with parchment paper. You will need to use parchment paper.  It will not work with wax paper, or right on the pan.  Sorry! Shortcuts here means your batch is ruined.


  • Pour the slushy fruit mixture right onto the pan of parchment paper.


  • Then, using a rubber spatula, spread the mixture evenly and push the mixture to the edges. Make as smooth as possible. It’s important to make sure that the center does not “pool” with the mixture and the edges be “thin.” If this is the case, the edges will over-crisp while the center stays soft.



  • Bake/dry out in a 200 degree oven for 2-4 hours.  You will know it is done when you touch it and it does not stick to you, but is “leather” like.


  • The reason why the time is so broad is because each oven and each fruit will take a different amount of time.  In some cases, some fruits may be thicker and we have found that turning up the oven to 225 or 250 was needed.  Just check on it periodically.
  • Then, pull it out of the oven, you can let it cool in the pan overnight or take it out and let it set on the parchment paper overnight.


  • The next day, you will see a nice leathery fruit feel and it will even lift easily from the parchment paper.


  • Cut the fruit roll-ups and fruit leather into strips.



Strawberry sheet of fruit leather


Strawberry, Blueberry and Mixed Berry Leather Strips

  • Then “roll it up” for fruit leather, or cut strips in half for fruit leather.  We store ours in the fridge and they stay for a couple of weeks.



Yummy! They slide right off the paper, just like the classic fruit roll-ups!

They are great snack additions to our homemade, allergy-friendly Trail Mix recipe too!


See more Recipes in our Recipe Art Gallery

See our Recipe Pinterest Board


Alex & Cassie

Ultimate List of Fun for Kids: 150 Hands-On Activities, Crafts, Games and Ideas to Keep Kids Busy

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by Alex


When you have kids you need ideas to keep them from getting bored.  We should know as we have five little ones. :)  So we asked some of our friends to share their best ideas on boredom busters – those ideas to give your kids when they need a little help to overcome those moments (or hours) of boredom.

We have compiled the ideas below with links right to the source (see the links below each of the images).  Plus don’t miss our Bored Busters “Bored” Game that we posted earlier this summer; maybe you can take some of your favorite ideas from here and add them to your own bored bag.

Are you ready?  Get set!  Stop the boredom!

1. Beach Blanket Tic Tac Toe Tutorial
2. Egg Carton Flower Prints
3. Balloon Bopperseasy Kids Fun
4. Duck Tape Art Portfolio
5. Hanging Door Flag
6. Toilet Paper Roll Aliens
7. Olaf Sock Snowman Tutorial
8. How to Make No Sew Upcycled Fabric Bookmark
9. How to Make Your Own Chia Pet 2
10. Kids Craft Idea Make Fairy Garden Rocks
11. Outdoor Childrens Activity Make Fairy Bracelets
12. Marble Tubes Game
13. Craft Camp Day 4 Rhinestone Headbands
14. 20 Of The Best Water Balloon Games
15. Craft Camp Summer Straw Bead Necklace

1. Peanut Butter Playdough
2. DIY Watering Can
3. Kid Crafts Painting Rocks Using Crayons
4. Watercolor Tote Bag Paint Pens
5. Button Pipe Cleaner Caterpillars
6. Games Crafts Kids Boredom Busters Summer
7. Crafts With Kids Outdoor Spray Painting
8. Clothespin Catapult
9. Noahs Ark Spaghetti Craft
10. How to Make A Pinwheel Template
11. The Best Homemade Playdough Recipe
12. Owl Bucket Craft
13. Paper Crafts Round Up Three Crafts
14. Craft It Sit Upon Using Vinyl Tablecloth
15. T Shirt Rag Rug Using Hula Hoop from Family Fun Magazine

1. DIY Library Bag
2. Monsters University Cootie Catcher
3. Talk Bullying Kids Anti Bullying Craft
4. How Organize Summer
5. Best Boredom Busters Bored Game
6. Butterfly Pasta Canvas Art
7. Spray Chalk Kids Activity
8. Dinosaur Craft Paper Tube Craft
9. Make Ice Cream Bag
10. Magnet Dress Up A Huge Silhouette Blow Out Bundle
11. 60 Days Of Summer Fun
12. DIY Dinosaur Fossils
13. Create Outdoor Theater Summer Oshkoshsummer
14. Painting Shells With Kids
15. Salt Dough Flower Fingerprints

1. DIY Oriole Feeders
2. Plant A Truffula Tree With Me
3. Tissue Box Crafts For Kids
4. Puppet Theatre from A Cardboard Box
5. Our Water Wall
6. Chick Craft Loofah
7. Easy DIY Wrapped Bracelets
8. DIY Bubble Soap
9. Ice Balloon Balls
10. Kid Safe DIY Homemade Paint
11. Easy Kids Craft Make Cloud Dough
12. Diaper Box to A Treasure Chest Tutorial
13. Toilet Paper Roll Bird Feeders
14. Random But Cool How to Make Bouncy Balls from Common Household Items
15. Scratch And Sniff Jello Painting

1. Sun Catcher Vases
2. Toilet Paper Roll Band
3. Glow Dark Fireflies Jar Craft
4. Foam Block Pool Spelling
5. DIY Art
6. Melted Crayon Art Tutorial
7. Feature Friday Popsicle Bracelets
8. Kids Craft Recycled Tin Can Windsocks
9. Marshmallow Shooters
10. Spring Time Tic Tac Toe
11. Rock Candy Tutorial
12. Homemade Microwave Puffy Paint
13. Easy DIY Rainbow Paver Hopscotch
14. 80′s Inspired Splatter Painted Shirts
15. Upcycling Paper Beads

1. Camp Mom Oil Water Science For Kids
2. Simple Science Color Changing
3. Dreamcatchers
4. Streamer Rainbows
5. Design Dazzle Summer Camp Perler Bead
6. Easy DIY Homemade Moon Sand
7. Dinosaur Activity Pack Printable
8. Monster Activity Pack Printable
9. Kindergarten Cutting Activity
10. Spring Paper Chain
11. Creative Corks
12. I Spy Jars How to Make Them
13. Alphabet Balloon Pop
14. Chinese Lanterns Dragons
15. Tattoo Eggs

1. Melted Bead Sun Catcher Tutorial
2. Summer Boredom Buster DIY Slip N Slide
3. Rainbow Bubble Snakes
4. Ice Block Excavation Attempt
5. Water Balloon Target Practice
6. $1 Entertainment: Silly Spaghetti Sensory Bin
7. Exciting Train Themed Activities
8. Back to Basics Kick The Can
9. How to Make A Sponge Water Bomb
10. Last Minute Games With Paper Products
11. Ladybug Rocks For Your Garden
12. Paper Plate Kite
13. DIY Kiddie Car Wash
14. Painted Rock Garden Markers
15. Paper Plate Sand Dollars

1. Recycled CD Ladybugs
2. Paper Plate Fruit
3. Recycled Plastic Bottle Wind Spinner
4. Seashell Fish
5. Ladybug Craft Sun Visors
6. Sea Creature Sand Castle Cans
7. Paper Plate Frisbees
8. Styrofoam Cup Sea Crabs
9. Paper Plate Tropical Fish
10. Rock Bees
11. Pony Bead Fish
12. Easy Monster Stick Puppets
13. Kids 3D Art Canvas
14. How to Dye Yarn With Kool Aid
15. Make Fun Fourth July Flip Flops

1. Kool Aid Candy Dots
2. 101 Fun And Free Things to Do Outside With Your Kids
3. Outdoor Color Station
4. Glitter Finger Paint
5. Were Going On Water Balloon Hunt
6. Q Tips And Straws Fine Motor Skills
7. Easy Summer Craft Collage Flag
8. Shiny Starry Night Mirror Painting
9. Marshmallow Paint
10. Homemade Glow In The Dark Slime Recipe
11. Home Made Moon Sand Recipe
12. DIY PVC Water Fun
13. Pinterest Challenge Teepee No Not Toilet Paper
14. Garden Tea Party
15. Glow Dark Boredom Buster

1. Plastic Cup Boredom Buster
2. Racing Pom Pom Balls
3. DIY Marble Bowling Game
4. A Scavenger Hunt And Make
5. DIY Kaleidoscope Rice
6. Its Not A Glitter Wand
7. Minute Project Paperclip Bookmarks
8. Paper Plate Ring Toss Game
9. How to Marble With Nail Polish
10. Make Your Own Sponge Blocks
11. Paper Bag Puppet Kit
12. Edible Bingo Game Free Printables
13. Building With Marshmallows and Toothpicks
14. Quick Easy Pompom Play
15. Fall Crafts For Kids Cellophane Stained Glass

Do you have any other ideas?  We would love it if you would share below in the comments.  Even tell us which of these are your favorite.

See our Thrifty Kids Page for More Ideas HERE

See the Fun For Kids Pinterest Board HERE


Alex & Cassie

DIY Wooden Sandbox Tutorial: Easy How To Instructions

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by Cassie


This has been one of the best projects this year! Hours of sheer fun and entertainment already that it has been more than worth the small effort and more than worth the small expense! So here’s how to build a wooden sandbox that is a nice size for lots of sand play!

Materials and Tools Needed to Build a Sandbox: 



  • Treated wood beams (for longevity against the elements) in 2×12 sizes  (for 1 foot deep boxes pictured above), 16 feet per box, cut in 4 equal foot lengths (cut by lumber yard or at home). If you buy the wood in a 16 foot long beam, and then cut it, it will be cheaper than buying four – 4 foot long beams. Or even two 8-foot long beams.
  • 16 3.5-inch deck screws
  • 32 2 inch screws
  • Power Drill with Screwdriver head bit
  • 4×4 slat of exterior grade plywood that is 3/4 thickness
  • Play Sand – you can buy 50-lb bags at Home Depot and Walmart for $2.50.  You will need at least 10.

How to build a wooden sandbox:


  • On a flat surface, lay the beams out, ends touching the end of the next beam until you have a square.


Drilling the deck screws on the ends of the beams.


  • Then drill 4 deck screws in the side of each end to connect the end of the next beam.  Go all the way around until you have completed the square.


  • Add your plywood bottom.  Set the plywood on top and, using your smaller screws than the deck ones, simply screw the bottom to the beams by screwing down 6-8 screws on each side.



  • Finally, drill small drainage holes for water to escape in several places on the bottom of the plywood, especially making sure to get the corners!


  • Put it in it’s designated place.  You really won’t be able to move it once filled. So make sure it’s in the place you want it.  We have a spot in our raised garden bed that we placed it so our patio or grass were not used!
  • Fill it with the bags of sand and you are done!

The sandbox is finished and tons of fun!!


So much FUN!!  As you can see, this sandbox is nice and roomy and perfect for 2 plus kids and nice sand depth for more enjoyment! 

A couple of notes about a cover for your DIY wooden sandbox.

Covering this sandbox was important to us to keep it clean and dry.  We actually used another 4×4 piece of plywood for the top.  This worked for a time, but water really warps it and it also become very rough to handle with slivers.  Also, it is a very heavy lid top. So you can look at a finished/treated top to slow weathering and prevent the wood from creating slivers and perhaps something lighter to handle easily.

 We are probably going to change the top (not shown in any of the pictures) to using a tarp with grommet holes and tent stakes.  This way it is easy to cover by attaching to the tent stakes and pulling tight to keep cats/rainwater and other things out, but easy and manageable for all to handle.

See more DIY Projects


Alex & Cassie

Free Printable Children’s Vacation Packing List (Save Time and Money: Don’t Forget Anything)

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by Cassie


We have the next packing download available for you! Remember, we are working on providing you with tools, along with our tips and resources, to help you be as thrifty as can be – even by not forgetting anything on a trip!

This next one has been very helpful for us when we plan to take a trip! There have been times in the past that I have not been very well planned or prepared and this has caused us to spend more money than needed! I have learned that a little bit of planning prevents a lot of stress, saves times and ultimately saves money!

So this next packing list is a printable list that you can utilize to be able to not forget anything as you prepare to go on a trip or vacation with kids.  They have different needs than us and so we wanted to provide this list for you to help you accommodate your packing plans to make your trip as smooth as possible. .  You don’t want to be stuck having to pay an high price on something simple that you probably had at home.  These nickel and dime trip expenses add up quick!

Of course you can add or exclude anything that you wouldn’t need/want, but the guide is very helpful. Print as many as you need and come back here whenever you need one!

What else do you plan to take on your cruise vacations? 

Download and Print the Free Kids’ Vacation Packing List HERE

See our Travel Section HERE for more budget travel related articles 

See our Travel Pinterest Board


Alex & Cassie

23 Cute and Fun Handprint and Footprint Crafts for Kids

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by Cassie


If you have been reading our site long, you will know that handprints and footprints are some of our most favorite kids’ crafts – we LOVE their sweet little hands and feet in art!

So we wanted to round-up a bunch of ideas for you to enjoy your kids’ little hands and feet too! There are some fantastic ideas, check them out!

23 - Craftulate - ABC Animal Handprints

Learn the ABC’s with Handprint Animals idea @ Craftulate HERE

11 - Meaningful Mama - Handprint Flowers

Handprint Flower Bouquet idea @ Meaningful Mama HERE

13 - A Moms Take - Seasons Handprint Crafts

Seasons of Love Handprint Trees for the Seasons idea @ A Mom’s Take HERE

17 - Aunna James - Handprint Owl

Owl Handprints idea @ Aunna James HERE

24 - Fun Hand Print Art Blog - Monkey on a Vine

Handprint Monkey idea @ Fun Handprint Art Blog HERE

20 - Creative Activities for Kids - Handprint Sun

Handprint Sunshine idea@ Creative Activities for Kids HERE

21 - Country and Victorian Times - Hand and Footprint Love Sign

Love Sign Made with Handprint and Footprints idea @ Country and Victorian Times HERE 

06 - Domestic Superhero - Handpring Flower Painting

Adorable Handprint and Footprint Flowers idea @ Domestic Superhero HERE 

16 - House of Burke - Handprint Fish for Dr

Dr. Seuss Handprint One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish idea @ House of Burke HERE

15 - Sassy Dealz - Handprint Duck

Handprint Duck idea @ Sassy Dealz HERE

02 - Eat Craft Parent - Handprint Keepsake

Handprint with Poem idea @ Eat Craft Parent HERE

14 - Artful Kids - Mud Handprint Cast

Handprint Plaster Casters idea @ Artful Kids HERE

04 - Creative Green Living - Footprint Butterfly Towels

Footprint Butterflies and Bees idea @ Creative Green Living HERE

18 - Sweet and Lovely Crafts - Handprint Peacock

Handprint Peacock idea @ Sweet and Lovely Crafts HERE

19 - Puppy Dog Tails - Handprint Crab

Handprint and Sand Crab idea @ Puppy Dog Tails HERE

05 - The Suburban Mom - Handprint Craft with Poem

Handprint Poem idea @ The Suburban Mom HERE

09 - Sisters Saving Cents - Handprint Itsy Bitsy Spider

Itsy Bitsy Spider Handprint idea @ Sisters Saving Cents HERE

01 - Crafting in the Rain - Handprint Spring Art

Fun Banner Handprint Art Banner idea @ Crafting in the Rain HERE

Seasonal and Holiday Themed Handprint and Footprint Crafts

08 - Meaningful Mama - Handprint Turkey

Handprint Turkey idea @ Meaningful Mama HERE


Handprint Turkey Shirts idea @ The Thrifty Couple HERE 

22 - Handprint Chalkboard Sign

Handprint Patriotic Sign idea @ Memories Composed HERE 


Handprint Flag T-Shirts idea @ The Thrifty Couple HERE 

12 - The Neighborhood Moms - Handprint Leprechaun

Leprechaun Handprint idea @ The Neighborhood Moms HERE 

03 - Domestic Superhero - Handprint Christmas Tree

Handprint Christmas Trees idea @ Domestic Superhero HERE 

See more Craft and DIY Ideas

See our Fun for Kids Pinterest Board


Alex & Cassie