How was your Easter weekend??
Ours was really fun. Since we don't live by any immediate family, we usually have to fly solo for Holidays. My kids have been too young in the past to do much for Easter (or that was my excuse, anyway…), but this year we had a great time enjoying festivities and fun! Here's how our weekend went…
(Note: I apologize this is being posted so late, it's been a BUSY day. I'm posting this so late that anyone on my email list [which should be all of you!!] will actually get this tomorrow [Tuesday]. Woopsies!)

Thursday:
Had breakfast for dinner using leftover lunchmeat and taco fixin's from when my family was in town. Remember, never throw food away! Always try to find a creative use for them! See lots of my food tips HERE.

I have an amazing homemade syrup recipe, I'll give it to you soon! I put it in a jar in the fridge and simply re-heated it on the stove to serve again. Didn't know you could reuse homemade syrup days later, did ya? Yes, it was just as amazing 2nd time around…
We chopped up leftover lunch meat and taco fixings. We cooked some of the toppings in with the eggs, and left some out to sprinkle on top. We diced strawberries for the waffles.
And yes, the strawberries are in a baby food jar. I can't help myself, I have millions of them lying around and can't seem to throw them away! They are so cute and jars can be so expensive. I seriously use them for everything. Don't judge me. 😉

Friday:

  • We went to a movie with friends. We actually deserve a slap on the wrists for our two date nights this week, this date was one reason why. Why were we naughty? Let me count the ways…
  1. We saw a full-priced movie even though we have an amazing theater system in our basement and can rent and watch movies for little to nothing.
  2. We got takeout from Cafe Rio before-hand.
  3. While we did split our meal at Rio, we used NO coupons for the movie OR dinner. Baaaaad.
  4. We hired a babysitter because all of our friends were out of town for Spring Break and Easter and no one could watch our kids for free.

So while it wasn't a free or even cheap date, it was FUN.

  And guess what? That's ok!
...in moderation. 

We saw the Hunger Games and it was worth paying full-price for. Why? It was a good movie, but more than that, we were invited by friends who wanted to see it. We wanted to go with them, it was fun, so it was worth every penny.

  • On Saturday night we had an even more expensive date with friends, so we deserve an even BIGGER slap on the wrist because:
  1. We hired a babysitter AGAIN (after trying relentlessly again to find free babysitters…darn spring break!)
  2. We went to dinner with friends AGAIN (it's too costly to eat out every time you go out so don't follow our habit!)
  3. We EACH got our own meals this time,
  4. …and paid full-price for them because we had no coupons (it was the Cheesecake Factory and they are notorious for having NO deals, specials, or coupons 99.9% of the time.)

It was one of the funnest nights we've had in a long time, and once again, was worth the cost. But I will make up for it this week.

Let me explain myself a little better on this one…

Don't get me wrong, it's VERY COOL (yeah, you heard me! cool!) and VERY IMPORTANT to:

A) never pay full-price for anything and 
B) try to do things as frugally as possible. 

However, there are times where you need to simply go with the flow and not stress about saving a buck.
For example…

No one likes those friends who say, “yeah! We'd love to go out with you guys!”…then are a pain to coordinate with because the date THEY plan isn't as cheap as YOU would like it.
You need to find your balance
If someone invites you to do something, either DO IT, or regretfully and politely decline. If you say yes to THEIR invitation, then go along with THEIR plans; even if it's not as frugal as YOU would do it. Sure, you can politely suggest things if they ask for suggestions, but otherwise just go with it and have fun. Then, next time YOU plan the date (which you can do for completely free, I promise!) and invite them along…and do it YOUR way! See, isn't that nice? 🙂

Here's one thing you will learn as you make your lifestyle a fun/cheap/free lifestyle…it's all about balance. Being frugal is a lot like losing weight and maintaining weight loss. You might need to hit the gym 3 hours a day during your dramatic “cut the fat” stage, but then over time it's all about maintaining your desired weight and living an overall healthy (and practical) lifestyle.

 Guess what? Being frugal is the exact same way.

Since we spent more than we should this weekend on dates, I am tightening my belt BIG TIME this week and cutting back on things that I normally would allow myself to spend money on. Like with losing weight – if you go out to eat on Saturday and have dessert, skip dessert and stick to salads the next few days and make up for those extra calories by eating better the rest of the week. Eat your cake, enjoy it, but don't eat it every day.

Balance, balance, balance!
Capish?
Ok…hold on, let me climb off my soap box…
ok I'm down now.
Saturday:
  • We woke up and headed out the door to a local FREE Easter Egg hunt. It was P-A-C-K-E-D! I haven't seen that many kids in one place since Disneyland, I swear!

They filled 10,000 eggs and the hunt was over by 10:04. Oh yeah, it started at 10:00. We were a few minutes late (of course) so we missed the entire thing. BIIIIIG bummer.

My son (who is 26 months old) had no idea what was going on, and had fun meeting the (random) characters who were at the hunt. I didn't know Frosty was an Easter fan! 
And the highlight of the day his whole life? Meeting Elmo. Yes, folks, he is real.
This is Hutch's “don't touch me Elmo but don't walk away from me either!” face.
The massive hunt was a bit of a disappointment so we decided to have our own fun. We met up with some friends at the mall where the kids got to play at the play place for FREE (look at me being good!), 
and they got to take pictures with the Easter Bunny for FREE (I didn't buy the pictures, even though they were pretty hilarious…).
Since our kids didn't get any eggs at the big hunt, we decided to do our own! 
Ok everyone, say it with me now…
for FREE. 
I sent a text to some neighbors with young kids that wouldn't stand a chance at a public egg hunt, and we met up to do our own hunt. It was a blast! 
The kids absolutely LOVED it. 
My friend Katie volunteered her back yard, and it was the world's perfect yard for an egg hunt. 
Us moms just grabbed whatever eggs and treats we had lying around the house and hid them in her yard just before the hunt. I hid marbles and little jewel rock thingies in mine because I was sick of my son having so much candy. Turns out they were the favorite eggs of the kids.
The big kids took off in a flash, the younger guys needed some encouragement.
Priya enjoyed eating the grass healthy treats I had preciously prepared for her, and sucking on the Easter Eggs that the big kids shared with her she stole from the big kids' baskets when they weren't looking.
Sly little girl…
Ok seriously? Are you kidding me with this back yard? I literally drool every time I drive by.
Now THAT is what I call a fun egg hunt. 
P.S…do you recognize my dress from HERE? It was $5 at Gap. Please hold your applause until the end.  
  • After the egg hunt we did our Cheesecake Factory date with friends. We walked around an AMAZING new indoor/outdoor mall in Salt Lake, “City Creek“. Holy moly it's bomb.
  • Went to bed way too late and loved it.
Sunday:
 On Sunday we went to Church. Afterwards we tried to get a photo-op. It kinda worked…?
Recognize Priya's dress from HERE? It was Christmas clearance. She looked adorable in it and I think it was the perfect Easter dress!
 P.S…just because I know you're curious…those are little eczema patches on her cheeks. They flare up once in a while, poor pretty baby! It's ok, it doesn't inhibit my sucking on them regularly. I love her chubby little cheeks…
 P.S…do you recognize these pink shoes? Got them for $5 also.
And since I'm dissecting my outfits, this dress is from when I was 19. I only paid $10 for it and it's held up like a champ.
Write this on your mirror and chant it to yourself every morning:….
Just because you pay a lot for something doesn't make it “nice”, and just because you DON'T pay much for something doesn't make it “cheap”!
 See? Doesn't that feel nice?
  • Even though it was Easter, I didn't have the energy to make a huge Easter dinner so I made my go-to Sunday Pork Chops, Stovetop stuffing (my fav!), gravy, mashed potatoes, and frozen corn (add some water, cover, microwave for 3 minutes). 

I made the gravy before realizing I didn't have any potatoes for the mashed potatoes (darn me!). I went to a box of instant mashed potatoes, made a batch…and they weren't bad! Good to know if you're ever in a bind and need a quick dinner. Start to finish the ENTIRE dinner was about 20 minutes, including setting the table.

After dinner we went on a walk. It was such a gorgeous day!
Remember to PLAY and BE ACTIVE as a family. That's the “Fun” part of living a FUN/CHEAP/FREE lifestyle. Sometimes it's hard for me to set down the dishes, leave a mess, shut down the computer, pause my show, or whatever I feel that I need to do to GET ON THE FLOOR with my kids or go on a walk with my family. Get up, get out, have fun!
I dropped the dishes mid-scrub and went outside with my family…apron and all. Of course I had to bring along our leftover Cheesecake Factory cheesecake for the walk 😉
Work it, babaaaay!
Like daddy like son

After our walk I was able to work on some cards and cupcakes for neighbors.

For my birthday I got a Silhouette Cameo cutting machine. It's kind of like a Cricut thingie, only you don't have to buy cartridges! You buy the machine and that's IT. It's amazing, I love it. I'll actually post more about it pretty soon.
I was able to use my new Silhouette machine to make some cute cards. Seriously, I died at how easy it was! I am so excited about it.
I used one of their bajillions of cute fonts and simply wrote “happy easter” on the document that pops up when you turn on the machine,
had the machine cut it out,

and glued it on folded card stock. Um, seriously? Done.
They give you a bunch of free shapes and I used an egg shape to top it all off. I can't wait to do vinyl lettering on my wall!….
Anyway, I paired the card with some easy and cute “nest” cupcakes. I'll show you how to do these tomorrow for Foodie Tuesday.

Needless to say, it was DEFINITELY a FCF weekend. Wheew! Now today I'm up to my eyeballs in laundry and dishes, but that's life I guess 🙂

How was YOUR weekend?