Let the Good Times Roll! Family-Friendly Mardi Gras Ideas

Aside from the crazy debauchery of New Orleans’ Bourbon Street, celebrating Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) can actually be very family friendly and fun! We’ve got a bunch of festive ideas that both kids and adults will enjoy.

mardi gras king cakePhoto credit: Allrecipes.com

  • Start the day with sweet beignets. These sugar dusted pastries are are the official state doughnut of Louisiana (yes, apparently they have a state doughnut!) and a popular dessert served during Mardi Gras. Try this recipe from Bobby Flay.
  • Create your own carnival masks. Traditionally, colorful masks were worn to protect the identity of revelers engaging in the festivities. Today, masks and long beaded necklaces are staples at most every Mardi Gras celebration. Check out these DIY instructions for masks.
  • Parlez-vous français? Mardi Gras might be a good time to teach your kids a few common French words and phrases. Here’s a free online pronunciation guide to get you started, and as they say in the Big Easy — “Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler” (Let the Good Times Roll)!
  • Savor some classic jambalaya. The spicy dish of rice, meat and seafood is a favorite during Mardi Gras. Not to mention it’s a one pot meal, so easy clean up! Try this Cajun-style recipe from Emeril Lagasse.
  • Listen to some smooth jazz. It’ll feel just like you’re in the French Quarter if you throw on a few jazz tunes by greats like Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino, Wynton Marsalis and Harry Connick, Jr. Sit back and the enjoy the sounds of NOLA.
  • All hail the king cake. Purple for justice, green for faith and gold for power, the tri-colored king cake is another Mardi Gras favorite. Whoever finds the token (typically a plastic baby) baked inside is crowned king or queen of the party. Try this king cake recipe for your family and friends!

For even more easy, affordable and crafty ideas, visit us on Pinterest!

SAVINGS TIP: For all of your party needs, visit Save On Everything for coupons, discounts and deals at your favorite local craft shops, grocery stores and more!

Do you celebrate Mardi Gras with your family? Share your family-friendly party tips by leaving a comment below!

12 Award-Winning Ideas for Your Oscars Viewing Party

The 86th Academy Awards show airs Sunday, March 2, but you don’t need a Hollywood budget to celebrate your favorite movies with family and friends! Here are 12 award-winning ideas for hosting your own Oscar-worthy viewing party.

oscars viewing party ideas

  1. Themed invitations, like these VIP Admission Tickets, can be downloaded online for free.
  2. Who will win Best Picture? Best Actress? Beset Director? Ask guests to vote on these Free Printable Academy Awards Ballots, then tally up the scores to find out who predicted the most winners.
  3. Create your own decorative Oscars Marquee with just a few items from the craft store.
  4. Your guests may not be walking the red carpet, but you can make your own E! Style Mani Cam.
  5. Avoid having to wash and re-wash glasses all night by handing out Sparkly Drink Tags to each of your guests.
  6. Serving movie snacks like popcorn is a given, but do so creatively in a DIY Ticket Roll Bowl.
  7. Swanky Franks in tuxedo napkins and bowties are sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
  8. Delicious Awards Night Sugar Cookies will add pizzazz to the dessert options.
  9. Homemade Tortilla Chips & Dip may be the stars of the evening, and the snack table.
  10. Use bow ties and buttons to dress up Luxe Tux Champagne Glasses.
  11. Walk of Fame Brownies will get a standing ovation from the crowd.
  12. A blockbuster way to end the evening, these sweet Tuxedo Cake Pops.

For even more cute and crafty party ideas, visit us on Pinterest!

SAVINGS TIP: For all of your party needs, visit Save On Everything for coupons, discounts and deals at your favorite local craft shops, grocery stores and more!

Will you be watching the Academy Awards with friends and family? Share your frugal party tips in the comments below!

Home Hacks for Saving Money During the Winter

It’s officially STILL winter — and a particularly unforgiving one at that. It’s no wonder that everyone is hurriedly scurrying to home improvement stores to grab the latest must have home fixer-uppers. Whether it’s a faulty door, window or chimney, when weather like this hits, homes in typically warmer climates can be the most severely affected casualties.

funny pig power stripPhoto credit: DigsDigs

To save yourself time, money and the chill factor of running out last minute, here are a few tips on how to be prepared and safeguard your home before the next polar vortex.

PROBLEM #1: Your power and electricity are working overtime in the cold winter months.

SOLUTION: Power strips. It’s freezing outside, so of course you’re using up more energy all over the house! Power strips will actually conserve energy when you plug your electronics into them, saving you money, and, not to mention, saving your behind if there ever is a power surge.

PROBLEM #2: Drafty windows and doors. 15-35% of heat loss during winter can be attributed to this issue.

SOLUTION: Having spray foam on hand is a good idea, and probably the cheapest way to fix this. Installing storm windows (which have benefits in the warmer months as well) may be more expensive, but if you get them from a reliable source and install them properly, you’ll save money in the long run. Also make sure to close all outside vents before the big chill comes through.

PROBLEM #3: Frozen pipes.

SOLUTION: Wrap all unheated pipes in a heat conduit. Pipe wraps, foam insulation or heating tape should be applied to pipes in crawl spaces, garages and, especially, outside. Disconnect all hoses from outside spigots, and keep your hot water flowing to a drip in all faucets.

SAVINGS TIP: Home supplies can often be found on the cheap at places like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores. These stores carry donated and gently used home supplies at a fraction of retail prices. Be sure to also browse Save On Everything’s Home Services Coupons for deals and discounts on supplies and contractors in your area.

Stay warm, and if you know of any tricks we haven’t already covered here, be sure to leave a comment below!