For many of us the end of the school year is coming up fast. Is there anything you do to celebrate this special time? I'd love to hear your ideas and stories. Email, and I'll post your ideas on for everyone to share.

At the very least I'd suggest taking a photo of each of the kids. In years to come it will be very special to look back on how much they grew and changed each year.

How about making a special cake? Look for lots of cute ideas at Family Fun Magazine. A fitting gift idea is a book for summer reading (start looking in those boxes of books at yard sales!) and some summer pajamas (since they'll be able to sleep in now!) Make it memorable, and present their "awards" in a silly or funny ceremony (drum roll please.)

Of course, there is no need for any hoopla, but the kids have worked hard (and so have you), and little celebrations go a long way! Send me your no-cost/low-cost ideas, and I'll be sure to share them with all our readers.

Looking for thrifty ways to show appreciation to teachers (at school, homeschool co-op, Sunday School, or elsewhere?) Skip to my Lou has a wonderful list of clever suggestions, many of them under $1.00.

How about a little learning time for Mom, now that the busy school year is winding down? On the Like Merchant Ships blog you'll find a practical five-day course called How to Live Well on Less. Lots of good suggestions there! Thinking about earning some money from home? You'll want to check out this free, three-week Work at Home 101 course from CWAHM (Christian Work at Home Moms.)

Get ready to change gears soon, and enjoy the summer!

**NEW** Star taking pictures or your weekend yard sale or thrifting treasures as we'll be starting a "Weekend Wonders" Mr. Linky on Monday. This is where you can share your special finds and great deals as well as plans for refurbishing or repurposing them.
Here is a sampling of the posts that I shared on my blog this week. 
- I reviewed The Military Wives Cookbook.
- Lisa inspires us to garden without worrying that it looks "pretty" . . . just use whatever containers you can find and provide home-grown goodness for your family.
- Yes, YOU can make yogurt at home, too! 
- Soups are inexpensive and healthy and should be eaten year-round. Learn how to make your own cream-based soups and use veggies from your garden this summer!
. . . Look for more wonderful frugal tips and inspiring articles coming your way next week!
The Weekly Recipe
We have a very special cake that I make for almost every celebration in our home. It is delicious, and you'll find yourself wanting a second piece, I promise! 
Oreo Cookie Refrigerator Cake
1 package of Oreos or Oreo-type cookies
2 sticks of butter, melted
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
16 oz. Cool Whip, thawed (it's easier to use two 8 oz. containers)
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 large chocolate pudding mix (needs 3 cups of milk)
This dessert is made in layers:
1st layer--Crush the Oreo cookies inside of a Ziploc bag, icing and all (I break mine up by pounding the bag with the side of a meat tenderizer). Melt the sticks of butter in a medium bowl using the microwave. Pour the crushed cookies into the butter and stir until well-blended. Pat the mixture into a 9 x 13 pan to make the crust. Place the pan into the fridge while making the 2nd layer.
2nd layer--In a large bowl, mix all of the softened cream cheese, 8 oz. of Cool Whip, and confectioner's sugar. Spread the mixture over the crust and place the pan back into the fridge while making the 3rd layer.  
3rd layer--Make the pudding according to the directions on the box. Pour over the cream cheese layer and spread evenly. Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour or until solid enough for the final layer.
4th layer--Spread 8 oz. Cool Whip over the chocolate pudding layer. Refrigerate for another hour or so, or you can serve immediately.
Note: You can use low-fat versions of the cookies, cream cheese, Cool Whip and milk. DO NOT use fat-free products as the layers will not gel well.
Also, from comes this yummy punch that you can serve at any party . . . I do believe that all ages will enjoy this!

8 c. water
1 (12 oz.) can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 (12 oz.) can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 (12 oz.) can frozen limeade concentrate
1 (2 liter) bottle Ginger Ale, chilled
1 pt. rainbow sherbet (or other sherbet)

Combine water, juices, and Ginger Ale.
Dump in the sherbet in scoops just before serving.
This Week's Tutorial
I found this fun tutorial on a blog called Homebody. Here is what she says:
"I heart these ceramic alphabet spheres so much! As I said originally, I don't know what it is about them. Somebody said basically the same thing in the comments, and I got thinking about it a little bit. I didn't come up with anything profound, but maybe we love letters and numbers because it's a reminder of childhood, of learning our ABCs and 123s on mommy's lap or in our cozy kindergarten room. Maybe because a mere 26 letters and 10 digits are the basis of all communication in the English language, and have formed great documents of freedom and beloved works from Shakespeare to Jane Austen to J.K. Rowling." 
The tutorial is called Having a Ball--This blogger found a unique and inexpensive way to re-create ceramic spheres originally sold at Coldwater Creek for as much as $39.50 (they are now on clearance at this link). The blogger used ping pong balls and rub-on letters, and they turned out fabulous! 
Molly's Money-Saving Digest
I'm excited to say that my May Digest is now available. We have all the usual goodies, along with a focus on education. This covers everything from fun pre-school activities you can do at home, to saving money on college costs. You don't need to be a homeschooler to find lots of useful tips in this Digest. I know you'll love this issue as much as I do.

Get Strawberry Savvy: Begin with the Basics is jam-packed with help and ideas for a scrumptious strawberry season. Find a U-pick farm near you or grow your own. You'll love the recipes too -Chocolate-dipped Strawberries, Basic Freezer Strawberry Jam, and more!
Rebecca Shares Two Unique Projects:
1. A clever storage solution for housing wrapping paper rolls is as easy as it is ingenious. 2. A simple way to rein in pesky, accumulated ribbon rolls and get some order to boot.

Goal Getter Spotlight: 1. Find out how Charlotte's family achieved their goal of cutting back on expenses in order to live on one income. 2. Tracy shares an easy, fun, visual idea her family used to keep their financial goals on track.

An Interview with Paula and Sherri, owners of Activity Bags, LLC: Two special moms built a thriving home-based business out of a simple desire to come up with fun learning activities for their preschoolers. Have you heard of Preschool Activities in a Bag yet? You've got to read their amazing story! 
Preparing for Adulthood: Barbara Frank, author of Life Prep for Homeschooled Teenagers shares the story of her daughter's decision not to attend college. You'll want to read all about how this changed her homeschool focus to one of life prep instead of college prep.
We want to hear from you. As always, we're looking for stories from readers who have met a goal of some kind through good financial stewardship and planning. Do you have any repurposed or upcycled project ideas to share? Send me your stories, and if they are selected for publication in a future Digest, you'll receive that issue free! We're working on July's Digest right now. You're in for a treat with this special issue on frugal fashion. August's featured topic is frugal decorating. Show us your stuff! We'd love to showcase your talent and ingenuity, and give you a free Digest! Email
We Want to Hear from You
We have some great topics in the works for Molly's Money-Saving Digests, and would love to include your stories and ideas. Remember, if we include your contribution in a Digest, you'll receive that issue FREE. We're always looking for "goal-getter" stories, examples of upcycled or repurposed objects, and frugal decorating ideas. Would you like a free Digest? Send me your story, and if it is featured, your Digest is FREE.

Until next week! 
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