5 Things to Do with Halloween Candy

Happy November!

If you have kids, you probably have a mountain of candy from trick or treating and Halloween parties.  You could eat it all right now, or maybe you did last night, but that would be a tad gluttonous and bad for your health.  So after you’ve picked out a few pieces, what do you do with the rest of it?

1. Dentist Buyback

This was the first year that I had heard of it, and it is genius!  Simply find a participating dentist or company in your area that is offering a buyback.  The idea is that the dentist buys candy from the kids to get some of that sugar off the street and the kid benefits by getting some sweet cash instead!

Frugal Boy brought in a pound and a half of candy and the dentist gave him $5 AND a fidget spinner.  Honestly, they could have just given him the fidget spinner and he would have been tickled pink.

2. Take it to Work

I’m not a huge fan of this common practice but it is very effective in getting sugar out of your house.  The reason why I’m not a fan of it is that you’re promoting bad health habits amongst your coworkers, ya know, the people you share health insurance with.

3. Freeze It

If you want to be really frugal, throw it in the freezer and dig it out next year to hand out to trick or treaters.  If that idea is to scuzzy for you, then consider reusing it personally for easter egg hunts in the Spring.

4. Make Gingerbread Houses

The stores have been promoting Christmas since the beginning of October anyway, so why not get a head start on making gingerbread houses.  You’ll have something pretty (or sentimental if little kids are participating) and you can simply toss the whole affair when you are tired of looking at it.

5. Chuck It

It is okay to throw out junk food.  I give you my frugal permission to not feel bad about it.  If you really want, you can make your own ‘buyback’ program to sell it to your kids and have them bring their candy to you and you supply the cash to them.  Next year try to buy less and maybe call trick or treating over a bit earlier.  You don’t really need to hit every house in the neighborhood.  I try to limit how many houses we visit and usually stick to ones of people that we know.  Even keeping the list short, we still end up with a surplus of candy, so use a combination of the above methods to keep the sugar intake to a minimal.  We still have Thanksgiving and Christmas to get through so your body will thank you in the Spring if you practice some self restraint now.


Leave a comment with your favorite ways of using that mountain of Halloween candy.

Catching up on Going Ons

I am way behind on blog posts so here is a turbo catch up.

Shae’s maternity leave ended a couple of weeks ago.  It was a great taste of what early retirement could be and served to strengthen our resolve to save and be frugal to reach that goal.

Part of going back to work and leaving a baby with a sitter means pumping milk.  Under the ACA, breast pumps are covered by insurance.  Medela is the most well known brand, but Shae opted for a Spectra.  According to her it is a much better machine.

A few weeks ago I turned 30 years old.

Quite a bit of family came to celebrate and spend time with us.  We had a good time.

Shae, Frugal Boy, Frugal Girl, and I did our first camping trip.  Frugal Boy was so excited he didn’t go to sleep until 9:30.  There was a giant raccoon lurking around in the trees to the left of the tent.  Naturally at 3am when he says he has to go pee I tell him to go to the right side.  Does he listen?  Nope!

Summer is definitely here.  It has been hot and like clockwork Shae and I have had the conversation of whether or not we should get air conditioning.  It always goes something like this.

“It is so hot”

“and the kids just want to snuggle”

“ya they are total hot boxes”

“we should get air conditioning”

“no the forecast says it is going to cool off soon”

“yep, let’s just sweat it out”

And then we’ll go outside and make a slip n slide.

This summer we have a nice basement room for the first time to retreat to and even sleep in.

We have also made a couple of trips to the swimming pool.  Frugal Girl did a lot of grunting in the zero depth kiddie pool.

Mulberries are in season right now.  I have a favorite spot to go picking that is about a mile away from our house.  Frugal Boy went with me last year and is now a fairly independent picker.  I’ll have to take him blueberry picking later this summer.

Mulberries are really tasty and healthy.  They are packed full of antioxidants.  The only way to get them is to pick them yourself.  Grocery stores don’t carry them because of their limited shelf life and fragility.

We did our first family 5K.  It was a bit of an operation to load two jogging strollers into the car along with four people.

It was girls vs boys.  Frugal Boy and I did well enough to medal in my age group.

Back at work, Shae needed an adaptor for our laptop to do a presentation for the employers internal ‘shark tank’ competition.  I had Frugal Boy tag along with me to the ‘tv store’.  He was majorly disappointed that we did not buy a tv.

Finally, the library’s summer reading program is in full swing.  Frugal Boy is an avid ‘reader’ and thankfully he enjoys ‘reading’ to his little sister.

That about does it.  I still have some big gaps from earlier this year.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything that I want.

How to Refinish a Playset

About five weeks ago our neighbor gifted us their used swing set.  Their kids had grown out of it after about 12 years of enjoyment and it had gotten to the point where Frugal Boy was going over to their yard and playing on it more than their own kids were.  With the help of a few muscular neighbors and a little disassembly, we shuffled the structure across the property line and placed it in its new home.

We are incredibly grateful for such an enormous gift, because even though it looks a bit rough, Shae and I knew we could refinish it and make it look like brand new.

Here’s a view from the other side.

To make this shine again, you are going to need a few tools.

  • A 5″ orbital sander
  • 40 or 60 grit sandpaper for the sander
  • impact driver
  • hearing protection
  • safety goggles
  • respirator
  • paint brush
  • 1 gallon of solid waterproofing stain & sealer (I used Behr Premium sold at Home Depot)

Start by removing all of the hardware.  For our playset, that meant the rock holds for the climbing, the steering wheel, and the green plastic reinforcers.  Spray down all the plastic bits with the garden hose and save all the hardware in a 5 gallon bucket.

Next, put on the protective gear and sand down the entire structure using the orbital sander.  Depending on the size of your swing set this could take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days.  I spent a couple of nights working on this one.  You should see good wood underneath all the dirt, mildew, and crud after sanding.

After it is all sanded down, you’ll need to stain it.  If you don’t stain it, it’ll turn gray again within a year.

I used Behr Premium Waterproofing Stain and Sealer.  You can tint it any number of different colors at the store.

Follow the instructions on the can and apply the stain.  Even though it is advertised as 1 coat, I needed to do two coats.  The old cracked pressure treated wood is just too hard to get one coat coverage on.

After you are finished staining, reattach all of the hardware.

Tada!  It is now ready for another decade of fun, enjoyment, and the elements.  The total cost of refinishing is around $50 making this much cheaper than buying a new set.