February – 2017 – Frugal Novice
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February 2017

Sick Day Survival Kit

This post has been sponsored by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare and 20th Century Fox. All thoughts and reviews are my own.

We’ve all been there.

Your son throws up in the middle of the night. Or your daughter starts running a fever.

Sick days.

When my kids are home sick, I want them to be comforted and get plenty of rest to help them fight whatever bug it is they’re dealing with. I like to set them up on the couch (we have a sectional, and the corner spot is the coziest – and most coveted – spot, so I set them up there) with pillows and plenty of blankets. If they’re dealing with a cold, tissues and a trash can are nearby. If they’ve got a stomach bug, I give them a bucket and some clear soda to sip on and help settle their stomach.

It’s also crucial to have a plan for entertainment on sick days. I know that might sound frivolous at first – I mean, they’re sick! They should just lay on the couch quietly and rest, right?

But if you’re a parent, you know all too well the cycle that happens. They’ll start to feel a little better, and then will want to run around the house in their typical crazy fashion. Then they overdo it and feel worse than they did to begin with!

That’s why I like to have an arsenal of movies and shows to keep my kids occupied when they’re sick, so they don’t get restless and try to do more than they should. And hey, laughter is the best medicine, right?


We’re still in the midst of cold and flu season (boo!) so it’s a great time to go ahead and put together a sick day survival kit. Here are some suggestions for items to include:

  • Medicine – we keep Children’s Advil® Suspension, Grape, Children’s Robitussin® Cough & Chest Congestion, and Children’s Dimetapp® Cough & Cold on hand.
  • Entertainment – you can find great deals on movies your kids will love, and that will take their mind off of being sick. Our kids’ current fave is Ice Age: Collision Course. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard them laugh SO much at a movie before!
  • Ice pack – keep these in the freezer. If your little one is suffering a fever, wrap an ice pack in a towel for some relief from the heat.
  • Clear soda – keep small cans on hand. This is great for settling stomachs, and a little can is the perfect size so none is wasted.
  • Heating pad – if your child gets the flu, a warm (not too hot!) heating pad can help ease any aches they’re dealing with.

Find these Pfizer Pediatrics medicines at Target to stock your Sick Day Survival Kit (click the links for the Target Cartwheel coupon offers, good through February 20!):

  • Ease those aches and pains, while reducing a child’s fever fast with Children’s Advil®, a great solution for kids as young as 2 and up to 11. Children’s Advil® comes in several great-tasting flavors, including: Sugar-free Dye-free Berry, Bubble Gum, Grape, Blue Raspberry, Fruit and Dye-Free White Grape flavors. There’s also Infants’ Advil® White Grape, which provides unsurpassed fever relief among OTC pain relievers with a syringe for easy dosing for children 6-23 months.
  • Formulated just for kids, Children’s Robitussin® Cough & Chest Congestion for ages 4+) non-drowsy daytime formula helps break up chest congestion.
  • All in a great tasting grape flavor, Children’s Dimetapp® Cold & Cough tackles a child’s most bothersome stuffy and runny noses, all while working to relieve cough, for ages 6+. 

And check out these fun 20th Century Fox DVDs for the perfect entertainment option (again,click the links for the Target Cartwheel coupon offers, good through February 20!):

  • Ice Age Collision Course: Your favorite ICE AGE heroes are back and cooler than ever in this all-new animated adventure that’s mammoth-sized fun for the whole family! Now the entire herd—including Buck, Manny, Ellie, Sid and Diego—must work together on a hilarious journey filled with nonstop action and colorful new characters, in order to survive the global Scrat-tastrophe!
  • The Peanuts Movie: Dream big and laugh along with good ol’ Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the beloved Peanuts gang as you’ve never seen them before — in a brand-new feature film from the imagination of Charles M. Schulz and the creators of Ice Age. Join everyone’s favorite eternal optimist, Charlie Brown, as he embarks on a heroic quest, while his beagle pal Snoopy takes to the skies to pursue his archnemesis, the Red Baron. It’s a hilarious and heartwarming adventure that proves every underdog has his day!
  • The Sandlot: Tom Guiry plays Scotty Smalls, the shy new kid on the block who wants to join the rowdy pickup baseball team that plays every day in the neighborhood sandlot. The summer passes blissfully as Scotty learns to play ball under the wing of Benny Rodriguez (Mike Vitar), the oldest and best player, as well as Ham, Squints, Repeat and the rest of the kid-eccentrics. The skies darken, however, when Benny literally knocks the stuffing out of the team’s only baseball, a sign of impending doom, or worse, bad luck. Wanting to set things right, Scotty returns home and “borrows” his stepfather’s ball, which he promptly uses to hit his first home run, knocking the ball clear out of the sandlot into mean old Mr. Mertle (James Earl Jones)’s junkyard, home to Mertle’s legendary guard dog The Beast.


The Perfect DIY Litter Box Solution

We recently added an adorable kitten named Stone to our family. Our oldest son had been begging for a cat for months, and we pulled off a surprise of epic proportions in getting him one for Christmas. Isn’t she adorable?

My one stipulation for allowing us to get a cat was that we had to figure out a solution for the litter box. I hate the smell, and hate litter getting scattered all over the floor. We looked around on Pinterest for inspiration, and then Brian sketched out plans to make our modified ideas a reality – now Stone can use the litter box in our garage!

I thought I’d share our litter box solution in case anyone else is looking for a way to keep the smell and mess of a litter box out of the house, while still having an indoor cat.


The first step was installing a pet door between our laundry room and garage. We found this pet door that has a telescoping tunnel, so it works really well for going through interior walls. If your wall is thicker than ours, you can also purchase extensions for the tunnel for about $10. We loved this door because it has two flaps and is easy to lock.

Brian installed the door and said it was a fairly easy process. The main thing to consider is being VERY careful cutting through the drywall – you don’t want to cut a pipe or any electrical wires.

Once the door was installed he sealed the seam inside the tunnel with silicone, and ran a bead of silicone around the frame of the door both in the garage and in our laundry room.


Next we worked on building the litter box crate in the garage. We built a platform with 2×4 legs supporting it.




We had our quality assurance rep assess the sturdiness:


Next we built a frame for the walls and ceiling, and built a small door, attaching it with hinges. We weren’t too worried about aesthetics, and we don’t have tools for doing pocket holes, so we just used brackets to piece everything together.



Once the frame was built I did go ahead and paint everything out, using the trim color we have throughout our house. I wanted to make the surfaces wipeable and prevent odor from soaking into the wood. It had the added benefit of camouflaging the brackets a bit!


After I finished painting the wood, we stapled screening in. This allows air to flow into the pen, and lets us see if Stone is inside when we go to empty the litter box.





We added trim to the top of the pen so there are no sharp edges of the screening that the kids might scrape up against, and then we added a latch and lock to the door.


If you don’t have young kids you probably don’t need a lock, but we didn’t want our 4 year old to accidentally open the door and let Stone inadvertently get outside. A combination lock is easy for us to open whenever we need to access the box.

Voila! You’re all set.

Your cat(s) can access the litter box in the garage freely whenever needed, and the mess and smell stays out in your garage.