Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Penny Pinching Party!
Jenn over at *The Thrifty Home* is hosting her very first Penny Pinching Party! I just love this idea as everyone seems to be tightening their belts these days. I love hearing what other people are doing to save money. As soon as we found out baby #2 was on the way we decided it was time for me to stay home once he arrives. So I quit my full time job and have been home for almost a year as I was put on bed rest for 2 months. We have had to really change our habits and the way we think about spending. Here are just a few ideas on what we did to ease our financial strains:

1. We got rid of cable. I thought that I would miss it, but I really haven't. Sure there are certain shows that I miss watching, but if you go to you can view almost every single TV show out there on your computer. So for nap time I sometimes catch up on my Ghost Hunters and sometimes the shows that I missed that week.

2. Comfort Level Billing. Check with your gas and electric company. Most all of them do this where your bill is the same every month. So the winter months are not so hard on the bank, it all evens out in the end.

3. Coupons! I'm not as good as some, but I enjoy getting things at a discount. I use but there are so many out there that will help.

4. Refinanced our home. In March we looked into maybe refinancing our house and it was great. It dropped our payments down a little over $100!

5. Dining In. We used to eat out at least 4 times a week, as I was working full time and didn't get off until 5:30 everyday, meals were hard to make and eat at a decent hour. So we ate out a lot! Now, I make dinner almost every single night, unless the husband cooks. We maybe eat out once or twice a month now. I thought that I would miss this too, but I haven't.

6. Make-a-Mix Cook Book! This cook book is the greatest book ever created! Its saved us so much money. I make my own spaghetti sauce, muffin mix, corn bread mix, cake mix, dressings, rolls, soups. You name it, its in here! And if you can get the ingredients on sale, it makes it so much better. Make it and freeze it. Its the best!
7. Making/repurposing clothing. I have been making my own clothes lately as we don't have the money to spend on clothes right now. I would much rather spend it on something for the kids. So I have been getting creative with my fabrics. If you can find a flat sheet in any color, that is a big piece of fabric that can be found at Ross or TJ- Maxx for dirt cheap. I have taken buttons off of coats to add to shirts. For the kids, I have made pants and shirts out of old shirts and sweats of mine. I took an old t-shirt and made it into a library bag for my daughter. Here is the tutorial.
This is a picture of my sheet shirt! (Simplicity Pattern #2646 for $2.50)
8. Trips to the library. We have not had a chance to go yet, but you can get books, movies, music, and internet! You can load a cd on your computer and load it onto your ipod, FOR FREE! They have craft books, pattern books, kid craft books. Everything! I can't wait to go soon.

9. Make my own baby food. This has saved us a ton of money! For all the little things I bought my daughter, its amazing how much we spent on the prepackaged stuff. Here is the tutorial.

10. Keep present costs down for birthdays, baby showers, bridal showers, and Christmas. This year, we are opting for an entire homemade Christmas. I am so looking forward to it! I feel there is more thought and love put into something you created for that one person. Here are a few links to my "Gifts for Under $5" series.
Those are just a few of the things you can make. The possibilities are endless! But you don't have to spend a fortune to have a great gift!

There are so many other things that can be done and I can't wait to see what everyone else is doing posting for this party! Who doesn't love saving money?!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fun Halloween Craft for Kids

Have you ever had one of those days with your kids that if you didn't do something constructive with them, they will explode? Ok, total exaggeration, but you know what I mean, a little bit of cabin fever with a hint of too much energy that they don't know what to do with it. Well, we had one of those days a few days ago. Yes it was nice out, but the wind was blowing so hard so we were inside.

This craft is from the Family Fun Magazine. I highly recommend subscribing to that magazine! They are stuffed full of ideas, it takes me a good week to get through a whole magazine because of all the ideas! I love it (and a big thank you to my mother-in-law for subscribing to it for me! THANK YOU!) So here goes. I was in a pinch and needed something fun to do STAT! Here is the link to the actual instructions on this project, but I had to tweak it a little due to not having all the supplies.

Here is what I used:

*Water Color Paints (heck no I was not using my craft paint with a 2 year old!)
*Egg Carton
*Pipe Cleaners

1. I put a plastic bag down and taped it to the counter so I didn't have huge mess on my hands.
2. I then let her paint each one, she didn't do all kinds of colors, just black. She did awesome... until she drank the paint water, then it was time for mom to step in. Ah, 2 year olds. Lol Then you just poke holes on the sides for the legs and Ta Da! Cute right?!
These would look so much better with that fake web up there. I'm totally getting some.
"So scary!" my little girl kept saying. Love it!
So there is a great little craft, in a pinch that you can do! I highly recommend as well, they have so many ideas and fun things in there for a rainy day to chase away those cabin fever days!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

We Have a Winner!!!!

First I just want to thank everyone for participating! I also want to welcome all my new followers! Hopefully, I won't disappoint in making your time here worth while.

Drum Roll Please..............
Sarah Cornett over at Sarah's Never Ending Projects
Congratulations!!!!! I'm so excited to send this to you! I'll be contacting you shortly!

Once again, thank you to everyone who stopped by and participated. Its been so fun doing this blog and I hope you will stop by again to see all the fun things (well I think they are fun) that I will be making.

Friday, September 25, 2009


*I had this set to post last night, but I must have not done it correctly as it didn't post. Sorry!!!

I am so excited I am doing the potty dance to do my very first giveaway! I was so nervous about making something for someone and not knowing if it would be received well, but I am confident that you will love it just as much as I do!
And don't forget this comes with it!

I love me a good apron and I just love this fabric and its going to be hard for me to part with it, but I will do it for one you! I'm showing the love.

**Here's How You Can Win**
*Leave A Comment! (If you don't have a Blogger account, leave your email address so I can contact you if you win!)
*Put a Link on your blog back to this Giveaway (put another comment stating that you have done this)
*Follow Me! I love seeing new people coming to see my blog!
(Those of you who commented on my "Sound Off" post, you earned entries just by showing the love back to me!!)

This giveaway will end on Sunday, Sept. 27th. So hurry up!!! I can't wait to see who wins!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Finally Fall

Don't you just love fall? I love it so much, the colors changing, the warmth to it, my birthday... well, that's more a personal reason (October 20th in case you were wondering.) One of the best parts about fall is changing your decor! This year, like so many, money is tight, so there is no room in the budget for new decor. So this year I decided to work with what I have and spice things up a bit.

This is a sign that my mother-in-law got at a garage sale a few years back, they were selling these in all different colors (pretty smart idea and they are crazy easy to make! Its just a piece of wood, painted orange, and then has stenciled letters on it. Genius!) The only thing I don't like about this is that its too orange! Something needed to be done.
Here it is after I sanded the edges and the front, then I took some watered down brown craft paint and painted all over the sign. I then took a paper towel and wiped off the extra. I love it, makes it look old!
Here it is in all its glory on top of our book shelf (when you have kids all your decor moves way up high to keep your sanity in check). Oh, and have I mentioned that I love me a good pumpkin?! All shapes, sizes, colors... LOVE THEM!!!
I did the same thing with these stackable pumpkins I got a while ago. They were just too orange and so I wanted to warm them up a bit as well. I sanded the edges and used the same technique with the watered down craft paint and rubbed it off.
Here is a close up, not a great one, but you can kind of see the distressing on the corners. I did it around every edge including the faces.
I love my window, but I just haven't decided wheat to do with it yet, so for now, I hung some berry wreaths in the center and added more berries on the top. I love berries, they just look so whimsical!

This is a vintage cabinet door that was turned into a chalk board. I love me a good chalk board, and adding a little festive word on there sets the tone nicely!
The little pumpkins on the top of the shelf were from the Dollar Store! What a find!
Once again I love me some pumpkins. I just decided to frame this one on top of our kitchen cabinets with some berries.
This is a fun craft, take a terracotta pot, flip it upside down, paint it with the yellow on the bottom and white on the top to look like a candy corn.
And this was something my mother-in-law made for me a few years ago. Just take a piece of tea stained muslin, add an appliqué on it, hand stitch words and the border and then attach it to a dish towel. This is one of my favorite decorations.
I'm not sure if I'm in love with this yet, but I took an empty picture frame and then put this "Fall Angel" over the top. What do you think?

I'm not quite done, but it doesn't take a lot of money to make your house look great. Almost all of the stuff I have was on clearance or given to me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sneak Peek!!!

First off, I want to apologize for my recent absence. I have been in the "Blog World" just not participating. Things have been a little nuts and I have not been able to accomplish much, but I am back at it!

Now here is a sneak peek of a part of my very first giveaway! I will hopefully have it finished and ready for all the Oooooo's and Ahhhhhh's by Thursday or Friday. But here is just a piece of what I am giving away!

This beauty has been made into a pin, so you can take it off and put it on a purse, a jacket, your belt, an apron, a headband... the possibilities are endless. This is my first one and I have to say, its pretty stinkin' cute! Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Best Soup Of the Season!

I am sharing this recipe from Tracy over at Wet Oatmeal Kisses I was so stinkin' excited about it, that the second I saw the recipe I sent the husband a text message to get the stuff we needed. Let me tell you, this was HEAVEN! So good, hearty and healthy... unless you do like me and make homemade cornbread with it and slather it with butter and honey. Then, not so healthy. But I figure after the day I had yesterday (which included cleaning up numerous accidents from my potty training daughter, shutting my 8 month old son's finger in the door and making him bleed, I cried longer than he did. Rescuing my sister by taking her 3 kids for about an hour, not showering, making gifts that still aren't done... it was nuts). I needed some food for my soul yesterday and here it is!!! Enjoy!!!

Famous Zucchini Soup

The real recipe with what I do in parentheses:

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (I never put this in, but you can and it is delish with it. I have put in soaked wheat to mimic the feel of hamburger and it was a success as well, but usually I never bother with any of these options and just start by sauteing the celery in a little water.)

2 C. chopped celery

6-7 C. peeled and chopped zucchini (I do 7 C and never peel it. I also just slice it, not chop it)

1 1/2 C. onions or 6 TB. dried onion

28 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 large can V-8 juice (absolutely essential – do not substitute tomato juice!)

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 tsp. oregano

1/2 tsp. basil (I always do a heaping tsp. – we love basil!)

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

2 green peppers chopped

Shredded Parmesan or mozzarella (I use Parmesan)

1. Brown hamburger
2. Add celery and cook for 10 minutes
3. Add everything else except green peppers and Parmesan and cook for 20 minutes
4. Add green peppers and cook for 5 more minutes.
5. Add cheese and serve

I cut this recipe in half as I knew I would be the only one eating it and it turned out so great! Thank you Tracy for letting me copy your recipe to my blog!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Now For Something Completely Different

Well, ladies, I'm taking a break today from my crafty posts to talk about something that has been hard for me all my life. Weight! I have always been considered the "big girl" next to my friends. My whole family is big, not only in the amount of people we have, but for the sizes that we are! Diabetes, heart disease, depression, high cholesterol, and many other bad thing run rampant in my family. I was over weight before I got pregnant with my first and it was so hard for me to get on the scale 9 months after having her and see that I weighed the same that I did one week before being induced into labor. WHAT?! How had that happened?! So I started to lose weight. I lost 27lbs in 3 months and I felt fantastic. Then I started to feel not so great. On Easter Sunday last year I started bleeding. I was having a miscarriage. It was confirmed a few days later and that doctor told me to take it easy and not exercise for about a month. So not only was I dealing with this emotional blow of going through a miscarriage, I also was not able to take my emotions to the treadmill and work it off. Then about 2 weeks after we found out we were miscarrying and had my daughter's 1st birthday, I conceived our son. When it was confirmed that I was pregnant, I was told that I needed to take it very easy as I had a 90% chance of miscarrying again. What a stressful time for me and my little family. But even though he tried to come out at 31 weeks, and I was put on bed rest for 2 months, we delivered a healthy and wonderful little man!

Now I only gained 18lbs with him, but I weighed myself the other day and I am only 8lbs under what I was at my last appointment before I delivered. WHAT AGAIN?!!! I have been working out hard all summer, but pretty much most of August and up until tonight I have had to put my exercises on hold because my kids have been sick and I just couldn't pull myself together to do it. I had lost my motivation completely. Until tonight!!!

Have you ever watched "The Biggest Loser"?!!! Let me tell you, I watched it when I lost my weight last year and it gave me such great motivation. I watched it this evening and it did the same! While I sat there, crying through the whole thing, I thought, "If they can do it, so can I!!"

I will never be skinny, plain and simple. I will never be small, I'm 5' 10 1/2" tall. I'm big no matter what I do. But like me, so many women out there struggle with their weight after having kids. All those sleepless nights, going 90 miles a minute and forgetting to eat, and when we do eat it is usually chicken nuggets in the shape of dinosaurs or a scoop of peanut butter. Mom have an up hill battle. So much is needed of us, required of us, and we put ourselves last on our list of things to take care of. Now, I'm not suggesting that we need to put us first all day everyday, but what I do want is for all of us to look at ourselves in the mirror, not at the rolls, not at the stretch marks our children so lovingly gave us (unless you are my cousin who had both her kids with no stretch marks, I think she's an alien of some kind), not at the bags under our eyes from lack of sleep or the wild hair if you haven't gotten a shower in that day. But look at what an incredible piece of your family you are. Look at how your body created the children that make us laugh and cry all in the same second. Look at what your husband sees, a woman who has given him the best gift in the world, a child, a woman who overcomes things daily, who may be terrified everyday that she is not enough, but is the most incredible woman he has ever known.

Look at your arms that hold and carry and comfort your children everyday. Look at your face the way your baby does as a source of comfort, laughter, and excitement. No, our bodies will never be the same after kids, but dang it, I'm ok with it. I am ok with my stretch marks and dark circles under my eyes. They are like battle wounds that I wear with honor... well under my clothes at least, don't want too many people seeing those. I want us to celebrate what we are and if you want to lose weight, do it, but know that the body you have now has been wonderful for your kids. It is soft and warm and can snuggle like no one else can for your kids.

So the moral of this post is:
Take pride in your body. It has been good to you and your family.

P.S. I am working on my first giveaway! I will hopefully have it ready for this weekend so stay tuned! Are you as excited as I am?!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Whatever Works!!!

As I have said before, my children have been sick for almost 2 weeks now. My daughter all of a sudden spiked a pretty high fever on Wednesday and had to go to the doctor on Thursday. She was a miserable little thing, but her grandma made her a special present.

A Pom Pom Tutu

I literally cannot keep this off of her and if I let her she would bathe, eat, and sleep with it on!
The mother-in-law got the idea and tutorial from this post over at Happy Together If you haven't gone over to Jessica's blog yet, you need to RIGHT AWAY!!! She is the most incredible mother, crafter, sewer, crocheter, pretty hair accessory maker, photographer, and all around Wonder Woman! I am pretty crafty, but this woman puts me to shame! Go on over and check her out... well, her blog, that would be weird to check her out big silly head! Wow, I need to get out of the house more often!

Friday, September 11, 2009

A few weeks ago we hosted my sister-in-laws birthday at our house. I made her the fun purse (see it here) and she received a few other purses for her birthday as well, totally a great birthday in my opinion! I followed up with that theme and made this cake. I got the email from, and here is the link for all the 31 easy cakes that they had.

Now this cake was so fun to look at, but here is my story on what happened before it looked like this:

I started frosting the cake during nap time and I have to admit that it was hot out and therefore my house was hot too. I got the handle and flowers on and it looked awesome! In the time it took me to throw away all the empty containers of frosting, to my immense horror, it FELL OVER!!!! Now it was a good thing and a bad thing that the kids were asleep. Good in the fact that they didn't hear the words that I was saying, but bad because I couldn't scream! So I thought to myself, "Self, just prop it up and fix it, it won't be that bad." I took a deep breath and propped it up. It was bad, but I could still work with it. I went to grab some more frosting (because I have a stash of it just in case I need a spoonful when things are crazy in the house) and when I came back it had fallen over THE OTHER WAY!!!! Again, I cursed at it, not that it could hear me, but because it made me feel better, then I walked away from it. I had to or I was going to throw it. I called my other sister-in-law who is the best cake decorator ever and of course she didn't answer her phone. So I left her a voicemail to come over early and help me salvage it. She called me back a little while later and said to prop it up with some cups and put it in the freezer. After it was a little harder, it was better and I made it look like it was above.

Moral of this story is to cut the cake, do one layer of frosting and promptly put it in the freezer. Then frost it again after about an hour and then it once its done and ready, put it in the freezer again and it will be fine. Pull it out a few minutes before you are ready to serve!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Holy Sheet!

Sorry, couldn't help myself. I made yet another shirt for $2.50. That was the cost of the pattern at Walmart! The pattern number is Simplicity #2646 from their "Its So Easy Its Simplicity" line. It really was easy to make, I just don't know if I'm in love with it yet.

The fabric I used was, yep you guessed it, a sheet! I had a piece of a King Sized sheet that was just lying around. That is also a great tip for finding cheap fabric. Lots of fabric for very little cost. This one still had the price tag on it for a king sheet for $10.00. The collar is from an apron I made for my mom for Mother's Day. I love it because it has red, brown, teal, orange, green and cream in it, so I can use any of those colors as the belt (which is just a piece of ribbon).

Don't forget to leave a comment on my Sound Off post for your chance to win something FABULOUS!!! What is it you might ask? Not sure yet, I'm trying out a new fun craft, an accessory and I might just make you one! Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sound Off

Alright ladies! I put this handy dandy little blog counter at the bottom of my blog because I was just sure that no one was looking at my blog, but I have been shocked in the last week or so. I have had over 300 hits on my blog in the last week and a half! I just would like to know who is reading this uber fabulous blog... ok well not so uber fabulous as of right now as I have only been blogging for a few months now, but I would love to hear from everyone! Put a comment on here to let me know you're out there! I seriously love comments and I just can't get enough of them. Maybe I'm being a little vane here, but its ok right?! I have a few ideas for a giveaway, so if I know you are out there, maybe I'll turn it into a giveaway! Yes, I'm bribing you now!

Looking forward to seeing who is on here!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Repurposed T-Shirt into a Library Bag Tutorial

After feeling like I have been swimming in a sea of "Sickies" I decided last night that I wanted to make my daughter a fun "Library Bag". It literally took me a half hour to make and I think it turned out so cute!

Here's what you need:

*Old T-Shirt (I used one with a design on it, but you totally don't have to)
*Fabric scraps (For the top of the bag and the handles)

I first cut out the size and shape of my bag by laying out my t-shirt on my cutting board. I took my razor cutter (my favorite thing, just watch your fingers) and my straight edge and cut it out. I wanted hers to be a little deeper, but not too wide. This way we can fit lots of books in all different shapes in there.

I then cut my top border the same width as my t-shirt. Mine was 12 1/2". And then I cut the straps. Not sure how long I did these, but just make them long enough that you can carry it for your child, but not too long that the bag drags on the ground when your little one carries it.

Once I had all my pieces cut I ironed my top border in half and then folded each side at a quarter of an inch in.

Then I pinned the border top to the t-shirt body (this way I only had to sew once, saved me some time).

With the straps I just folded the fabric, right sides together, and did a seam down the side. I then turned it inside out with a safety pin and ironed it flat.

After you put the border top onto your t-shirt, pin them all together, right sides together. Then just sew along the outer edges, like a pillow case.

I then stitched the straps onto the bag, getting as close to the side seams as possible and made a square around the strap.

And that's it! I did add a flower onto her bag just for a little extra frills, because can't have too much frilly things!

This was fun to do and was such a big hit with my little girl! Now once these kids are better, we will be off to the library to fill it with KNOWLEDGE!!!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Week From Heck!!!

I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm still alive. I haven't posted anything for a week now because I have been experiencing a very bad week. My daughter was up all night one night throwing up, then I was sick, then my daughter got sick again, then my son got sick... really sick. We have just been slugs as of late and I will be back in action hopefully this weekend. I have a few repurposing projects that I am working on and want to share with you all. Sorry again for my disappearance!

If you are wanting some great inspiration, head on over to A Soft Place To Land as she's having her weekly DIY Day that I can't participate in this week. But next week I am there as I am pulling out all my fall stuff and getting ready to DECORATE!!!! I know you're as excited as I am!


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