30 December 2010

2011 Home Management Binder re-do!

Over the last few days I think I have gone through every cupboard and drawer making sure we don't start the new year with stuff we aren't using or that doesn't fit. It feels SO good to be done with it and starting out fresh for the new year!

Decided I need to work on my Home Management Binder while I am sprucing stuff up around here and re-organizing. There are some pages that are just not relevant anymore and there are a few pages and sections I need to add to work on my goals for the year.  I don't want to rush things or make it feel like a chore because I love and use my HMB everyday!

I posted about it before HERE, but that has been almost an entire year ago! It sure doesn't feel like it has been a year!  We have been getting more and more busy around here lately and I am definitely going to need a calendar page that is big and easy to read! Tomkat Studio has free monthly printable calendar pages that are CUTE! I will for sure be using the calendars to plan when we need to start some seeds, and HOPE I can keep a few plants alive!

I said before we are working on eliminating our debt.. I am thinking of trying the envelope system and see how that works for us. Using a 0 balance budget will be a hard adjustment but I think we can make it 
work, at least try it for a few months and see how it goes. I need to make a spot in my HMB for our envelopes!

Using coupons more and matching with the ads is also one of my goals! I need to find a way to organize coupons/current ads in my HMB to save the most combining them AND not taking up a ton of space!

I'm going to do a HMB post once a week (maybe twice) until I'm done.. but supplies are a must.. and the prettier it is, the more likely I am to use it everyday the way I want to! When I make it into town again I will be looking for these things (well the ones we don't already have)

~A binder, probably a 3" one, our 2" is about to tear into 2 pieces and it's too small!
~pencil pouch 
~dry erase markers
~pens, pencils
~some cute scrapbook paper and stickers
~Page protectors
~paper.. you can print everything out, or hand write it
~folders or page divders, whichever you prefer

Things I will need to keep in it..
~pens, pencils

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27 December 2010

Planning for the new year, but shopping now!

I started a list a while ago of things I wanted to do in 2011, some things I just want to do better than I did in 2010 and others are entirely new things, not resolutions just things I can do better, like use coupons and NOT kill some plants this year! Lots of people make resolutions, they aren't for me, but I WILL take advantage of all the sales on organizational stuff the next couple of weeks!

The sales will probably have a few things I can take advantage of for my list. I do have a little organizing to do, but it's not big stuff it's all small and debt related. Reading the Dave Ramsey book gave us some great ideas and I think for my to take full advantage of it I need a few small office type organizational items and clear out what we aren't using.

Also plan on heading to the 2nd hand stores like Goodwill and St. Vincent DePaul over the next couple weeks, since it seems like some people wait until the last minute to donate and make it count on the taxes. I really enjoy 2nd hand shopping, there are always neat things I *could* use but I am sticking to my list while there and ONLY shopping for
~a food dehydrator
~Good canning supplies
~Cast Iron 
I am sure we will end up with a couple more things on the list, 
but for now those are the 3 I am really hoping to find!

We are looking for the food dehydrator and canning supplies because we really want to take advantage of the local u-pick places and whatever I can keep alive this year. 

BUT first I am going to go through all the rooms in the next couple days so I can get our last minute donations together!!

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21 December 2010

Pantry Pretties!

I had this oil cloth left over from THIS project, and I knew I wanted to use on the shelves in the pantry, but it would take a TON to wrap all the shelves (and it's not exactly cheap) Someone in blogland used the SAME oil cloth and had an AWESOME easy finish on it! I wish I remember which one of the 300+ blogs I follow it was..PLEASE let me know if it's yours!

Anyway I need more oil cloth but since the only place I've found it is almost 2 hours away, I am not making a special trip and absolutely not going before Christmas! But I do need a couple things from Ikea and my birthday is just a few days after Christmas so maybe then!

I usually clean our living room and guest bathroom on Tuesdays and do projects like this on Friday's but we are having family over Friday so I swapped the days.. should make the week more fun!
 I just used a permanent marker, a roll of wire for the shape
 turned it over
 And drew the scallops on the edge
 Then cut them out!

Ewww, this is what needed covered.. a entire bottle of vanilla leaked at some point and a bunch of boxes stuck to the paint and ripped the paint off when I cleaned it up..
 One side done, hoping the edges will fall down a little once it's been there a while, they are kinda stiff
And the other side! If I have to, I think I can hot glue the scallops down!
So 2 shelves done, about 8 more to go, but I am loving it so far and the oil cloth will be SO easy to wipe up!!
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15 December 2010

Kids Bathroom Subway Art

I shared the update we did on the kids super plain bathroom HERE a while ago.. it still isn't as finished as I would like it to be.. but I did do something to it this week that is helping!
Jen over at Tatertots and Jello does some cute subway art, I did it a little different but her ideas have sure made our kids rooms a little more fun! This is the one I did for Finnley's room a while ago.

And here are 2 of the bathroom ones, I have 1 more to do but I haven't been in to town to snag another canvas!

The colors look a little off but I picked the colors to match the rest of the stuff in the set like this..
It's got just about every color in it!

They aren't where I want them to be on the wall but I am short and can't reach so gotta wait for hubby!

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13 December 2010

Saving Money

Another way you can save money is coupons.. and especially now that there are SOO many bloggers doing all the hard work for you! It doesn't cost anything to follow these bloggers and pick and choose what your family can use as far as the groceries go! 

Some places want you to buy coupons or pay to sign up but that kind of defeats the purpose. Although there are a few times I will pay for coupons, on EBAY! But rarely, usually if I can find the "any Beef" or "any chicken" "or any cheese" then I will, and occasionally for soft drinks.  The way it works on ebay is you are bidding for a BUNCH of the same coupon, so you need to be prepared to stock up and USE the coupons so you get your money's worth! Here are some of the great couponing sites that have daily and weekly deals, for the major grocers and even some online sources.

Ok those are my most used/favorite 4! But find ones that are specific to your area too! And don't forget facebook!

Most recommend you subscribe to the paper to get some of the coupons, but if you do that and you aren't a paper reader, see if you can subscribe for just Wed. and Sunday, it's usually a discounted rate and then the coupons and weekly advertisements are delivered right to you!

Also Facebook has some GREAT exclusive coupons, become a "fan" of products you use and they notify you right on the news feed of coupons you can print right there!

Target is one of my favorite places to use coupons because they allow you to use their coupons AND manufacturer coupons.. I especially like it when they match up with their $5 gift cards they give out occasionally!

So follow one or all of these blogs and I am sure in the few minutes it will take to read this week's deals you could find some things your family uses and get a great deal on them!

I *try* to put the money we saved from coupons/sale price matching towards paying stuff off.. I hope to be better at it next year and better at couponing, yes it takes time but if it's helping us get where we want to be then it's worth the time!  If I remember maybe I will keep track of how much I can save on groceries in 2011!

What else do y'all do to save money?!

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08 December 2010

Christmas decorations 2010

Last year I found the stockings I was looking for (even if I didn't know I was looking for them!) It was Finnley's first Christmas and he didn't have a stocking and I couldn't find one to match our old ones so we got the new ones.. which then led me to stop using the more country style Christmas stuff we did have and start to look for some more whimsical stuff to match these stockings!

I took these pictures Sunday.. and I should have taken them Tuesday after I dusted! I can't believe how much dust there is after 5 days, the bad part about black furniture I guess.

I am lovin' the $1 ornaments this year, seems like all the major stores have some! I wanted to put some fake snow on here, but Finnley can reach this and I am sure he would eat it!

I made this little tree from a Goodwill topiary find and some $1 section boa from Michael's. I wish I remembered where I got the little elf shoe, also another $1 ornament. Lovin all the glitter!

oh the dust is SO bad in this one!
But the snowballs are cute, I got them at a local craft store a few years ago on clearance, the kids love them!
Glitter candle from Home Goods.

Another Goodwill topiary covered in boa!
And a full boa on the mantle, I think I use one of those for EVERY season now!
mini snowballs in a $ Tree hurricane/candlestick Pottery Barn knock off!

There is more coming once I get some batteries for the camera !

Linking up

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06 December 2010

Saving Money.. on books!

I kinda talked about this before, over a year ago and I didn't get into it too much so thought I would share another way I save money easily.

Paperbackswap is a FREE website that allows you to trade in your books for credits, you can then use your credits for books, cd's and audio books.
Here is how it works, after you sign up you need to list the books you are willing to mail to someone else (usually about $2 using media mail). It is very easy to list them, no pictures, no fee's just post the serial number on the book and determine what condition you think they are in, that's it! When someone wants your book you get notification via email, then print the mailing label and drop it off at the post office, that's it, once they receive the book you get a credit. I know it seems a little weird to pay for the shipping but you get free shipping on the ones that are sent to you, and for me it would take more than the $2 to drive into town to get to Borders and Barnes and Noble is even farther!  I am pretty sure you still get a few credits just for signing up too, I did, but I don't remember how many.  
When you "order" a book you do not pay anything to have it shipped to you either.  So if you are continuing to post the books you have finished then you continue to get credits! You can create a wish list and be notified when books on your wish list become available! They have all kinds of books available, kids books, young adult and how to books! I just ordered a Suze Orman book and added the Dave Ramsey book to my wish list.  

I love getting books/magazines in the mail, some days it is SO nice to have a new little escape from the chaos!

And the library is another great way to get books and magazines, obviously borrowing them has some pro's and con's. I take advantage of our library's magazine swap. It's free to bring magazines you are done with and take any you have an interest in. I was lucky to pick up a few Country Home Magazines a while back ( I SO miss that magazine!)  I think hubby appreciates me not filling the recycling bin with magazines too.

I'd really hate to give up reading books to stay on budget so this really helps us!

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Looking for Christmas stuff..

And it's HARD to find stuff I love!
Our stuff is non traditional, very funky and whimsical which makes finding crafts a challenge. While I was browsing for some ideas I came across these which are all VERY cute! I think I can attempt 1 of them for sure, the sewing ones, probably not so much!
This one from HERE

These stockings are more our style, luckily I found some at Home Goods Last year!

Elf stockings


This wreath is gorgeous! It doesn't really go with our Christmas stuff but I like it! Found via HGTV.com

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03 December 2010

Organizing Friday!!

I can tell you that last Friday I didn't do ANY organizing.. I did shop myself into exhaustion though!! So today (well I actually started a little yesterday) I decided to figure out another option for the toys downstairs. There are a ton of books and toys down here and the set up we had going on just wasn't working anymore!
We have been using our closet downstairs to store ALL of the seasonal stuff and it is just overfull!!

And you can't tell from this picture, but this closet goes a ways back and around the corner.. FULL of bins. YIKES!
 Made some progress yesterday during nap time

I went through all the bins, all 14 or so of them, and made sure things were in the right bins, stuff that hasn't been used in years was taken out (for a few people and Goodwill) and sorted.
Decided to put the empty bins (Christmas stuff) and the next stuff I will be using in the side part of the closet.
Then Moved the shelf to the back, the kids are little, they don't have to duck yet!

We have a little moose hook that we have had in this closet since we first moved in but it doesn't work us where it is, the kids can't reach it and the hooks are too small for the adult stuff.
I think I will move it down and back so it is at there level and I don't have to mess with it anymore!

Today I got all the books and toys back in here and the front room is SO clean, amazing what a little organizing can do to another room!

I need to get a different bin to replace the one on the bottom that is too small for all their shoes, and I think we probably won't be keeping our shoes in there anymore, that empty bucket doesn't have another job right now.

Now this should work just fine for us.. but I am already making more plans, like seeing if I can get hubby to trim out the right side of the closet and paint the inside with chalkboard paint.. I am sure he will be so thrilled about his weekend (maybe next weekend) project!
And I am going to move that hook to the left side for the kids coats and backpacks, and I already have some hooks I got on clearance at Target to replace it for our jackets and bags!

I still love that there is plenty of room for all 3 kids to get in there and get the toys out but that they can be put away and hidden when it's time to wind down for the day!
Finnley realllly likes to play in there, kinda hard to get him out sometimes!

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01 December 2010

~Saving Money~ Swag Bucks!

First I want to say sorry it has been so long, between Thanksgiving and Black Friday things were crazy, and then my amazing Grandma passed away and things have just gotten even more crazy.  I missed the blog world!

Sooooo Swag Bucks!! I talked a little about theme here, but I was still new at that point. Now I know a little more and can say that I paid for a big portion of the kids Christmas gifts with Swagbucks, yes they are E gift cards and they have to be used online, but most places have free shipping codes when you spend a certain amount, or with codes. When I first started using them I was saving for paypal cash, but those expire and cost more "Swag Bucks".  Then I started getting some Amazon.com ones, but haven't used ANY because I can't decide and don't have quite enough to qualify for free shipping so I would still be paying for part of it. After I realized my mistakes I figured Target was my best bet and I started saving my Swag Bucks for Target gift cards! I was able to earn enough for $80 worth of gift cards in just a couple months, not spending ANY money to start or enroll, and not wasting time searching for codes. I just use it instead of google to search for the sites I visit, like Facebook, Blogger, Cafemom, and Yahoo and sometimes Google. Signing up and sharing with your friends helps! When friends and family sign up through your referral you also get their searching bucks up to 1000! No selling or buying in or anything like that. Swag Bucks can do this because they offer advertising on all those pages. I am hoping to pay for ALL of Christmas and Birthday for friends and family throughout the year with Swag Bucks this year.  If you have Face Book, become a fan of their site, and also Swag Bucks Hints on Facebook. Both will give you hints when there are new codes, and when you are here, check out the Swag Widget at the bottom of this page, just click codes and see if there is one. I am not really a code searcher, there are lots of people that do that, but I didn't want earning gift cards to take away anytime I wouldn't normally spend on the computer!

And again, signing up is FREE, earning is FREE, redeeming is FREE!
You can sign up HERE!

I really hope I can get back in the swing of things and share some Christmas stuff with y'all soon!

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19 November 2010

Thanksgiving #20

I am soo bummed, I forgot to order these and now it's too late for this year. But I am still sharing because I hope I remember them for next year!! They are FAKE wishbones! It is such a cute idea, would be cute as a napkin holder or they sell them in bulk you could just scatter a few on the table!

Yay for the weekend!!

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Thanksgiving #19

~Bread Cornucopia~
These have been all over blog land lately, for good reason! They are adorable and a super neat idea!!
First saw these on Taste of Home

And since I usually think about doing things kids sized I looked for mini ones, Edible Crafts covered those! So cute too!

I really can't believe it is less than a week until Thanksgiving! I am avoiding the grocery store this weekend!!

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18 November 2010

Butterbeer Cupcakes!!

Had these been posted 1 day earlier I would have made a batch for the kids, since today is HP7 Day!!
They are excited, not for HP, but to spend the night at Grandma and Poppops!

These were shared on Squirrel Bakes today!
Aren't they adorable?! And SUCH a good idea!
Squirrel Bakes has lots of great stuff, go check her out!!
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17 November 2010

Thanksgiving #18 Pie cuteness!

Posting a day early since tomorrow is busy busy and I don't want to miss a day!
Yesterday I shared my favorite holiday dessert recipe. I think it's my favorite because I haven't really tried to make pies much.. I think they could easily be my favorite! One thing I like about them is how cute and themed you can make them without any extra ingredients! Check out all these cute different pie crusts. I think the extra effort on some of these makes a huge difference!

These 2 are from Country Living

This whole collection is from Martha Stewart!

Home Made Simple did these different leaves all on 1 pie!

I LOVE this braided one

This one is just too sweet!!

And check out these little crust cutters, with extra detail! From Williams Sanoma, they would make the cutting part much easier!

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Thanksgiving #17, White Salad Recipe

First I will say, I have NO idea why this is called salad!
My Great Grandma used to make this recipe, I made it for the first time a few weeks ago, to make sure I didn't really mess it up. I am bringing it to the family Thanksgiving get together. That's the only time we ever had it was the holidays. Kinda nervous, but the first attempt went better than I expected!

4 small boxes of lemon Jello
4 cups Boiling water
1 20oz can crushed pineapple and juice
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 8oz package of cream cheese at room temp.
3/4 C of milk
1 C chopped pecans (or walnuts)
1 8 oz container of cool whip, thawed
2 oz pimentos (which I would, and do leave out, eww)

You need a big dish, I used a 9x13 Glass baking dish and it was almost too small, you could use 2 of those or 1 and a smaller one also.

Leave the cream cheese out so it can come to room temp, and I put the cool whip and pineapple in the fridge the night before.

~Boil 4 Cups of water
~empty the 4 Jello packages into a big bowl (Pyrex or another that won't shatter from hot and cold temps)
stir until the jello is dissolved.
~Add the can of pineapple and juice
~Add lemon zest and lemon juice

~Put jello mix in the fridge until it cools but not set, you want it to stay liquid at this point
~While it is cooling, combine your room temperature cream cheese and 3/4C milk until smooth (mine took about 2 minutes in mixer at med-high speed)

~Add cream cheese mix to jello, mix well and then pour into your dish

~Refrigerate for about 30 minutes
~While it is chilling combine your pecans, pimento's (if you use them) and cool whip
~Gently fold the cool whip mixture into the jello cream cheese mixture and let refrigerate an hour

That's it! It's not terribly difficult just time between each step!

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