Friday, November 11, 2011

Frugal Fall Decoration

I tried to post this a couple weeks ago, but my computer just was not cooperating...

Confession time here...

I have no fall decorations in the house.  None.  So I wanted something festive.  JD has been outside hoarding, stealing, borrowing acorns form the squirrels.  So the light bulb went off.  Here's what I did...

I made a trip to the dollar tree looking for a long oval or rectangular dish but found this instead...
Even better, and it was $1!

Then I went to the kitchen drawer and found this box of candles that were a gift...

Here's an up close look at the "leafy" detail...

So then I added the candles to the dish, filled it with acorns and here is the finished product...

Total Cost: $1 for the dish. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

3 in 30 November Edition, Week 1 Update

  • Put handles on all the new kitchen cabinets and drawers. 
I have yet to start on this.  This week is a heavy with school work so I'm wanting to at least start this project on a less stressful week.
  • Join a gym or zumba each week. (Whichever I do, I want to get at least 2.5 hours of exercise each week. Last Winter I think I suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder, so I'm hoping that exercise will help that.)
I have not joined a gym or done zumba yet.  However, I am up to 1 hour 40 minutes of exercise this week.  I need to do about an hour tomorrow.   
  • Have the majority of Christmas presents bought and wrapped (Yes I am one of those who has been up late on Christmas Eve still wrapping....GUILTY=/ )
I am making headway.  Some of the girls Christmas gifts are on layaway.  I have purchased several other gifts this week. 

To sum up...I've made a little progress. But that's the point of all take baby steps to accomplish a larger goal=)  Good luck everyone and keep your eye on the prize!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

3 in 30 November Edition, Week 1

My 3 goals for this month are:

  • Put handles on all the new kitchen cabinets and drawers (there are...yep...30 of them!)
  • Join a gym or zumba each week.  (Whichever I do, I want to get at least 2.5 hours of exercise each week.  Last Winter I think I suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder, so I'm hoping that exercise will help that.)
  • Have the majority of Christmas presents bought and wrapped (Yes I am one of those who has been up late on Christmas Eve still wrapping....GUILTY=/ )
Good luck everyone! 

How to Inexpensively Pack a Shoe Box for Operation Christmas Child

A common consensus about packing a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child is that it can be costly.  Although that can be true, I'm going to show you how to pack a shoebox for about $5 a box, much less then the typical $10-$15 many people spend. 

First, you need a shoebox. These can be free from shoe departments and shoe stores.  You could possibly have an extra one hiding in the back of your closet.  If you plan to pack in bulk, it might be worth your time and money to get them HERE for a nominal fee. 

It's your preference, if you are trying to pack the box as inexpensively as possible go with a cardboard box.  Plastic shoe boxes are more expensive, at about $1 a box, but are much more durable and can be reused and repurposed.  Here is a plastic box I had already.

 Running total $0.00

So far, if you use a cardboard shoebox your running total is $0.00.
I purchased several packs of these wash clothes at JCPenney.  They were marked down to $5 and I used a $10 off $10 purchase coupon.  Got 2 packs for FREE! 
 Running total is $0.00.

These combs were purchased at Walgreens.  Although these could easily be purchased with the overage we sometimes get from coupons and register rewards, I purchased these with neither.  There are 20 in a pack and they cost $2, making each comb worth $0.10.
 Running total $0.10

 Next, we have some hair ties.  As you can see they came from the dollar section at Target.  There are 12 in a pack, making each hair tie worth $0.08.  I'm putting two in each girls box.

 Running total $0.26

The next item we love to put in the shoe boxes are...well...SHOES=)  Although flip flops are perfectly fine and take up minimal space, I prefer to give tennis shoes.  I used to give flip flops and sandals, but I decided to concentrate on finding tennis shoes and my budget is $3 a pair.  Sometimes I will go a little over, but I pretty much stick to that price point.  I like the concept of tennis shoes because they won't break like flip flops do, they last longer, and they are better made for walking the distance (and these children can walk many miles a day).  The cute pair of Dora the Explorer shoes below have a price tag of $12, but they were marked 75% off at Dollar General, making them $3 a pair.  Right on budget=)
 Running total $3.26

If you are a couponer you probably remember the $0.50 Ivory Soap coupon a couple months back.  They were priced at $1 for a 3 pack at Kroger, and since the coupon doubled it made for FREE soap.  Perfect for the shoe boxes!  The toothpaste was a free sample from Wal-Mart, but again if you coupon when was the last time you actually paid for toothpaste?  The Reach toothbrush was FREE once again at Kroger because it was $1 and I had a $1 coupon.

 Running total $3.26

I hear that the children REALLY LOVE stuffed animals.  This is normally not something we pack, but decided to this year.  I bought this cute little bunny after Easter this year.  She was marked down to $0.75.  There weren't too many left, but I was able to get a few.  Cheaper then the Dollar Store.  

Running total $4.01

The next picture came from Halloween markdowns.  We've never put a bowl in a shoe box, but these were originally 2/$1 but they were half price after Halloween making them $0.25 each.  The paddle ball and kaleidoscope were left over goodies from last year's post Halloween shopping, and cost $0.05 each.  The big bat (and yes I know, this box is for a girl, but the bat glows in the dark, which is kinda cool) was $0.08 and the ring was $0.02 after post Halloween markdowns.

Running total $4.46

 This picture is of those draw string bags (not sure the actual name for them).  But we often get these for free.  We've received free ones while at the mall one day and it was advertising The Arts for the city.  My husband brought 2 of these home race weekend and again, they were FREE=)  I thought they would be perfect for the shoe boxes.  The children can carry their goodies in them.  It can make travel a bit more convenient too!

 Running total $4.46

Does your child have a massive...uhum....small collection of McDonald's toys?  Why not put one in a shoe box?  Again, FREE=)
 Running total $4.46

School supplies are wonderful items to help fill a shoe box.  Remember that many of these are going to third world countries and an education is really the only hope of escape.  These children cherish school supplies.  August/Back-to-School is the perfect time to get some great deals.  I purchased the notebook for $0.05. the pencils were $0.05 each (if you get the basic yellow ones they are actually cheaper), and the ink pens were $0.05 for two.  Again if you area a couponer, you may remember some great coupons that made for free ink pens.  The crayons were $0.20.  

 Running total $4.86

Lastly, just as a filler I bought this bag of suckers.  They were $0.98, which equals out to a little over $0.01 each, $0.013 to be exact.  Throw 10 suckers in.  Cost is 0.13.

  Running total $4.99

So there you have it....a packed shoe box for under $5!  With a little bit of preparation and thought, you can pack a great shoe box "on the cheap!"  Don't forget to incorporate these ideas anytime in your community too!  Some places/people who could use items similar to this are:

-students in need

-the homeless

-battered women's shelter

-foster homes

-local children's hospitals

Please refer to Samaritans Purse for guidelines of what are acceptable items to pack.  Thanks for reading and please leave you comments below and share any other ideas.  I'd love to hear them ALL=)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Looks yummy huh??
Here's the recipe...
1-1/2 cups water
3 cups low-fat or fat-free milk
3/4 cup canned pumpkin(puree)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Whipped cream and ground nutmeg
How to Make Pumpkin Spice Latte:Place ground coffee in the filter of a drip coffee maker.Add water and brew the coffee.While the coffee brews, combine in a large saucepan the milk, pumpkin, brown sugar and spices.Cook and stir over medium heat until steaming.Divide coffee into five mugs. ( I thought this was too little coffee, so I divided it among two. I like my cups of java BIG!)
Pour in pumpkin mixture.
Top with whipped cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or pumpkin spice

Sunday, January 30, 2011

January 3 in 30 (Big Massive FAIL!!!) & other news

Yes that is right folks, I did not accomplish all my goals for January=(  I did pay off a debt (woot! woot!).  The closets have come along, but are not completely in order. (Do I get brownie points for progress made?)  And as for the 10 lbs in the month of January??  I haven't weighed myself in 2 weeks, but the weight is slow to come off=(  I've had some blood work done to determine why I'm so tired and slow to loose weight.  So far everything seems okay, but my Vit. D is low so the doctor put me on 5000 IU a day.  Hopefully that helps give me some energy, which in turn will help me loose weight *fingers crossed.*

On to other news...

Makayla took a trip to the endocrinologist for the first time this past week.  We now have a plan to keep her blood sugar stable, and hopefully all these sick episodes will subside.  That also reminds me, she was hospitalized a little over a week ago.  It appears as if she had pneumonia, but the next day she woke up, took off her oxygen, and just seemed perfectly happy!  We only had to stay one night (thank God).  This was our first overnight stay since "the incident" back in September...

One more thing that I wanted to touch on....we've had some scary episodes with Makayla.  I also read Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman (Fabulous book!  Highly Recommend!).  Plus I watched an episode of Oprah where these parents lost all three of their children in a car accident.  With all this, on top of the doctor this week asking the life expectancy of Makayla with her Chromosome condition, it got me thinking...thoughts that...I don''re there=( 

So I read in a magazine a suggestion to keep a one sentence journal.  Everyday just write a sentence about something from that day.  It is "time manageable" with my busy life.  So I purchased a very pretty journal yesterday at TJ Maxx and began.  But I am writing one sentence for each of my kids.  Some days they may be combined depending on what happened that day.  I don't want to miss a thing, and I don't ever want to get to the place where I forget "the little things."  As time allows me, I think I will also write a sentence for myself as encouragement on days in which I need it. 

So, now that February is about to begin, what are my goals for this month?  I will be thinking about those tonight and hopefully get my post up tomorrow, if not then by Friday.  Everyone have a fabulous week!  Until we meet again...

Friday, January 7, 2011

January Week 1 Update

I am progressing well with my goals.  Recap of goals & progress:

Lose 10 lbs this month Today's weigh-in I am down 2.4 lbs

Pay off one debt Accomplished!  We paid off a $750 debt before interest started accruing!

Organize master bedroom closets Sadly, I have yet to begin this task.  I am hoping to start today with before and after pics for your viewing pleasure;)

I can't wait to see what I have accomplished by next Friday!  If you haven't joined the challenge yet, what are you waiting for?  Join in=)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

3 in 30 (January)

So here goes my first post of the new year...did you set any goals of make any "resolutions?"  I think the concept of 3 goals in 30 days and linking up every week to check accountability is a fabulous idea!  You should do the same=o)  The normal areas I like to work on every year when January 1st rolls around are health, organization, finances, and spiritual. 

The health is a non-negotiable area.  I have to change some things.  I went to doctor last week because I have gained....hating to tell you....16 lbs in less then 3 months:-o...yeah I know...eeek!  I've had such a lack of energy and it has really messed with my body lately.  So after some tests my sugar was up.  This scares me.  I hate the thought of one day being diabetic.  I was close to gestational diabetes with my last pregnancy and have dismissed any possibility of ever developing the condition.  Well now it's staring me in the face, so yes, somethings have to change. 

Having said that, here are my 3 goals for January:

Lose 10 lbs this month (that's 2.5 lbs a week).
Pay off 1 debt.
Organize the master bedroom closets.

So there you have it folks, I truly believe all three goals are very do-able.  Check in with you on Friday for an update, or maybe we shall meet sooner;)