Showing posts from March, 2009

New Tea Wallets and Dryer Balls at CJ's Craft Corner

I finally had some time to put up a few of my mom's new items on Etsy. I have given a few of her tea wallets as gifts and they have gone over well. I especially love the pansy one she just made. I also really like the color of the new rose heather dryer balls she just finished. Stop by at CJ's Craft Corner and take a look!

Do any of you have Etsy shops? What do you sell? Drop me a comment with your shop name/link so I can take a look!

Storytime Fun: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar recently celebrated its 40th birthday! Teaching Tiny Tots is devoting several weeks to Eric Carle's books and The Very Hungry Caterpillar is first! This book is one of my very favorites and I was excited to share it with my daughter for the first time.

In addition to reading the book we made this handprint butterfly. This Eric Carle Toddler Theme has some other good ideas. I also printed out a part of a wonderful Very Hungry Caterpillar Tot Pack to share with my little one. (This site has some amazing resources and activities on a wide variety of themes and books.)

What are some of your favorite activities to accompany this book?
For more ideas, visit I Am Blissfully Domestic!

Peanut Butter Cookies, Quiet Time Tubs, and More!

It's been a busy week around here, plus the little one is just getting over a cold! There have been some great articles and ideas floating around blogs lately. Here are just a few:
I saw this recipe for peanut butter cookies at Make and Takes and couldn't believe the simple ingredient list. Only 3! I had to give them a try and they are really yummy! I mixed in some peanut butter chips as well.
I found this article about quiet time tubs through Crystal's Mom of Littles blog. I love the idea for my daughter. She is 16 1/2 months old and I really think with the appropriate activities, she would enjoy having a rotating group of toys and activities each day. I found 6 qt. plastic shoe boxes at Target this evening for $1, so I bought 5 to make daily tubs. I have a list of ideas started and will have to update when I get mine completed. Do you have any great activity ideas for a young toddler?
The idea of "unplugging" for 24 hours is great. Read more about it h…

CVS and more: Week of March 22

I didn't make it to CVS the past couple of weeks, and I only saw a few things in this week's ad, but we were out and about, so I stopped in to see what I could find. I do well at CVS with simple, single transactions. I always get myself into trouble when I try to do multiple/complicated transactions. Here's what I got this morning:
1 Schick Intuition Razor2 boxes Post Trail Mix Crunch1 tube of Crest Pro-Health Enamel Care Toothpaste1 package of Reese's PB eggs (for when the hubby breaks his Lenten chocolate fast)Total oop after coupons and ECBS: $0.32!
I burned some ECB, but still have $6.49 to spend/roll on a future purchase.

We also stopped into Walgreens and got a couple of the Pledge Pet Hair sweepers and a Schick Quattro Razor.

One final deal of note: Our Meijer store had some Beech-Nut Tummy Trays Toddler Meals on sale for $0.40 each. They are regular $2.65, I think. We don't typically buy these, but for the price they are excellent for lunches or quick dinn…

Names of Jesus Easter Garland

Monica at the homespun heart is full great ideas and one of my very favorites is this names of Jesus garland. She introduced it at Christmas and showed how to make it. I made 2, one for me and one for a gift.

My mom suggested I make an Easter version and the day after I started mine, Monica put up a tutorial for the Easter names of Jesus garland. (I had trouble finding a direct link, so use this link and scroll down to March 11.) My words are slightly different on the garland I made. (Monica does a great job of explaining the order for hers.)

This time, I made 5 - one for me, one for my mom, and a few to sell at church as a fundraiser. Ours is hanging in our living room and I love that it makes the focus of Easter so clear. My mom asked me to make hers hang vertically and it looks good that way, also.

Sacrificial Hospitality

I have enjoyed reading Parenting the Tiniest of Miracles' posts on Sacrificial Hospitality. I did something like she describes for the first week of Lent, but wasn't so successful during the past two weeks. I will be thinking of something to do this week and hopefully the following weeks as well. Stop over and get some ideas!


I am so excited to be seeing some flowers! We have crocus blooming and tulips and daffodils are on their way! These pansies pictured above were recently purchased and planted in a basket to put on our front porch. For the past 5 years, a pair of house finches have built their nest in a hanging basket on our front porch. Last week, the birds started coming around again, so we needed to find a basket of something hardy to withstand very chilly night temps in our neck of the woods. Pansies fit the bill and I am so happy to have flowers in the house!

What are some of your favorite signs of spring?

Storytime Fun: Rainbow Colors

Last week, I started doing a little bit of "Tot School" with my daughter. I decided to focus on books and activities on rainbows/rainbow colors. I have found some great sites and books to use for her age group that I will be sharing over the next few weeks.

Here are the books and activities we used for last week's theme:

Cat's Colors by Jane Cabrera
Dog's Colorful Day by Emma Dodd
My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss
A Rainbow All Around Me by Sandra Pinkney and Myles Pinkney
Good Luck Bear's Special Day by Sonia Sander
What Makes a Rainbow? by Betty Ann Schwartz

We focused on the Bible Story/Verse of Noah's Ark: "God would keep his promise." Hebrews 11:11. We read a version of Noah's Ark in one of her toddler Bibles and did some Noah's Ark songs and fingerplays.

Web sites and Activities:
Young Toddler Themes - Noah
Noah's Ark
Noah's Ark Mini-Book
Wave Bottle - We made ours green.
Five Little Ladybugs CD - Song "Rainbow of Colors…

Save Money on Milk

We typically buy milk that is produced by a local dairy. It is usually more expensive than store brand milk, but we really like being able to support a local business.

Recently we noticed that the milk is quite a bit cheaper at gas stations and convenience stores in the area. Depending on the kind of milk that is purchased, the milk is $0.70 to $1.20 cheaper. If you are buying 2 gallons per week, that is a savings of $70 to $100 a year!

Have you noticed milk prices varying greatly in your area? Where do you purchase milk?

For more frugal tips, check out Frugal Friday hosted by Life as Mom!

Spring Dress

A week or two ago, I mentioned a fun new blog I'm reading called Grace Violet. I loved these dresses she made, so I went on a search for some similar fabric. We are limited to a very small JoAnn fabric (We just lost our WalMart fabric department.), so this is the fabric I found there.

I am a very inexperienced sewer and have had many failed sewing attempts. This looked so easy...I was sure I could do it.

Well, it wasn't as easy as I thought (especially since my mom suggested some "extras" to make the dress a bit nicer), but it did turn out! This morning I finished it, but I did sew the straps on backwards - seam side out! (I have some spatial processing issues!)

Here is the finished product! It even fits her!

I enjoyed this experience enough that I would like to try another dress like this for my daughter, maybe for Easter, and/or a skirt for me. Where can I find this kind of pre-gathered fabric online? I have searched and searched to no avail. Leave me a commen…

Meijer Clearance Furniture

We have been thinking of getting a TV armoire for our living room for a few months now. The little girl frequently turns the TV on and off, changes the channel, and "adjusts" the volume. We thought a TV armoire would be helpful as it would put the TV "out of sight, out of mind" so to speak as well as getting the TV a little further out of reach. We've shopped around for some armoires, but have found most to be $300.00 and up.

On Saturday morning when we were at Meijer doing our grocery shopping, I spotted a pile of boxed clearance furniture on the other side of the cash registers. Imagine my surprise when I saw this armoire from Sauder sitting in the pile. The best part was that the armoire had been marked down to $136! Now, I know this is not a garage sale or thrift store price, but it was considerably less than we had been thinking about paying.

My husband did some measuring and checking to make sure everything would fit, and after we decided it would work, he …

Super Savings Saturday: Meijer and CVS

Despite all of the fabulous deals around this week, I feel like I didn't have a lot of luck snagging many of them. My Walgreens trip this week didn't yield any Huggies diapers - the shelves were bare! I looked at Target for the Huggies wipes, and they were out, too! The first CVS I went to didn't have any of the Big G cereal, but the second one did. I spent $4.24 oop for three boxes of cereal and a tube of toothpaste and earned $7.00 in ECBs.

Meijer was a small trip this week for us. We are working on using some of the goodies from previous weeks. I love when we can make small trips and use what we already have in our stockpile. Total spent at Meijer was $33.91. Our savings was $55.09, a lot of which was from the two shirts I got for $2.00 each! Some of my favorite deals I got were the free Quaker rice cakes after coupons and the ZipLoc baggies I got for $0.25 per box. The baggies were especially sweet because each box contained a $1.00 coupon for Honey Nut Cheerios. I was …

Delicious Recipe and Random Musings

I have recently started reading the blog Grace Violet and thought this recipe for honey bars sounded yummy...and they are. It is a simple recipe, but very good. My husband loved them...said he would like them even if he hadn't given chocolate up for Lent. High praise from him, considering chocolate is his all-time favorite, no matter what.

A couple months ago, I saw this Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat featured in Lucky magazine. I rarely paint my nails, but thought it would be good to try since on the rare occasions I do paint my nails, they always get ruined. I bought it with a WalMart gift card from Christmas a couple months ago and just got around to using it. This stuff is fabulous! You paint your nails, let them dry for 2 minutes, then apply the top coat. After 30 seconds, your nails are dry to the touch. I did my nails about an hour before bed and didn't have sheet marks on my nails when I woke up!

Finally, I keep hearing great things about Swagbucks, b…

Spring Frugal Fashion Finds

I have always been a deal-hunter when it comes to clothes. Long before I started reading frugal blogs and playing the drugstore game, I loved finding great clothes on clearance. Oh no, a plain old sale wasn't good enough for me, the clothes had to be rock bottom cheap. It used to drive my grandmother crazy how I would never buy anything that wasn't really inexpensive, even when she was buying.

I am most definitely not a person who goes out and buys complete outfits. I pick up shirts here and there for $3, pants for $5, and shoes for $6. Then I incorporate my new items into my current wardrobe.

Recently, I have been finding some great deals and after reading some spring fashion posts through Boo Mama and Blissfully Domestic, I was thinking I would put up some of my favorite new items. When Kelly mentioned the possibility of a "recession fashion" Mr. Linky, I decided that I would put this post together!

So here is a new outfit from some recent clearance finds!

Pink Cardiga…

DIY Window Seat Cushion

I am no seamstress. My mom is very handy with the sewing machine, but I have very limited skills. I have successfully made curtains and pillows for our home though, so last week I decided to make a cushion to put on top of my daughter's toy box in her room. The toy box serves as a "window seat" in her bedroom. She loves to sit (or stand) and look outside in the morning when she gets up.

I had fabric (this Classic Pooh toile) left over from the curtains and quilt made for her room when she was born, so I only needed to buy foam for the cushion. I was so surprised at how much foam by the yard costs! After looking at my options, I purchased two foam chair cushions similar to these for about $4 each using my Joann Fabric coupons. The two cushions put together are about the right size. My husband measured and cut the fabric for me and last night I stitched it up. The fit isn't as tight as I would like, but I did some modifications and tightened the fabric up and tacked it …

On My Bookshelf: Blog Edition

I've added some new blogs to my reader, so I thought I'd highlight a few of the new ones on my reading list for this week. Lots of great craft and home ideas for spring!

The Inspired Room
Just looking at the beautiful photographs here is inspiring!

Make and Takes
Fun crafts for kids and other family tips at this site.

Grace Violet
So many lovely (and simple) ideas here! I picked up some fabric to try and make one of these sweet dresses.

A Soft Place to Land
Charming photographs, inspirational thoughts, and great decorating ideas can be found here!

What's on your bookshelf (real or virtual) this week?

Shopping and Saving Recap: Week of March 1

Our first stop this week was CVS. I put everything away before taking a picture, but got Carnation Instant Breakfast, Pampers diapers, Playskool diapers, Playskool wipes, and 2 bottles of Dawn dish soap. Total oop after coupons and ECBs was $4.28 and I earned $9.99 in ECBs to use on a future purchase.

We did our regular grocery shopping trip at Meijer this week and saved $38.97. This was roughly 33% savings.

I found a few goodies at WalMart this week, too. Two tops for $3 each and a pair of navy pants for $5. For the little one, I found a pair of pants for $1.24 at Target. I also got some navy butterfly ballet flats at Old Navy for $3.97.

What are your best deals from this week?Share them (and read more) at Super Savings Saturday!

Frugal Friday: Plato's Closet

I have been in the mood to go through and get rid of things lately. This week, we spent some time doing this because Easter Seals was coming to our neighborhood to pick up donations. In addition to going through clothes, I went through all of my costume jewelry. I came up with quite a bit to weed out, but wasn't sure what to do with it.

I thought about eBay, but costume jewelry is plentiful there. I remembered we have a resale shop in our area called Plato's Closet. This shop specializes in reselling teen clothing and accessories. While I am definitely not in the "teen" demographic, I decided to call and see if they buy costume jewelry - and they did!

We took the jewelry to the store. The girls working there immediately started looking at our items and told us it would be about 10 minutes before they would know what they wanted to buy. While they did this, we looked around the store. Denim was plentiful as were items from Old Navy, Gap, and American Eagle. It was well-…

Clean Swap

I participated in my first ever swap organized by the homespun heart and With All That I've Been Given. I had such a good time filling my shoebox with fun items for Amy. I hope she liked her items! Here is the swap box I received with all kinds of sweet items!

The box is a re-usable plastic shoebox! Yay! It was all wrapped up with a bow and a note. The note told what each item was for and how each related to the "clean" theme.

Here is a list of what she included:Dishtowel
Magazine (Country Home, one of my favorites!)
Polishing pads
Smudge cleaner (Lots of little fingerprints around this house!)
Tidy totes (These are the coolest mesh bags!)
Lint pads
Daisy bowl
Simmering potpourri
Lip Smackers
Pancake molds
Sunflower (I can't wait to grow this!)
Matt Maher CD (I recognized at least one track and am looking forward to listening to this CD!)I took one final picture:I can't believe how the dishtowel, pancake molds, polishing pads, and daisy plate match my stand mixer in m…

On My Bookshelf

After a few weeks without reading any particular books, I'm glad to have some new items on my bookshelf this week!

A Mile in My Flip-Flops by Melody Carlson

Perennials for Midwestern Gardens: Proven Plants for the Heartland by Anthony W. Kahtz

Country Living Storage Style by Lesley Porcelli

I also have requested Square Foot Gardening to get some ideas for a small vegetable garden this year! I've heard this book is great! Can you tell I'm ready for spring? I was also excited to get my first (free!) issue of Martha Stewart Living today.

What is on your bookshelf this week?

February Financial Recap

Photo by House of Sims'

February was a much quieter month in terms of shopping. Our end of the month saving totals were:

Coupons: $56.48
Rebates: $14.50
Sale Shopping/Coupon Savings Combined: $170.19

I think the totals are lower because I shopped less, and there were fewer fabulous sales like last month's Old Navy stock-up trip. I don't think I kept track very well, either!

As far as our 2009 financial goals, I don't feel like too much happened one way or the other. Here are the goals that we are working on this year:

1. Reduce gift spending by approximately 1/3, but not our gift giving.
We have Easter (some really great deals at Christian Book Distributors) taken care of for our daughter, plus a few other things put away for upcoming events. It is quiet for us in terms of family events and birthdays until May, June, and July so I need to be on the lookout for good things at even better prices! Our 5 year anniversary is in April, so I need to be thinking of something crea…