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Showing posts from October, 2012

Makeup Maven Video

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This is my entry for a contest for Avon reps. I'd love it if you'd take a few minutes to check it out. Thank you!! :)

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: Routines

One of the ways that I maintain some simplicity in my life is to follow some daily and weekly routines. Sure, things happen to disrupt these routines, but on an average day or week, having these routines in place help me to keep things from getting too overwhelming.
I try to start a load of wash every morning. My husband often folds a load or two when he gets up, so during the course of the day, I try to put this away. We made it a goal a couple of years ago to not let clean laundry pile up for days at a time.We have a few different tote bags that we use to load up library books that need returned, things that need to go to church, etc. I also have a church bag (which hold our choir music and anything I need for teaching Sunday School) and a work bag for the library.My mom made us a fabric bin that we have on our desk in our foyer. We keep our phone chargers, outgoing mail, and sunglasses there.I have a daily dry erase calendar hung in our living room that update and change weekly so …

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: A Day at Home

Today was one of those days that kind of felt like a snow day. We stayed in a lot of the day. I made homemade calzones and applesauce and had lots of pretty smelling candles burning. I did a lot of laundry and had time to organize and work on some little projects. I know all days can't be like this, but it was a nice change of pace after a busy weekend.
Here's a bit more reading for today: the desire for less. Some interesting and helpful comments as well. Tomorrow and Wednesday and I plan to write a little bit about the things that are working for me in terms of simplicity and what I want to keep doing going forward. 
I started my 21 days project today as well. My mom and I are going to be working hard for the next 3 weeks to get our Etsy shop all ready for Christmas! Be looking for some new goodies in the coming weeks!
I am praying for everyone in the path of this storm. Try to stay as safe and warm as possible!

Book Review: Adventures in Odyssey 90 Devotions for Kids

I really enjoy reviewing books and for the first time this month, I am reviewing a nonfiction book written for kids. Adventures in Odyssey: 90 Devotions for Kids is a devotional book for children. The devotions in the book are organized into 13 Themes: Salvation, Learning About Jesus, Discipleship, Prayer, The Bible, Exercising Faith, Forgiveness, Giving, Witnessing, Worship, Going to Church, Serving Others, and Overcoming Sin. All but the last theme has 7 devotions  - the last theme has 6 devotions and then there is an additional "bonus" devotion as well. Each devotion is only 2 pages long with a memory verse, daily challenge, and more included.
My daughter is 4 (almost 5) and we have been reading these devotions for the last couple of weeks. We worked our way through the Worship theme and have started the Prayer theme. Obviously, I have to read the devotions aloud to her, but they are a nice length even for listening. The memory verse is our favorite part - she even recit…

Fall Crafting Bundle Giveaway

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We have a little bundle of fall crafting goodies to give away this week - just because. :) The crafting bundle includes the following items: 
Large cabochon mums, chains, and bails to make 2 mum necklacesCabochon flowers and metal bookmarks to make 6 bookmarks2 small stamp padsAn assortment of 6"x6" fall themed scrapbook paper3 mini ribbon spoolsA round "hello" stampA spool of turquoise and white striped Offray ribbonAmerican Patchwork and Quilting magazine December 2012 I may tuck in a few more goodies as well. I'm trying out a Rafflecopter giveaway this time. First entry is a comment on this blog post...maybe share your favorite kind of Christmas cookie with me! Other entries include following me on Twitter, liking CJ's Craft Corner on Facebook, and tweeting about the giveaway. The giveaway will be open until Friday, November 2 at 11:59 p.m. I'll announce a giveaway winner over the weekend.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: October Purchases

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October Purchases by gracenote30


For the last 2 months, I have been tracking my fashion and beauty expenditures. This has been a way for me to pay attention to my spending and keep me accountable. Most of these purchases were made in the last few days. Above are a few of this month's purchases and here is the cost breakdown: LOFT Pink and Camel Dot Blouse: $5.26 (Final clearance in store)New Balance Running Shoes: $39.99 (6pm.com sale)Red Bracelet: $3.99 (Groopdealz)Wedge Boots: $18.26 (Target)Gold Tone Hoops: $4.60 (We sell Avon.)Green Apt. 9 Scarf: $1.47 (Purchased with Kohl's cash)Also purchases but not pictured: Avon Lipstick: $3Avon Eyeshadow Palette: $6.50Mixit Necklace: $2.10 (Penney's clearance)

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: eBook Review

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Hard to believe, but there are only 5 more days left in October! This month has been challenging and busy, but I think I've made progress on this personal journey to simplicity. Today I started reading the book Happier at Home by Gretechen Rubin. I really enjoyed her earlier book The Happiness Project. I've only read a little bit of the new book so far, but she talks about simplicity and how it means different things to different people.

My idea of simple may not reflect yours at all. Over the last few weeks, I've been trying to address areas in my own life that bother me and seem unnecessarily complicated. For you, going to Goodwill to often doesn't make your life more complicated, but it certainly can for me.

I've been thinking ahead to what's next and what changes I'd like to keep and the changes that I still need to make. That's why I am so excited to review Money Saving Mom's new eBook - 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life. I really enjoyed the…

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: Little Things

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We are halfway through this week and we only have a week left in October! This month has flown by. Tomorrow will be only 2 months until Christmas!
I finished the valances for the church nursery yesterday (yay!) and worked on a Rapunzel braid for my daughter's Halloween costume tonight. I bought the dress from Kohl's with Kohl's cash (simple and frugal, right? It cost $7.) and decided to just make her a yarn braid to clip in her hair. We will see how it turns out. ;)
We celebrated my mother in law's birthday yesterday - we made a spice cake (from a mix) and frosted it (from a can) and gave her presents and a balloon from the Dollar Tree. My daughter believes no birthday is complete with a balloon.
I have not been in Goodwill for a week now, which has resulted in getting lots more done lately, so that is a good thing. I have been thinking about ordering a couple of things online - they are not as inexpensive as Goodwill, obviously, but perhaps the cost of my time spent …

21 Days to a More Disciplined Life Ebook Launch

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Today is the day that Money Saving Mom debuts her new eBook, 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life! For 3 days, Tuesday through Thursday, the eBook is priced at only $0.99.
Crystal's blog is a wonderful resource for a wide variety of topics: frugality, recipes, online deals, organization, goal setting, and more. I am so excited to read through this eBook about self discipline. I have enjoyed Crystal's posts on the topic in the past and I think this will be a wonderful resource for many of us. 
I am planning to post a review of the eBook on Friday, but in the meantime, consider getting a copy when it is such a great deal! I think this eBook relates nicely to my 31 days topic of seeking simplicity as well. I think if I could discipline myself to cut out some of the unnecessary and focus on my true goals and desires, my life would be much simpler!
Please note, the link above is my affiliate link, but all opinions are my own.

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: Frugality and Decluttering

I came across a couple of articles today that I thought meshed well with the concept of living simply. One is this article on five mindsets that are imperative to frugal living. To me, so many things that are frugal are also simple - and simplicity is mindset #1! It's a great article.

The other article is about five tips for a clutter-free home. The tips are great reminders of how we can keep our homes tidy and, in my opinion, our lives are simpler as a result.

I'm trying to keep working toward this goal of simplicity. Today we finished up our jack-o-lantern jars and took a leaf walk. We collected leaves and put them in contact paper. Anna thought it was great and put our poster of leaves up. I also have been working on sewing valances for our church nursery. We've been working on re-decorating it since the summer and I am so ready for it to be all finished! It feels good to be making progress on some of these projects - instead of buying more stuff or starting new projec…

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: Making Changes

My apologies for missing another day of posting! I obviously haven't posted every day this month, but I have been posting with much more regularity, so in the spirit of the simplicity I am seeking this month, I won't worry too much about the days I've missed. :)
This fall is quite different than in years past for us as it is my daughter's first year of preschool. I taught her at home the past 2 years, but she really wanted to go to preschool this year and so she attends 2 mornings a week. My plan was that I have school with her at home as well to supplement. She turns 5 in a couple of weeks, so I wanted to work on some Kindergarten skills with her. (I originally went to school to be an elementary teacher and taught for 5 years before having my daughter.)
I cannot get into a good routine with teaching her at home this fall. I am hitting some of the skills and activities that I want to, but not nearly to the extent that I had planned. After talking to my husband this ev…

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: Baby Steps

I'm very tired here on this Friday night. :) It was a good week, but parts of it did seem long. I'm over halfway through this month and my journey to seeking simplicity. I know I am taking baby steps, but making progress nonetheless. So far this month, I've been really trying to figure out what is important to me and what I should scale back on or let go of.
I got rid of the goal list for the month and so far this seems to be helping me. My monthly goals were overwhelming and unrealistic. It seems like right now, focusing on short term goals is beneficial to me.
I'm scaling back on thrifting and working on using what I have in different areas of my life from craft supplies to clothes. I've been trying to say no sometimes to the Dollar Spot at Target, the daily deal sites, and online sales.
I'm OK with a store bought costume this year - it worked for us last year. I'm also happy we're doing a little family birthday party for my daughter in a couple of w…

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: Progress

I realized I missed a couple of days! I was going to write a few extra posts to make them up, but I decided this one would be fine.
I've been working on some projects; trying to finish some things I've started and hopefully be done with them for awhile. I listed a couple more Ebay items, took some things to a consignment shop, and have been photographing my wardrobe to add to this web site: Go Chic or Go Home
It has turned into a little more extensive of a project that I anticipated, but boy has it been interesting. It does pertain to simplicity as well. I don't think I have a huge wardrobe, but I do have a lot of things. I feel even more convinced than I did before that I need to stay out of Goodwill for awhile. I had already made the decision to stay out of Goodwill until November (thanks to some wise advice from Anita), but I think I should stay away even longer!
I think having my items photographed reminds me of all I do have and will hopefully help me to be creativ…

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: Simple Necklace

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I saw a cute necklace on one of the daily deal sites a couple of days ago, and it was only $7.99. It looked pretty simple, so I thought I might be able to make it myself.
Beads are 50% at Joann Fabric this week, so I decided to see if I could find something to make the necklace. For $2.50, I got a string of round orange beads. I used some grosgrain ribbon I already had on hand and voila, a necklace!
I am wondering if these might make cute Christmas presents. What do you think?

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: Taking a Break

I was so grateful to get an opportunity to really sit down and sew tonight for an uninterrupted period of time. It felt so nice to be able to complete an entire project in around 2 hours. I made a shirt for my daughter. Hopefully, I can share some photos this week.
It was windy and quite warm today. The rain held off, so I was also grateful to get a nice long run in outside. Too soon I know I will be running on the treadmill in our garage, so I really appreciated the opportunity to be outside to run.
I also got a chance on Friday to start growing my Pyrex collection. I have 4 pieces right now with more pieces coming soon. I was thrilled to find a Fiesta carafe and 2 Fiesta mugs at a garage sale on Friday as well.
Some simple joys that bring me happiness...how about you? What simple things do you enjoy?
Have a great night!

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: Being Creative

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Source: cynthia335.polyvore.com via CKR78 on Pinterest
As I have mentioned a number of times, I like to shop and I like to thrift. Over the last year and a half, some of my favorite pieces of clothing have come from Goodwill. As I have built up my wardrobe, I have become more picky about what I am looking for when shopping anywhere, including thrift stores. My current shopping wish list is fairly specific. **
As a result, it is harder to actually find what I am looking for at Goodwill. I go in around 1-2 times a week, but I have been trying to scale back a bit because it is hard to keep making the time for something that isn't yielding a lot of results right now. 
Instead, I have been trying to be more creative with what I already have in my wardrobe. I use Pinterest as a tool - as color inspiration and to give me unexpected combinations of clothing. I layer more with long sleeves under short sleeves and add lots of vests, jackets, and cardigans. I also try to pin things that ar…

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: Use What You Have

I like popcorn, and since it is a fairly healthy snack, I eat it quite a bit. Several years ago, my grandmother bought me an air popper. This air popper has withstood weekly use for several years. A few weeks ago, it stopped working and we had to get rid of it.
Instead of automatically getting a new one, I went online and tracked down a way to pop popcorn in the pan - you know, the old fashioned way. ;) It is fairly easy (especially because my hubby makes it for me) and delicious. 
I still think I'd like a new air popper, but I am hoping to "use what we have" until my birthday or Christmas when I'm hoping I will get a new one.
I have been trying to employ the "use what you have" philosophy for clothing as well lately, but that will be a separate post coming soon.
How often do you "use what you have" instead of going out and buying something new?

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: Choosing to Stay Home

Well, I missed a day yesterday, oops! :)
Yesterday, I had a few places I wanted to run, but they weren't really necessities. I wanted to get a few mums for the front of the house and I had a couple of things to drop off. My daughter really likes to stay home some afternoons, so that is what we did. We stayed home and had some school - we read a few books and did a tie in activity with one of them, then read through her Clifford fire safety lesson for October. We also did a bit of math, and then she had fun playing with her toys.
Choosing to stay home made the rest of the day a bit calmer and I felt more peaceful. I need to recognize unnecessary errands and cross them off my list.

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: Christmas Gift Giving

I was reading a magazine article about gift giving and it mentioned the idea of being completely done with all Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving. I love this idea and would like to give it a try this year. I typically buy throughout the year for Christmas and have a stash of items purchased by this point in the year. I don't have as many things purchased ahead this year, maybe because I don't go out shopping quite as much as I used to. I am trying to figure out what I need to do to get our gift giving finished by Thanksgiving (or the end of November at the latest). We do usually email our families for ideas early, but often don't get too many replies. So tell me: how do you handle Christmas gift giving? Do you try to have your shopping finished by a certain date? How do you simplify gift giving? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and advice!!

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: Easy Fall Craft

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One of the 31 days blogs I've been reading is this Homemade Holidays series at Eyes on the Source. One idea I wanted to try were these cute mason jar jack-o-lanterns. One key to their simplicity: we were able to make them without buying any supplies! The photo above is in process, of course, but we plan to add some cute paper to the top of the jar and some ribbon, too. We used construction paper and Mod Podge to make the faces.
I also want to do a bit more outdoor fall decorating. I liked this post about decorating with pumpkins. It gave ideas for decorating that cost $4-$44. 
What are you creating for fall? How do you decorate?

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: Meal Planning

I sat down to write this post last night and realized I was exhausted! I decided it could definitely wait until today, so here is the first of (hopefully) 2 posts today. :)
Over the last couple of months, we have been trying something different with our grocery shopping and meal planning. We have been trying to get the majority of what we need for 2 weeks of meals at a time and then supplementing with an extra small trip to get fruit and milk. This has definitely worked for us! We are able to simplify the grocery shopping process and go into the store fewer times.
We eat pretty much the same things for breakfast and lunch each week (oatmeal, toast, cereal, orange juice for breakfast and sandwiches, pasta, and leftovers for lunch) so the main planning is in the dinners. I usually count out how many dinners I will need to plan for a two week time frame. With meals out and dinners with family, we usually need 8-10 meals.
I use the ad and what we have in the house to get ideas of what to…

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: Be Still

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31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: Decluttering

September was a busy month: getting used to new school and dance schedules, church meetings, and more. Plus my daughter has gotten 3 colds already this fall! All this has left me feeling a bit disorganized and behind.
Today we spent some time decluttering and organizing. We went through my daughter's dresses, her dress-up clothes, her games, our CDs, Wii games, and DVDs, my fabric, and our craft supplies in general. We have a pile for Goodwill, got Amazon trade-in credit for 6 items (read more here at Money Saving Mom), put up some items on Paperback Swap and Swap a CD, a small pile to list on Ebay, and I have some destash fabric ready to photograph and list in the Etsy shop. Whew!
It felt so good to spend time doing this today. I know listing and shipping items will take a bit of time, but in this case it feels worth it. I am trying to get things cleared out and organized before my daughter's birthday and the Christmas holidays. Maintaining the space and limiting what we bri…

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: Scones and Tea

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It was rainy and cool here today. Fall has definitely arrived. Some days it is nice to bake up a nice treat to enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea.
This scone recipe is one of my favorites. It is super simple, too. I will say that I always need to add more orange juice when I make them. Today I added cinnamon chips instead of chocolate chips.
Here is the recipe, courtesy of allrecipes.com.
English Royalty Chocolate Chip Scones 1 3/4 cupsall-purpose flour1/3 cup white sugar2 teaspoons baking powder1/2 teaspoon salt5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed (I do substitute unsalted margarine.)1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips (or regular chocolate chips or cinnamon chips) 3 tablespoons orange juice  Directions Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With a pastry blender or a large fork, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crum…

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: Saying Yes

This post is short and I don't have any photos, but we painted pumpkins today. When I got home from work around lunchtime, my daughter said she wanted to decorate the pumpkins she on the way home from preschool with her granny.
So we decorated - she glued on buttons and hair and painted a mouth and cheeks and added glitter. She said she made a pumpkin version of herself. I attempted some chevron stripes and added a bit of glitter, too. She had fun; I had fun. Sure, I had other things that needed done today, but I am glad I said yes to her simple request. Hopefully, she will remember these times.

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: Simplifying the To-Do List

First of all, I just want to thank everyone that has taken the time to comment so far. I am getting some great ideas and encouragement from you!
I do want to clarify: Ebay can be a great tool for making additional money and helping to weed out the clutter from your home. We actually have made over $650 this year from selling on Ebay, Amazon, etc. So it definitely can be worth your time! I personally need to get away from thinking that when I make a thrifted purchase of a name brand item I can always resell it on Ebay if it doesn't work out. I need to be more sure of keeping and using my purchases! There are also times and seasons to let this process go as it is quite time consuming (in my opinion) to list, ship, and so on.
I want to mention the to-do list briefly today and probably more in the days ahead. I have always been a list maker. I also am a person that constantly has ideas, projects, etc. In the last few months, I have been setting monthly and weekly goals. In my case, t…

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: Readings on Simplicity

I am amazed by all of the bloggers participating in the 31 days series this year! I've picked around 10 new blogs to follow through the next month. I chose many because I think they will help me to clarify my mission and goals relating to simplicity.
One series I have already enjoyed is this one on Thoughtful Thrifting at Growing Up Gillian. She linked to a great post at the Nester about How to Cure Thrift Store Shopping. For the most part, I am a thoughtful and careful thrifter. I work off of a list and don't bring lots of random finds into my wardrobe or home. However, I know that sometimes I feel like I need to resell thrifted finds that didn't work for whatever reason. I rationalize that I can make my money back on an item by reselling on Ebay, so I should. There is an opportunity cost with this scenario...and the time and stress of listing, selling, and packaging on Ebay often takes away from simplicity in my life. I guess the solution is that I need to be even more …

31 Days of Seeking Simplicity: What Does Simplicity Look Like?

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There are magazines and books that talk about simple living and web sites, too. What does simplicity actually look like? How is it reflected in real homes and real lives? 
I did a Pinterest search on "simple living" (ah yes, Pinterest, which may actually contribute to the antithesis of simplicity) and found all sorts of results. Lovely landscapes, soothing living rooms, book titles, quotes, and more all were a part of the findings.
I do think simplicity looks different for each person. For some, it might be simple furnishings and organized surroundings. For others, it might be making items from scratch and canning and preserving others. Even these good things can cause life to become complicated - the pursuit of organization, the time and energy it takes to make items from scratch, etc. 
I am an avid organizer, list maker, and declutterer, but sometimes I get worn out from the constant pace as I never seem to come to the end of any of these tasks.
For me, the simplicity I a…