Thursday, January 31, 2013

January Clothing Budget Recap

This month I spent most of my budget on basics! Nothing too exciting, but I did get some pretty good deals and replaced some items that I needed. I kept track of everything, but most of this month came out of a $100 gift card I won last month and my Christmas money.

January Budget

Not everything is pictured above, but here is the breakdown:
  • Bracelet and socks at Target: $2.11
  • Relic wallet from Kohl's (pictured): $4.70
  • Flannel from Kohl's: $3.35
  • 4 Merona t-shirts from Target (2 long sleeve, 2 short sleeve) (pictured): $21.30
  • 2 Long sleeve t-shirts and 1 pair fleece lined leggings from Meijer: $10.44
  • Leopard and purple shoes from Payless (pictured): $6.93
  • Istoner gloves from Penney's (pictured): $0.55 after GC
  • Fiona Moving Comfort sports bra from (pictured): $14.99 (reg. $46.00!! - These are what I use for running and they are wonderful!)
  • Boring necessities from Kohl's: $22.35
January Total: $86.73

My monthly goal out of our normal budget is $50. Since all but about $12 came out of gift money, I am pleased with this month's total.

I have a "wardrobe wish list" that has items I am looking for to fill in gaps in my wardrobe. I am thinking I may take a portion of each month's clothing budget to purchase one item per month to try and fill in the gaps. Hopefully, next week, I'll post Part 1 of the wish list!

I'm linking up with Franish and other budgeting bloggers!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What I Wore: Winter

It's been a funny winter around here...lots of up and down! This week I have one work look and one casual look. Notice the snow in the first pictures...and that it is gone in the second set. :)

Shirt & Boots: Target, Trouser Jeans: Worthington (GW), Scarf & Cardigan: Kohl's

Bracelet: Target

Earrings: Avon
Jeans: Mossimo (GW), Shirt: Meijer, Scarf: Kohl's, Shoes: Payless

I learned a new way to tie my scarf!! Here's the woven scarf knot tutorial from Sidewalk Ready.

Purple shoes were only $1.50 after BOGO at Payless!

What's the weather like where you are? How is it impacting your daily style?

I'm linking up!

pleated poppy

Monday, January 28, 2013

Book Review: Bible Stories That End With a Hug!

I am a children's librarian and I love children's books! I was thrilled to receive a copy of a children's book Bible Stories That End With a Hug to review. My daughter and I have spent some time reading this book and I also plan to use it with the young children I teach in the church nursery and Sunday School.

The book contains 75 Bible stories. Each story encompasses 2 pages. Each story includes a Bible reading, verse, explanation, and an example of how this can be applied to a child's life. On the far right side of each story, there is a chance for the reader to hug the child he or she is reading with!

The illustrations in the book are soft and sweet. The Bible reading is a longer selection that could be included before it is read to the child, especially if the child is older. I think the explanations and applications are great for young children. When I received this book, I thought it might be a little too young for my daughter who is 5, but we both have really enjoyed it. I think it would work well for a variety of ages, especially if the reader includes additional Bible verses

The hug part is a lot of fun as well. We both look forward to it! This book would be a wonderful way to begin simple devotions with young children.

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale House for review. All opinions are my own.

Fun Mail!

One is a book for me to read and review...and the other is a fun item I am giving away next week!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Best Bargain of the Week: Accessories

I found a couple of fun bargains today while out shopping! I got two new pairs of shoes from Payless - a pair of leopard bow flats and some cute purple tennis shoes. With the Payless buy one, get one for 50% off deal, both pairs came to just under $7. I also needed some new gloves. I found these Isotoner gloves at Penney's for $5 and had a small amount on a gift card to use up. Total cost: $0.55.

Did you find any great deals this week?  Link up or leave me a comment!

I've also been thinking about doing a blog button exchange for the next couple of months. If you are interested, please send an email to the address in my profile. Thank you! :) Looking forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Valentine Decor

Normally, I don't decorate too much for Valentine's Day, but my little girl has been asking to decorate, so over the long weekend, I got a few supplies to make a few pretty Valentine decorations.

First up is this canvas with fabric hearts. I saw the idea originally at Quilt Story. It cost about $3.50 in supplies for the canvas, paint, and foam brushes. I already had Mod Podge and lots of fabric! Anna and her daddy painted the canvas and arranged and glued the hearts.

Next up is this cute mason jar. Amy from MomAdvice linked to the idea here in her article talking about using Goodwill finds to decorate. I used a spaghetti sauce jar that I kept because it had a really cute shape, a paper doily, a felt heart, and some red and white baker's twine. We are using it to hold a candle.

Here is our tulle wreath. I used 3 spools of tulle (15 yards on each spool, $1.50 or so each after coupon) and a foam wreath form ($3). I cut each piece of tulle at around 16" and tied each one on the wreath form. 

I don't have a picture of our last project, but Anna really wanted to make a paper chain. So we made a heart shaped paper chain and it is on her miniature pink tinsel Christmas tree in her room.

Here's a photo of the whole Valentine display - it is on the top of a large wooden filing cabinet we have. I found the bird houses at a garage sale and leave those up year round. I also love the little silver owl - it was an after Christmas clearance purchase at Target.

We might do a few more Valentine projects, but this will be most of it. We had a lot of fun and it used up some supplies we had on hand!

How much decorating do you do for Valentine's Day? Any favorite ideas?

I'm linking up!

Skip To My Lou

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What I Wore: Cozy

Plaid Shirt - Sonoma ($3.50), Cardigan - Sonoma ($10), Cords - LOFT (GW, $5),
Cowl - Marie's Crochet Corner (Etsy $15), Earrings - Avon ($4.50) Boots - Target ($9) Total: $47
Last week, Mandy at This Girl's Life gave a little background about why she does "What I Wore" posts. I thought I might do something similar this week. Around 2 years ago, I was really dissatisfied with my wardrobe. I had a terrible time getting ready in the morning, to the point where I would take 20-25 minutes and end up calling my husband in tears. This was a terrible way to start my day and with a 3 year old at that time, it made everything more stressful.  I resolved to take care of this problem. It was sapping me of energy and confidence and left me feeling really discouraged. I had always enjoyed clothes, so  this was definitely not like me. I really think the transition and difficulty started after I became a mom.

I started reading lots of blogs about wardrobes and creating outfits. I also started figuring out my style and what types of clothing worked for my life - a combination of working outside the home and taking care of my daughter. I cleaned out and got rid of lots of clothes - all the things that weren't working, weren't quite right, etc. It was hard to do and I felt bad, but it was so much better to be left with a few good choices than a bunch of not good choices.

I also found that I didn't have a good foundation of basic items, so I've been working at building a wardrobe full of mix and match core pieces. I keep a running list of pieces I am looking for and try hard to stick with it. I've also discovered the magic of accessories! So for me, participating in What I Wore on a regular basis serves several purposes for me -

1. It holds me accountable and gives me motivation to keep putting together fun new outfits.
2. I love getting inspiration from others and look forward to reading the other link ups each week.
3. I strive to put together modest outfits that are still cute and put together on a budget!
4. It's enjoyable and I like to be creative in this way!

That's why I participate! If you blog about your outfits, do you have a specific reason or reasons why? I'd love to hear; leave me a comment!

I'm linking up to What I Wore Wednesday at The Pleated Poppy!

pleated poppy

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Book Review: Fixing My Eyes on Jesus

A few weeks ago, I was excited to receive a copy of Fixing My Eyes on Jesus: Daily Moments in His Word, a devotional book written by Anne Graham Lotz. The book includes 366 daily devotions. Each devotion begins with 1-2 Bible verses and is accompanied by a short 2-4 paragraph explanation. The explanations themselves sometimes include references to other verses. The devotions combine the author's life experiences with practical applications and things to think about. Also, the beginning of each month has a different brief excerpt from Streams in the Desert.

These devotions are the perfect length to start each day. They would also be great as a family devotion at dinner time or at the end of the day. Each devotion is challenging and encourages the reader to do something or consider something that allows him or her to focus more on Jesus. We are encouraged to share more about Jesus, read the Bible to learn more about him, lean on His promises, and pray.

This is a great devotional book. The devotions are Biblically based and encourage the reader to really learn more about and rely more on Jesus. They are short, but full of a great deal of thought-provoking ideas. It is a lovely book that would make a wonderful gift as well.

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.

What devotional book are you reading right now?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Avon Makeup Maven Prize Box #1

A couple months ago, I entered the Avon Makeup Maven contest. I was thrilled to find out I won for my Avon district. As my prize, I get 5 different Avon color product boxes. My first one arrived this week and it is awesome!

I got 3 nail polishes, including 2 of the new Speed Dry colors (love the Turquoise Pop!), a clear Glazewear, 2 full size lipsticks, including one of the new Totally Kissable shades, mascara, eyeliner, Magix face perfector (awesome product, one of my faves!), eye makeup remover, and lots of samples.

My daughter and I had a ball playing around with some new shades and now I have some fun products to try and to share with my customers! :)

Do you have a favorite makeup line? Any products that you love? Leave me a comment!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Blog Fun: Pinterest Hover Button

I just added something fun to the blog! If you hold your mouse over any of the images on this blog, you'll see the red Pinterest logo pop up! Just click on the red logo to pin any image here to Pinterest!

If you'd like a Pinterest hover button for your blog, check out the super easy step-by-step instructions here at Classroom Freebies. Charity's blogs are absolutely amazing - a treasure trove of resources for teaching activities. I actually know Charity in real life and used to teach with her, so that is extra fun.

Hope you enjoy the tutorial and happy Pinning!

On My Bookshelf: January

I used to post what I was reading once in awhile and I'd like to start doing this again. I read a lot as a hobby and for my job, so I am almost always reading something! I have made some reading goals this year including reading more nonfiction and reading lots of children's books!

Today I've got one Teen title and a nonfiction title!

First up is Son by Lois Lowry. When I was in college studying education, The Giver was a big book at the time. I've read all three books in the series so far, so I have to read the conclusion. I am really enjoying it so far. It has been a quick read and I am looking forward to finding out what happens to all these characters. As a disclaimer, I personally think this book is more Teen than Tween (9-12) and it would be one I would definitely want to discuss along with my child while she was reading it - it certainly addresses some tough issues!

Next up is You're Already Amazing by Holley Gerth. I'm only about 2 chapters into this one, but it is already so encouraging. It emphasizes the fact that we are all created by God with unique strengths and weaknesses to fulfill a specific purpose. Instead of comparing ourselves, we need to embrace our uniqueness - we are made just the way God wanted us to be!

*Please note, some links above are affiliate links.

What are you reading? Leave me a comment!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January Giveaway

We're being featured today at happy days as well as some other fabulous shops! We've got a coupon code over there good in the shop until the end of the month, plus we're giving away your choice of a coffee cozy and a $5 Starbucks gift card.

Stop over to Hannah's blog and leave a comment to be entered. I think you'll enjoy happy days, too. She and her blog are wonderful - such a sweet spirit and heart for the Lord. She also makes some lovely little goodies in her shop. This owl necklace is one of my favorites! Can you tell I love owls??

What I Wore: Style on a Budget

If you've read here before, you know I am all about finding good deals! I thought it would be fun to break down the cost on some of my outfits, just to show that it is possible to put together outfits on the cheap!

The two outfits I wore this week definitely fit the bill!

Please excuse the goofy expression and not great light. ;)
This outfit is mostly from Kohl's! Chambray shirt: Kohl's ($8.80 purchased with gift card last year), Green skirt: Kohl's ($3.20 on clearance), Boots: Target ($8.75), Necklace: JCPenney ($2), Earrings: Target ($3), Bracelet: Gift

Total cost for this outfit: $25.75, not including the bracelet and tights

Here's another outfit that is a mix of clearance and thrifted finds.

Skinny jeans: Goodwill, DKNY ($5), Plaid shirt: Kohl's ($3), Mustard Flats: Target ($6), Earrings and Bracelet: Avon ($8 or so - these are old!), Vest: Gift

Total cost: Around $22 not including the vest and the tank I am wearing under the flannel

Both outfits were under $30 each! Target and Kohl's are a couple of my favorites for finding good deals. Target is awesome for finding accessories and shoes for a great price. I am not finding as much at Goodwill these days, but that is because I am being much more particular about what I buy and my list is definitely smaller. Both pairs of skinny jeans I wear regularly are from Goodwill as well as several other items.

I'm hoping to share some more "style on a budget" posts in the future, with a few other tips that work for me, but I'd love to hear about some of your "go-to" places for getting stylish pieces for a great price!

I'm linking up to The Pleated Poppy!

pleated poppy

Monday, January 14, 2013


Here's this afternoon's little to-do list. On the docket? Organizing closets, folding laundry, some Etsy shop work, and making biscuits for dinner.

What are you up to this Monday afternoon??

Kitchen Organization

Well, I didn't make it in time to enter the Week #2 organizing challenge, but I did complete this week's task. I decided to tackle the mess of recipes that you see above. :) At first, I wanted to buy a new binder or system or something to make this pile of papers pretty. I couldn't find what I wanted, so I came home to look around on Pinterest and to see what supplies I already had.

I found some fabulous inspiration at Prudent Baby and I Heart Organizing and ended up using a printable I found at Wild Olive.

Here's what I did and the supplies I used. I found a nice view binder (1 1/2", I believe) that I already had. I sorted through all the recipes I had, cut them down to a smaller size, and sorted them into categories. I had a ton of sheet protectors left over from creating different projects during undergrad and grad school that I had been saving for...something. This was the project! I also had some nice dividers that had pockets attached. I put all the recipes into sheet protectors, then placed them in their respective sections in the binder.

I used the dividers to create a list of all the recipes included in each section. The nice thing about this system is it will be simple to add more pages and to add the new recipes to the list in each section. I put the pocket dividers at the back of each section as a place to hold new recipes.

I finished the binder off with a piece of cute cooking themed scrapbook paper I already had, and voila! Finished! Grand total of nothing spent! I am excited to see if this works for us as well as I think it will. It was fun looking through the recipes and remembering some good ones I need to try again soon.

How do you organize your recipes?

I'm linking to Take It on Tuesday at Romance on a Dime!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My One Word and a Few Goals

I've been reading about the "My One Word" concept and decided to give it a try. So my one word for 2013 is...

I've been moving in this direction for awhile. When I told my husband what I wanted my word to be, he told me he thought it was very "me".  I guess I am looking to more intentional with my time, more purposeful about how I spend my days. I want to be intentional about as much as I can be...thoughtful about my purchases - even clothing, intentional about my online time - less mindless surfing, you get the idea! :)

I hoping this word guides my decisions this year as I look to be intentional about how I am living my life for God.

I do have a few written goals, but not too many.

  • I want to finish reading the Old Testament, since I didn't quite finish last year.
  • Read 72 books (10 nonfiction).
  • Read 175 children's books - this is a professional goal as I am a Youth Services Librarian. This includes picture books and books I use for storytime. :)
  • Work on my continuing ed that I need to complete to renew my teaching license.
We have some financial goals as well, but this is all I've really written down in terms of personal goals.

Thank you so much to Melanie at Only a Breath for making the lovely button above!

Did you choose a word for the year? I'd love to hear what it is!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What I Wore: Denim and Stripes

 Denim Jacket: Lands End,  Black Pants: Kohl's, Striped Sweater: Christopher and Banks, Scarf: Kohls, Sunglasses: Firmoo (reviewed here), Earrings: LetMeNatalya on Etsy (not longer selling), Boots: Target

Red Bracelet: Groopdealz, God's Heart Bracelet: Gift - can be found here

Sticking to some basics this week! Black and white stripes and denim, with some pops of color in the scarf, bracelet, and earrings! My husband took the photos - when I asked him to take a picture of my bracelets, he wanted to know if it was because I wanted to show you my old lady hands. :) My hands are soooo dry all winter, but it is my own fault!

I love the God's Heart bracelet. It was a gift I received from our church choir. My sweet friend Karen always goes out of her way to find the neatest gifts for all of us. I've been wearing the bracelet a lot!

Do you have any favorite wardrobe staples you're wearing a lot lately? Leave me a comment, I'm always looking for new ideas!

pleated poppy

I'm linking up to The Pleated Poppy!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Best Bargain of the Week: Stocking the Gift Closet

Sunday, Target's Christmas clearance went 90% off at our store. We were there to buy a microwave and picked up one or two clearance items as well. After seeing this blog post at the Penniless Socialite, my mom and I made a trip back there to see if we could track down some of the jewelry she found.

Here's what we got:
  • Two necklaces at $2.99 each
  • Three bracelets at $1.69 each
  • Two pouches at $1.29 each
  • Two pairs of socks at $0.29 each
  • Package of tissue paper for $0.20
  • Two Christmas baby onesies for $1.20 and $0.70 each (the girl one has a tulle skirt attached)
  •  One Arial mini stocking (not pictured) for $0.40
Grand Total: $17.80

I will keep a couple things for myself, but the pouches, onesies, socks, and some of the jewelry will go into our gift closet!

Did you find a great deal? Save some money by doing something yourself or using what you have? I'm trying something up your blog post with your best bargain of the week - or leave me a comment! Let me know if the linky works!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Small Home Living

What is it about the new year that makes me want to reorganize, remodel, and redecorate? I've written a bit about our home in the past, but I haven't shared too many overall pictures on the blog.

Our house is fairly small - right around 1100 square feet after we added on an additional bathroom and closet a few years ago. My husband bought the house a little over 10 years ago, before we even got married. For a long time, we thought we would sell and move into something larger, but around the time of the bathroom addition, we decided that we plan to stay here for awhile. Our hope is to keep paying additional principal each month as we have been over the past 10 years and get the mortgage paid off ahead of the 30 year schedule.

Having a small home means spaces must do double-duty (and triple in some cases). It also means that pretty much all the space gets used! I am constantly re-evaluating how we use our spaces and making changes as needed.

We are currently deciding what home projects we want to do this year (of course on a budget!). Our plan is to focus on the kitchen and living room this year. I've already made a few small changes to our living room which I am hoping to share in the next week or two.

I'd love to share some more if anyone is interested in seeing how we make our small home work for us. Let me know!

Do any of you live in a small space? What are your favorite tips for making the most of the space you have?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fabric Inspiration

We picked up some pretty new fabrics this morning! We think they will be perfect for car trash bags, cozies, tea wallets, and more!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year's Pretzels

In our area, it is a tradition to eat New Year's pretzels. A co-worked of mine used to make and sell these every year. He hasn't done it for awhile, but I thought it would be fun to make something similar this year with our family.

We used a slightly modified version of this bread machine soft pretzel recipe. We used white sugar instead of honey and skipped the boiling water step. They weren't exactly like the traditional New Year's pretzels, but they were delicious and fun to make! We will definitely make them again.

What New Year's traditions do you have in your area or in your family?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Office Organization

I always like to organize, but after Christmas, I am always ready to spend some time weeding through things and putting things in order. My husband was kind enough to work with me on some office organization recently. Nothing drastic, but we got rid of extra supplies, sorted through pens, and put things into containers.

Here are some before, during, and after pics:

Before - It's a small drawer and we had 3 rulers in there!

Lots of Sharpies!

It's always nice to have a kitty helper. :)

Drawer after!

New little notebook from Target Dollar Spot and I used a painted canning jar for pens and pencils.

Sharpies and my paper "inbox"

Another desk - my mom made the bin. More in the shop.

Other desk drawer.

Just some little tweaks and the office area feels much better! I'm linking up:

Organizing Homelife

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