by admin on Feb 21, 2014
It has become especially stressful in recent years with the struggling economy to support a family. From the overwhelming cost of hundred of diapers to the money you need to save for their future college educations, there are so many things to consider. That is why my family focuses on saving money in as many ways as possible. Over time, we’ve really fine-tuned our savings approach and found several unique methods for cutting costs that I think could benefit any family. Below, you’ll find some of my favorite tips for saving.
Stay in the Know
It’s no hidden secret that you can clip or print coupons for your shopping trips. However, a lot of your favorite stores have deals that you’re missing out on. Many companies have started offering special deals through sms marketing. For instance, if you sign up to receive texts from Redbox you can save on entertainment for your family when they text you deals like “rent one dvd get one free” throughout the month. Signing up for text alerts can help you to avoid paying full price for things that are marked down on a regular basis.
Set Up a Babysitting Swap
Unfortunately, date nights can really add up and put a huge dent in your bank account. It’s still very important to maintain a healthy relationship with your significant other. I read all about how babysitting swaps worked for other families and we decided to try it out with some friends of ours. It’s been one of the best money-saving changes we’ve made over the years. You still get some alone time from the kids, but you don’t have to add $40 or more to your date night when you come home and pay the babysitter. Instead, you find other parents who are willing to watch your kids for the evening in exchange for you doing the same on one of their date nights. If you haven’t tried this yet, email your friends ASAP and set something up!
Master your Gardening Skills
Having a family can significantly increase the total of your grocery shopping bill each week. But, you can avoid having to purchase certain produce items if you simply learn to grow them in your own home. Starting a vegetable garden in your back yard has more benefits than just saving you money. The produce is extremely fresh and delicious and I’ve grown to find my time tending the garden to be relaxing and therapeutic.
Declutter Your Closets
There are many ways that going through your closet can help you to save money. First, you can list items that you no longer wear on sites like poshmark and make money from home. We’ve all tried those consignment shops, but often leave disappointed in the money that we receive in return for our clothes. Poshmark allows you to set your own price and bargain with those near you. When going through the kids’ closets, you may also run across great pieces for hand-me-downs that you forgot even existed. Take the time to sort through all of the closets in your house on a regular basis and I guarantee you’ll start saving some money.
Having a family can be expensive, but we all know it’s so worth the price in the end. We can all use new ways to save some money every now and then. Whether you sign up for text marketing from your favorite companies or you learn to grow your own tomatoes and cucumbers, following these tips will surely help you to increase the money in your savings accounts.
by Dana Patterson on Feb 19, 2014
We are still in the process of updating our home. As mentioned before, it was a short sale that needed TONS of “help”. It was at the top of our budget, so we slowly have to update. This project only cost $43 and so many people have commented on how great it looks. I got the idea here from my favorite home blog, The Yellow Cape Cod.
Here’s the fireplace before:
I hated the black brick showing with the 80’s red.
Here’s the process:
Step by step process:
1. Go to Sherwin Williams and get a gallon of white Cashmere paint. You can only get it in a gallon, that’s the only way they sell it. You will also need a paintbrush if you don’t have one. Make sure you check online for a coupon, I found a 30% off paint one!
2. Remove mantle and clean your fireplace out.
3. Clean off your fireplace by vacuuming it well.
3. Mix half paint and half water. You really only need like a pint so your container doesn’t need to be that big.
4. Start Painting. One person brushes and another comes behind with an old rag (we used one of my husband’s old white t-shirts) to smooth things over.
You can tell we had a lot going on at once.
It was that easy! I wanted it white washed so you could still see the brick through it. You can always add less water or do an extra coat. I’m SO happy with it. I would love a new mantle, but that isn’t quite in the budget just yet.
Looks completely different!
The whole project took less than three hours. WHY DIDN’T I DO THIS SOONER?!?! I love it and I love it even more because we did it ourselves! Thank you Yellow Cape Cod!
by Dana Patterson on Feb 11, 2014
Since we’ve had so much snow and below freezing weather, we’ve been
going nuts stir crazy and gotten ourselves into a lot of crafts. I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day. So, my 4 year old loves crafts and my 2 year old loves animals so I decided to do a mix of the two. I found lots of heart crafts that are animals. I don’t really think I need to do any tutorials because they are all pretty self explanatory.
We’ve also done a few other crafts:
We made frames for each of the grandmas! $1 frames plus heart stickers from Target. They each painted one!
They had fun using stickers to write “love” stuff on them!
Rice krispie treats with red food coloring and used a heart cookie cutter! Sticks, bags and ribbon were purchased at A.C. Moore.
These were wooden hearts for $.39 at A.C. Moore and we just painted them and used red sharpie!
Lastly, I put this on Facebook yesterday. It seemed to be a big hit!
Use a toilet paper roll to make a heart!
Happy Happy Valentine’s Day!
by Dana Patterson on Feb 07, 2014
My 4 year old is in the Gummy Bear class. We went with the “beary special” theme. She has worked long and hard to make enough for her class. I think they turned out pretty cute!
I got the clear wrappers from a craft store in the cake section (they are really for cake pops).
Check out some other great ideas here!
by admin on Feb 01, 2014
Sometimes it can be difficult to keep up with your health during the winter months. The temperature starts dropping and all you really want to do is cozy up on the couch with a blanket instead of running outside in the freezing temperatures. Staying motivated this time of year is next to impossible. However, there are some ways to maintain your fitness routine this winter that are more fun (and warm!) than simply running around your neighborhood.
Home workout videos are a fantastic way to get your exercise in and keep off that extra weight. You can stay inside and away from the cold air. Plus, you can do the videos on your own time and you can alternate your videos to keep your workout interesting instead of getting bored doing the same old thing you always do. Some workout videos are as short as 15 minutes while others can be an hour, so you have the chance to vary your routine depending on how much free time you have that day. I highly recommend getting yourself a copy of Personal Training with Jackie or any of Jillian Michaels’ DVDs. You can also check out some of these free YouTube videos.
Another fun way to get in some exercise during the cold winter is to work out with your children. This way, you’re getting in some family bonding time while also working towards a better figure. You might find this silly, but you can actually lift your kids as weights! The kids will get a kick out of it, and you’ll get some killer muscles.
I know that we don’t really want to head outside in the cold, but sometimes it’s still good to get some fresh air! Ask around for any great trails near you and go for a hike. You’ll get in your cardio exercise and you’ll avoid getting cabin fever. I recently went for a hike myself and I was blown away by the breathtaking views. Even though we sometimes complain about the snow, it truly does make the landscape look beautiful!
(photo credit: Chris Pivik on Flickr)
Some community centers allow you to visit for a small donation or even for free. Check your local listings and see if there are any rec centers where you can take your kids and get in a little time on the treadmill, elliptical, or weights. You’ll be getting out of the house, but still staying out of the cold.
Don’t use the cold weather this winter as an excuse to avoid exercise. Take advantage of this time to mix up your routine and try new ways to get fit. Before you know it, spring will be here again and we will be able to run outside, but you might find that you’ve got a new favorite workout video that you’ll continue using into the warm seasons as well!
Article by: Chris Pivik.
by Dana Patterson on Jan 30, 2014
What is Stitch Fix?
Basically, it is an online clothing design service. You fill out answers to several questions about your clothing styles. They picture some outfits and you rate them (this gives them an idea of your style). You pay at $20 design fee that can be put towards your clothing/accessory purchase. They send you five items and if you keep all five, then you get a 25% discount on the whole order. From what I’ve read, the clothing is average price and you can even fill out the price range you like/usually spend.
So, I did it. I caved and signed up for Stitch Fix. Here’s why:
- I’m a mom of three kids four and under.
- My kids go nuts in malls so I can’t try anything on.
- I love getting fun packages in the mail.
- I stay at home and my sweatpants need to be put on the shelf when I leave the house.
- I’m over 30. Eek.
- I’ve read great things about Stitch Fix and one of my friends constantly rants and raves.
- I have zero style.
- I have zero style.
- and…. I have zero style.
I’m.so.excited. I will definitely post pics of my first delivery on February 22nd.
Check it out!
by Jamie Hinckley on Jan 30, 2014
I recently made this monkey cake for a special 2 year old in my life. She loves monkey’s and is constantly singing “No More Monkey’s Jumping On the Bed.” It was pretty time consuming making all the stars for the fur, but it turned out awesome!
I researched lots of different monkey cakes, but in the end I used this one from My Daily SAHM Life as my model. I know I could have just ordered the monkey cake pan, but who wants to pay for a pan you will probably never use again???
I used 2 cake mix boxes and made 4 round cakes. I used Wilton’s buttercream icing and Wilton’s food colorings to get the desired colors.
1. Make 4 rounds cakes. Take them out of their cake pans, wrap them in nonstick tinfoil or parchment paper and stick them in the freezer.
2. Using construction paper, cut out your pattern. I numbered each piece so I knew which cake I would cut it from to make sure all the pieces fit.
3. Once your cake is good and frozen, use your paper pattern to cut the cakes into their shapes. Freeze the parts until you are ready to start frosting.
4. Do a thin crumb coat frist. Once the crumb coat is dry you can start frosting! I used a basic star tip.
5. The tail is made from Tootsie Rolls. Just heat them in the microwave for a few seconds then mold them how you want.
by admin on Jan 27, 2014
I’m a huge fan of helping out those in need. One of the organizations that does an excellent job of this is Habitat for Humanity. They bring communities together to help create homes and environments that families in need can use as a starting point to rebuild their lives. I’m always impressed with their efforts and the work that they do.
I was glad to see that this type of effort is also receiving corporate support. A recent press release highlighted that Columbia Utilities, a New York energy company, was partnering with Habitat for Humanity to help make a difference.
Columbia Utilities role in this effort is to donate funds to 12 months of electricity and natural gas to two homes being build by Habitat for Humanity in Brooklyn and Queens. This donation to the families can help them get back on their feet and started in the right direction. We all know how expensive energy and heating can be and it can really make a difference to a family getting their lives back together.
Columbia Utilities – Helping Families
The article highlighted how Columbia Utilities is a family owned organization since 1938. I’m glad that they’re still thinking about families and providing opportunities to help others in need. Imagine the benefits and strength that would come if more organizations donated their resources to families in need.
Helping the Community
There are so many organizations out there that help the community. I’m happy to donate my time and money to any of them that are trying to make a difference in individuals lives. I’m hopeful that I can instruct my family to continue to provide this level of generosity and care to others when they’re in need, and if it ever happens, that we’ll receive help from others should we need it.
Thanks Habitat for Humanity and Columbia Utilities for making a difference in people’s lives. We need more organizations that are willing to do so.
by Dana Patterson on Jan 21, 2014
This is such a fun way to get your kids to eat! My husband got these face plates for my older two girls for Christmas because they are picky, very picky! He thought they might be open to eating more of a variety of foods with this. Here are just a few cute things we’ve done with them since Christmas. They really do love them! They are about $12 on amazon. The possibilities are endless!
by Jamie Hinckley on Jan 12, 2014
We have a really nice Good Will thrift store near us. I can usually stop by and find some treasures for really good prices! I recently found a sturdy desk for $5 and a queen size head board for $5 also.Nice and sturdy desk, but needs a little work!
Nice sturdy desk great for a kids room! Just needs a little touch up work!
Here is the $5 head board I found! Can’t beat that price!
The desk is very sturdy, but was a little beat up on the outside. I used some Elmer’s wood filler to fill some of the scratches and holes. Then I used two coats of primer and two coats of paint. I recommend Zinsser primer.
For the head board I had to use a spray paint primer and paint in order to get all the lattice work parts evenly. Then I used regular latex paint for the smooth parts of the head board.
After the spray paint primer coat.
I used paint and primer I already had so all in all these two projects cost $10 total! Not bad!
Looks great in my 8yr old’s skate board bedroom!
Here is how the head board looks all set up!