Thursday, March 31, 2016

ShopStyle has created a monster in me with these fun widgets where I can show you all the products I want. It has been a LONG time since I had a shopping spree and I am really feeling that urge. So in order to try to tame that wild urge I am going to keep window shopping on ShopStyle and making these widgets while I save my money up. So here are a bunch of more objects and clothes or accessories that have caught my eye!

These are affliate links.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Spring Shopping for Boys

I'm the mommy to two adorable toddler boys. They are into pizza, sharks, SUPERHEROS, cars, trucks. While I was browsing for myself on ShopStyle, I decided to look into some new items for my boys too. Here are my favorites for spring and summer. I think the pizza pajamas are especially adorable!

Have fun browsing!

These are affiliate links.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Spring Shopping

The warmer weather has got me craving some new lighter brighter clothes. Check out some of the things I picked out on ShopStyle!

These are affiliate links.

Monthly Dinner Planning

In January 2014, I tried a new (to me) idea of planning out in advance all the meals I was going to make for dinner that month. I had several reasons for doing this. The two most important reasons to me were to stop making the same things every week and to cut down on the amount of times I had to go to the store for groceries. So I was getting bored with being bored with my food and trying to save time and money.

Since April 2016 will soon be here, I thought I would share my menu schedule. Hopefully someone out there on the interweb will find it useful.

Pizza is a favorite meal for my two boys. It's one of the only things they don't pick at, so that's our go to on Friday evening. We switch between getting take out, frozen, or home made. Neither my husband nor I is ever likely to get sick of it anyway.

Here is the menu I made for April 2014.

Since I do this planning so far in advance something invariably gets changed. So I might change Monday night's meal for Thursday's or vice versa. But it makes me feel better having a plan so that I am not scrambling at the last minute when my husband comes home.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Dying TV

Our television is dying. At least, that’s what we think is happening. We used to be able to watch tv and have the volume set around 10-12 for comfortable listening. But since Saturday evening, we’ve had to turn it all the way to 30+ in order to hear it. We have to turn it up even higher to 45+ if the furnace kicks on. That’s almost maximum volume. It is an old Toshiba. I did a search to see if a setting might have been changed that we could change back, but I didn’t find much and what I did find didn’t help. Has this happened to anyone else out there?

So my husband and I are in the market for a new TV soon, which is exciting because we are looking into Smart TVs. We are actually going to be getting some of the latest technology! I love technology but always am one of the last to try it out. I mean my parents already have a smart TV. My parents also had smart phones before we did.

We are hoping our TV can hold out awhile longer, just so that it gives us that much longer before we have to put down the money for a new TV. We are trying to sell our old house before spending any money on something extra like a TV. At the same time though, I’m conflicted because it seems like there are some really good deals right now. As soon as we noticed the problem, I got busy on the internet to see what kind of deals are out there. For instance there is this one I found on Best Buy. It seems like such an awesome upgrade: it’s bigger, flat, smart, and doesn’t seem like that much money for a tv that big, especially a smart TV.

Do we buy now? Or do we try to hold out a couple more weeks or even months until it officially stops working? Decisions, decisions…
Cellphone pic of current tv & dresser set up

Here’s another issue. We wouldn’t be mounting a new tv on the wall because we are in a rental, and I really don’t want to have to deal with all that mess and work. It would be on a dresser that is 20 inches wide. I’m hoping that if we pushed it all the way to the back it would be too far for our little two year old to reach where he might pull it down on himself. I haven’t worried about it before because our old boob tube is way too heavy for him to do that. I guess I’m looking for reassurance from other parents of toddlers who have some insights for us.

Monday, March 7, 2016

money money money MONEY

Read the title, is that word insane, or is it just me? Does that happen to anyone else... when you see a word written a lot and it just looks really strange? I start to think, "I know that word is not spelled right." Or, "There's no way that word should be pronounced the way I say it."

Maybe it's just me.

Anyway,  today's post is about my favorite despised topic. I spend a lot of time thinking about money because I'm a stay-at-home mom and my husband is a pastor. We're not making six figures like some one-income-only families. So sometimes money is tight and we have to be careful what we choose to spend it on. Because I'm also obsessed with Pinterest, in particular, people's homes this can sometimes lead to some feelings of envy. And envy is so ugly. UGH!

So I wanted to share some ideas that have helped me stretch our money. These are not going to be budget boosting ideas, but I say every penny counts. For today I'll be focusing on two apps that I downloaded for my smartphone. The first and my personal favorite is Slidejoy. That is a referral link. The second is AppNana. My invitation code for that is a6801287.

Slide joy is awesome because it acts as a lock screen for the smart phone. So each time you swipe left or right, "carats" are added to your account. It doesn't take any extra interaction on your part to earn those carats. 100 Slidejoy carats = $1. You can then use those carats to make a donation or to get yourself a gift card. If you swipe right you get immediate access to your phone. If you swipe to the left you get more information about the advertisement. If you swipe down you get the notifications for the app and if you swipe up, you can see ads/news. It's so easy! I've earned over $30 in about a year of using it. So obviously an extra $30/year is not going to help me buy the house of my dreams. But it is enough to buy a special treat at Target or Amazon for myself or someone in my family.
This is a screenshot of SlideJoy.
Now I've been using AppNana the same amount of time and I have yet to make $10. The deal with them is you download other apps or watch ads and you are rewarded with a predetermined amount of "nanas." The more nanas you earn the more money they are worth. So just for signing up with them you get enough nanas to have $1 for Amazon and one or two other reward choices. I've been saving up my nanas so that I can get $10 credit to Amazon. That is 160,000 nanas. I've got about 20,000 more nanas to go. You can earn 400 nanas daily but you have to maintain a high level of nanas earned per day. I usually stick with watching ads. A 30 second ad gets you 5 nanas. So every so often I will get a message that says I need to earn about 3030 more nanas to earn the 400 daily nanas. So it takes quite awhile to count that down until I can start earning those bonus nanas for signing in every day. I'm going to stick with AppNana until I can get my $10 and then I'm out!
This is a screen shot of AppNana.

Please check back later to learn some other ways that I have managed to save money or get freebies.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Braided Rag Rug

Besides knitting, another hobby that I really enjoy and is fairly new to me is braiding rag rugs. There are so many colorful, beautiful examples all over Pinterest and Etsy that I just had to try it out for myself.
I started by collecting old tee shirts from family members. I got so many that I was able to fill up our pack-and-play over the top. I think I have a photo of that somewhere, maybe I'll eventually be able to dig it up.

This red rug is the first one I made and I use it in the kitchen so it has been used HARD. I'm waiting for the weather to warm up so I can launder it again and hang it outside.
I would say it is slightly thicker than an average store bought rug, so that makes it nicer to stand on for long periods of time when  I am cooking or washing dishes.

The rug below is another one I have been working on. I intend to use this one in the bathroom. It will be slightly smaller than the first one. I used two yards of a purple and turquoise sheep fabric that I got for really cheap at a yard sale. I used that to help determine the other colors I chose, so I ended up using an equivalent amount of tee shirts to make up the braid. As you can see I haven't finished sewing the braid together.

While I love that these rugs are thicker than an average rug you would buy for a kitchen or bathroom, the fact that they are so thick makes it hard to sew them on the sewing machine. They barely fit under the presser foot. I'll have to look into how other people do it because this purple/turquoise rug keeps getting snagged and so I have started hand sewing it, which is exactly why it's not done yet. I've put it aside to work on projects that give me more immediate satisfaction.

Thanks for checking it out!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Coil Basket - Take 1

I wanted to share some other pictures of the coil basket that was in my post yesterday. I made this about a year ago after seeing a bunch on Pinterest. This was made with ordinary clothesline that I bought on Amazon. It took one package with a length of 200 ft. I used this product. My finished basket is approximately 10 inches wide and about 12.5 inches tall.

It easily holds all of my boys' shoes including one pair of snow boots.
 These coil baskets are really easy to start. You just make a small coil and then sew an X through it on your sewing machine. From there you can begin sewing the coils together using a zig zag stitch. I apologize for the cell phone pictures. (We moved a couple months ago and I STILL haven't bothered to dig out my camera. Yikes! I'm lazy ;)

Finishing the basket was trickier for me. I tried to cut the end of the clothesline at an angle so that it would gradually taper down, but my scissors must not have been sharp enough, because I ended up with this little mess at the end. I'm not too fussy though so it doesn't bother me. My next basket I will go more slowly and make sure I have the end trimmed better.

If you have any questions, leave a comment and I will try to help out. Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Long Time, No Post

Well, It's been awhile since I last wrote.

In the time since I last wrote, I had another baby boy and I moved to a new state. This blog which started out as a way for me to document certain aspects of working in a school library will now not have that specific focus anymore. Someday I want to go back to working in a school's media center, but for now I'm just obsessed with my family.

I look forward to sharing favorite recipes, tips that make my household run smoother, craft items that have kept me busy in the evenings when the boys are sleeping, and maybe even some interesting anecdotes from my life.

Here is a photo of my youngest child in a coiled rope basket that I made to store the boys' shoes in. He's just the right size to hide out in it.