Friday, October 29, 2010

Krispy Kreme Christmas Tags

So, in my recent effort to be more frugal, simplify, and not procrastinate I found myself with this little project the other day when I made Christmas gift tags out of a Krispy Kreme box. It is UTTERLY simple but I still thought I would share it, seeing as the box has always seemed Christmas-y to me AND I get such a kick out of repurposing the box that my most prized pregnancy craving comes in.
(You know, after all the raspberry glazed goodness has been consumed and promptly gone to my hips!)

So here's what I did:

-Cut box apart along creases
-Trash any parts that have the glazed icing on it
-Cut some short pieces for tags that you just tape on a package flat.
-Cut some longer pieces for tags that you won't to fold in have like a little card.
-Look on google and find your favorite printable gift tags
-Here is a whole list of super cute tags to choose from and download.
-Cut out the gift tags
-And just glue them onto the fronts of your Krispy Kreme gift cards.
-Leave enough room if you happen to want to hole punch a hole to put a ribbon through the gift card to tie it onto a package.
-Voila, done! And free!

And now I just have to get busy on finishing my Christmas shopping for gifts to put these little tags on! Before December 22nd this year preferably! Lol My goal is to be done by December 1st, can it be done? : )

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Man, I've been m.i.a. for a while. Things have just been busy around here. We've been settling back into homeschooling, co op classes, husband's school schedule, and relentless working on getting our house finished. So I had some time today and thought I'd catch up a little on this blog. : ) And refocus on the 12 things challenge!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How to NOT hate grocery shopping...


Since I am still struggling steadily working on my August skill set of Meal planning well into September now ; ) Tired of hearing about? Haha, me too. This the final post though..... for a while at least.

I  I haven't got it down perfectly yet by any stretch of the imagination or budget (ahem we ate out A LOT this past week), but I exposed the flaws I have and hang ups that get my caught off guard that I think realizing will make this more streamlined. Here is what I found I need to be aware of and work with:

-Add taking meat out to thaw, to my morning chores: I found myself standing in front of an Arctic freezer with a glazed over stare when I suddenly remembered I needed to thaw the meat at 5 o'clock many of hungry nights.

-Make a meal ahead in the crock pot and remember to freeze it: I made two meals in the crock pot simultaneously two weekends ago, needless to say I was feeling pretty domestically industrious at this point. That is until I realized a week later instead of having ready made meals, I had ready made yucky leftovers that were going bad. I need to remember to put them into the freezer in case they don't get eaten by the time I think they would. 

-Don't be afraid to try new recipes: Our family is funny, either you love it or hate it when it comes to a recipe. And I cannot stand to think of making something, dirtying up the kitchen, etc etc and it end up going awry and I'm left at square one. So I've been avoiding trying anything new. Well the best way to combat that is to have an easy back up  meal that you know how to make that is fail proof. I think having a frozen pizza on hand or quick cook soup mix is a great reassurance that even if your new recipe is a flop, burned mess, or what have you. You're family isn't going to starve or resort to fast food.

-Make eating out count: This really doesn't have too much to do with meal planning but the real truth is everyone wants to eat out sometime. Date night, birthday, it's been a long week etc. So you may as well make it count when you do go out, instead of being whatever food from whatever restaurant you've been to a billion times and resort to. Sit down and make a list of all of your favorite restaurants and then favorite cuisines, look up those cuisines in your area and jot down some new restaurants.

 Another great way of finding new restaurants to try on the cheap is going to and looking for discounted gift certificates in your area. We tried a great place called The Bier Garden in our area. It was a really neat German restaurant in downtown that we went to for our Anniversary, that we would have literally otherwise never tried. There wasn't a hassle at all they just seemed to take it like any other gift certificate. Also if you do check it out, there is a coupon code available for 70% off right now. Just type in: SPORK. Always search for a code first, saves you big time!

-Make grocery shopping shorter so you don't dread it: I've already touched on the idea of bulk shopping once a month for the non-perishable portion of your monthly grocery shopping in a previous post. But this weekend my husband and I took i a step further. We were both exhausted and it dawned on my in the parking lot split up our list and get separate carts to go through the store. 

WARNING: separate your list by things you have coupons/ price matching for and make that your list the other list that doesn't require coupons and price matching give to your husband unless he loves using coupons and is super familiar with your methods. Or that might be a whole other stress for him to figure out on the spot.

My husband also make the genius remark that not only did this speed up the process but by having the coupon/ price match items separated already it would make it easier at checkout to ring up his cart first instead of me picking our random items once we get up there hoping I remembered everything. Which let me tell you is not always fool proof. So I think his realization could be really helpful and make things a little less stressed.

This may be completely common sense for someone else but for me they were real eye openers. Do you have any tricks that help de-stress your grocery shopping experience? 


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It's a.....




Yeah, we're not sure either. : ) 

We went early to find out because we just didn't want to wait until 20 weeks, and now we're back at square one. The ultrasound tech said it's a girl, but when we got home and looked at the pictures again the second picture has us second guessing.....Hmm?

If we know nothing else, we know this baby is either really modest or has a sense of humor. As soon as we started looking for the gender the legs crossed and put it's little hand over itself....and when we kept trying to look the baby turned upside down! Lol. 

I really don't care either way, what God gives I'll graciously accept. I am just too darned curious for my own good ; ) We get to have another look at 20 weeks, so that's exciting!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Boy or Girl?

Is it a ......boy? or a girl?

We're going to get a 3-d ultrasound today to find out, I can't wait to know what this little one is.  : ) 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Couponological Neuroscience

Well if you're looking for that sort of science, you're in the wrong place! I have it down to a simple one if you'd like to read on. I like simple, I have a hard time keeping things that way, but it usually works better in the end for me if I do.

Anyway, as I mentioned in my last post I thought I would write up some tips and info on how I go about doing mine. I'm not a genius at it, but it can really take a while to develop a system from scratch on your own if you're just starting so this may help someone along those lines. This LOOKS like a lot of work but I just work best in run on sentences ; ). No really, it might take you 45 mins to an hour the first time you do this, but as you maintain it each weekend when you pick up the newspapers you won't spend nearly as much time.

1 Zippered binder
10+ dividers with pockets
20 clear baseball card holder sheets
1 calculator
1 Pen
1 Highlighter
1 Pair of scissors (why is it called a pair anyway, I wonder?)
4 Printed grocery lists
2 Newspapers (yes two, no I swear it will not turn you into a coupon maniac or consume too much time but this is pertinent for just starting and two cheaper or free items is better than one, right?)


1. Lay all of  this out on your kitchen table.

2. Insert dividers into binder and label them into grocery aisles/types accordingly or however you want.
-Fruits / Vegetables
-Non Perishable
-Baby and/or dog, whichever or if both apply separate dividers
-etc as you deem fit for your family

3. Put two clear baseball card holder sheets in each section, you could end up with 5 or more eventually, depends on how addicted you get to the grocery game. Also put one or two more in the front of the very first divider, I will explain this one later.

4. Cut out all of the coupons that your family would use now or in the future (not only if you need it right this minute, sometimes coupons last for months) and arrange them into like categories.

5. Put the categorized coupons into the divider pockets if you don't have a lot of time right now so they are at least separated by type or go ahead and slide them into the baseball card holders in the corresponding section of the binder if you do have time.

6. Yay! All of your coupons are organized now. Half the battle won. No digging through your purse or an envelope at the store anymore! : )

7. Look through your pantry, fridge, household supplies, and toiletries and record what is running low on your printed grocery list and how many you need or want.

8. Circle all of the items in the grocery sales flyer(s) that you are interested in buying. If you live near a store that does price matching (walmart / bottom dollar etc) I suggest doing this for bulk shopping as price matching from several stores can yield significant savings. It gives you the opportunity to cherry pick the best sales and get them all from the same place.

9. Now next to each corresponding item on your grocery list write the initials of the store that you plan  to price match that items price next to it. For instance:  2 pks Toilet paper (FL) for price matching at Food Lion. These helps with having a smooth transaction at checkout because you can seamlessly flip to the flyer you need to price match each item.

10. Now brace yourself, that may not be all the savings for that one item. Say, Charmin toilet paper is on sale for $5.97 at Food Lion but it is $8.97 at Walmart, after a price match you've saved $3 bucks from what you would have spent! Awesome! But wait, now look in the paper products section in your coupon binder and pull out those $1.00 off Charmin coupons, and now you will be able to save $4 on each pack of toilet paper. And if you'd written down on your list like my example was that you were going to be buying 2 packs, then you just saved yourself $8.00 on just one type of item. This can add up quickly.

11. Now take those two Charmin coupons and put them in the first baseball card holder sheet that's in the very beginning of your binder. This is a placeholder for all of the coupons that correspond to what is on your list and that you know you will use, so that you don't forget any of them in their appropriate categories or even have to bother looking while in the store. Then your freed up to look for categorized coupons for surprise things you find on sale.

12. Next, put a star beside the item and store it is being price matched at to remind you that you have a coupon for it, this may be excessive for most lol but my preggo brain and shopping with a four year old self, needs this double reminder.

13. Go shopping, girl!

And that's it..... sorry so lonnnnnnnnng winded ; )


12 Things: August Recap

Meal planning

12 Things: August Recap

My 12 things skill to work on has been meal planning. And man, did our house ever need it. I haven't perfected that skill by any stretch of the imagination, and there were still nights that dinner was grabbed out when things didn't work out at home (we are redoing parts of our home and although it's messy I'd still like to be able to stay on top of dinner). But what I did do was gain a new, fresh mindset. And I'll take that and be happy with it as I keep working at this. After trying, and figuring out what will work for us, I WANT to make it work for us. I want home cooked meals, I want that saved money not spent on restaurants, and I want a routine that works to make that happen. I think I will have the hang of it soon. So I thought I would recap what worked for me to challenge myself with this skill and/or what I think will work better than what I tried. 

1. Make meal plans two weeks at a time: even and especially including weekends. 

2. Make easy meals on the weekends: like using your crock pot or grilling. This is particularly helpful if you happen to be laying carpet in your house two weekends in a row and it sort of over takes the other rooms. Crock pot = not very much mess or fuss....Grill= all the mess is outside. So you can still cook, even with carpet tacks and paint buckets all about.

3. Buy a stack of paper plates and a stack of disposable cups: Give yourself a break, some grace, permission what have you. I am all for getting and staying on top of the dishes but some days with whatever might be going on in your life, cut your self some slack and make sure you have them in your house, somedays a pile of dishes is just too much on top of everything else. I'd much rather spend a few dollars and save my sanity every once in a while.

4. Bulk shop once a month: this can be a real sanity saver, especially if you have little ones or if your pregnant and your energy is lackluster or if you just want more time in your life even. I think this is one of the most practical aspects of meal planning. Start out according to your budget, it may not be practical to do big bulk shopping at the beginning of the month or even once a month at all.

That's okay! Work with what works for your family. You can shave off a little of your grocery bill per week and use the savings at the end of the month to buy some things in bulk at good prices for next month. You could have a no shopping week during the month and eat out of your pantry to get those savings to use right away. Or if you'd rather do it little by little, just spend $10-20 extra dollars a week on buying things your family consumes regularly when you see it at the lowest price and stock up. It will ad up and soon you will have a perpetual pantry.

5. Plan your shopping ahead of time: Don't just go to the store. I have let my coupon addiction fall by the way side, I like to think that morning sickness flushed it out of my system haha. : D But I really noticed the difference in our grocery bill and am getting back on track., I missed the savings. Without much planning, I'd say 15 minutes, I saved a good $20.00 between price matching and coupons. I used to save a lot more than that each week, but I am just getting back into it and only had the energy for minimal effort. You can definitely maximize your savings even more that that. It really adds up.

One scenario was Old spice body wash. I had a coupon for Buy one get one free and a coupon for $1.00 off of two Old Spice items. I also had an ad from another store that had them priced $1 cheaper. After the coupons and price match I got them for $1 each down from $8 total.  Also even if you're not a coupon person and don't want to bother with it,  I suggest at least looking at the sales flyers and using them to price match at one store you can glean a lot of savings this way too.

I will make a follow up post on how I make my shopping list that makes price matching less of a hassle and how I  organize coupons to maximize savings for anyone that is interested, it's not fool proof but I find it really helps after developing a system to work for me so I don't have to over think so much while shopping. 

Hope everyone is doing well with the 12 Things challenge. I have seen some really great skills, and even better outcomes from women trying them for the first time. I know it has been really encouraging to me from finding such nice comments from other ladies that are participating, enjoying so many of the blogs that are linked up, and feeling challenged to try these new things knowing there are so many others all working along side each other.