Monday, May 30, 2011

The Birdcage

Across from the little table I redid here in the entry hall is a metal birdcage we've had for several years.  I love the vintage feel the birdcage brings to the entry. 
It needs to be ightened up a little, though; don't you agree?  A couple of coats of paint and we have a new birdcage!
Better?  I think so.

I have a newly purchased lamp from the thrift store that I will be giving a makeover soon to replace the outdated one on the table.  I like the antique white on the birdcage way better than the brown.  It was so dark and gloomy!

What do you think?

Thanks for stopping by!  I'm off to the next project!


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sweet Pictures for a Sweet Girl

I have been trying to think of something fun and inexpensive to do on the wall above Lilly's bed for a while.  I have some old frames that used to be elsewhere in the house hanging there with pictures of her and her friend, her cousin, etc.  While I do like them, I really put them there as a filler until I decided what I really wanted there.  They have been there for over a year now, so I guess that tells you that I haven't put much effort into figuring out something.  I finally got around to it. 

Here's the wall as it looked with the framed photos on it.
I did at least try to fancy them up by spray painting them white, using cute scrapbook paper for mats, and hot gluing ribbon around the frame of one. 

I thought and thought about what kind of pictures to put here instead.  I went through her list of favorite things - should I do high heels, horses, butterflies, purses, the cast of Glee?  Should I use something trendy like birds?  I knew whatever I went with was going to be a cheap project.   First of all, she doesn't keep her room clean EVER (I seriously had to clean it for a couple of HOURS to get it presentable for these pictures).  I am not going to put nice expensive things in there until she starts taking better care of her stuff.  Second of all, if you can decorate without spending too much money, you change it when you get tired of it or when you want to try something different and not feel bad about it.  You aren't married to your decor if it's cheap!

I settled on ice cream and a cupcake for the pictures.  I got these two horrible looking things from the thrift store for $10 each.  Ugh.
Lake wanted to paint so I put him to work.
Next, I cut out an ice cream cone and a cupcake and glued them on posterboard cut to size.

I took cut up pieces of scrapbook paper and taped them on to the mat in a random pattern.

And here they are.
I moved the framed photos to the other wall above the bed.  Lilly said she wants me to fill the whole wall with photos.  We may add a few more over time. 

Here is a peek at the rest of Lilly's room.

These were taken before I changed out the pictures.  The bed is from a thrift store and has been painted several times.  She has cheap bedding right now because I knew it would end up with fingernail polish and marker spots all over it (which it has).  She had very expensive bedding I handmade with Calico Corners fabric when she was still in her nursery, but until she is out of her destructive phase, we will stick with something inexpensive. 

The dresser is from craigslist and was cherry wood when I got it.  When I said I was going to paint it, people thought I was crazy.  It was pretty.  But I wanted everything in this room to be turqouise or purple, so the cherry wood had to go.  I replaced the drawer pulls with looped ribbons.
The little white bedside table is from Pottery Barn, but I got it on craigslist for a mere $15.  Score!  I gave it a fresh coat of paint before putting it in her room.  I love the shape.  I decorated the lampshade on the lamp with fabric and ribbon; click here to see that blog post. 

I bought the chandelier for her nursery and it was white with light pink flowers then.  It got a bright purple makeover for this room.
We also scraped the popcorn ceiling and made it smooth before we redecorated.  I love smooth ceilings.  We are slowly going room by room and getting rid of all the popcorn. 

So that's Lilly's room.  At this very moment, it looks nothing like what you just saw...the floor is covered in crayons, Barbie clothes, and Lilly's shoes.  I am patiently waiting for her to grow out of this...


Walgreens Trip 05.29.11

I got a LOT of deodorant at Walgreens today.  We won't need any for a long long time. 

Here's what I scored:
Scott paper towels - on sale for $3.99 each, I had 2 $1.50 off coupons (printable from their website), final price - $2.49 each (best I've gotten yet on paper towels!)  These are only on sale for 2 days at this price. 
Reynold's Wrap  foil - on sale for $1.99, I had $1 off coupon, final price - $0.99.  Only on sale for 2 days at this price.
Jif peanut butter- 2 jars on sale for $2 each, not the best deal but we needed peanut butter.  I heard that peanut butter only goes on sale with coupons twice a year.  I have yet to see a peanut butter coupon.  Patiently awaiting so I can stock up!
3 boxes Poptarts - on sale for $1.99 each, I had a $1.00/3 boxes coupon, final price - $1.67 each
4 packages Oscar Mayer lunchmeat - on sale 2 for $5, I had 2 $1/2 packages coupons, final price - $2 each
3 tubes Aquafresh Kids toothpaste - on sale with Walgreens in-ad coupon for $1, I had 3 $1 off coupons, final price - FREE
8 Degree deodorants - on sale for 4/$15 with a $5 Register Reward, I had 4 $0.75 coupons, and 4 buy one get one free coupons, I had to do this one in 2 separate transactions to get RR twice, final price - $0.25 each
6 Right Guard deodorants - on sale for buy one get one free, I had 3 buy one get one free coupons, final price - FREE
2 Act popcorn - on sale for $0.25 each, fillers so I could use my Register Rewards at checkout
2 Dunkin Doughnuts coffee - this was my splurge for the day...on sale from $10.49 to $5.99, I had 2 $1.50 off coupons, final price - $4.49 each.  More than I ever pay for coffee - but this kind won't get cheaper than this and it's GOOD!

Total retail value - $144.47, my cost - $43.00.  Savings of 70%.

Happy Couponing!


Friday, May 27, 2011

Tips for Saving Money Making Lunches

We make our kids lunches every single day.  We don't let them buy from the school cafeteria because the lunches they serve are ridiculously unhealthy.  We generally put in their lunches either a lunchmeat or peanut butter sandwich, a piece of fruit, a snack like Chex Mix or baked Goldfish, and sometimes a small dessert, like a cookie (only one!).  We often will cut up blocks of cheddar cheese and carrots and put a small baggie of each in as well.  We put Caprisun Roaring Waters in for their drinks.  I read alot about what are the best products to put in your kids lunches in the Eat This, Not That for Kids book and try to stick to those items.  It surprised me how many products say 25% Less Sugar! or Made with Whole Grains! but they still were one of the worst of that product available.  The labels can be very deceiving....

We spend quite a bit of money on the kids' lunches.  Not near as much as we would spend if they bought lunch at school every day, but still quite a bit.  I have been brainstorming lately on how we can save money but not sacrifice the healthiness of the items in their lunch. 

Here are a couple of things we are starting to do differently. 

I mentioned that we use Caprisun Roaring Waters as their drinks.  We never use the regular Caprisun; it HAS to be the water ones.  The kids don't know the difference, as these taste the same as the regular Caprisun, but the regular ones have twice the sugar - 16 grams per Caprisun!  Yikes!  Caprisuns (water or regular) cost about $2.49 a box and will often go on sale for $1.99. I have never seen a coupon for Caprisun.  They recently went on sale as part of the Mega Event at Kroger and you could get them for $1.49 per box.  We stocked up when they were this price, because I think that's as low as they are going to ever get.  We spend about $125 a year on Caprisun.

Well, I tried something new this week.  I bought these Wyler's drink mixes at Walgreens.  I needed a filler so I could use Register Rewards to check out (see my couponing blog entries to know what I am talking about).  These drink mixes are flavored like lemonade and rasberry, and my kids tried them and loved them. 

I checked out the nutritional info and guess what?  They are so much better than Caprisun!  Even the water ones!  Here's how they measure up:

  • Wyler's - 5 calories, Caprisun Roaring Water (RW) - 30 calories
  • Wyler's - 0 carbs, Caprisun RW - 8g carbs
  • Wyler's - 0 sugar, Caprisun RW- 8g sugar
  • Wyler's - 20% daily Vitamin C, Caprisun RW- no Vitamin C
My kids usually moan and groan when I try to get them to drink a bottled water.  Now they are asking for them in their lunch so they can mix their own lemonade. They think it is fun.   

Here's the best part (other than my kids are drinking healthier): they are on sale at Walgreens this week for $0.59 a box (usually $1 a box).    I went back to Walgreens and stocked up (of course!) about 4 months worth after I added up all of the benefits of my new find.  Something to note - some of the boxes have 8 packets in them and some have 10 in them.  I got all boxes with 10 - more for the money!

We have the kids saving their water bottles and bringing them back home, which we are washing and refilling with filtered water from the refrigerator so we don't have to buy any more bottles of water either.  Using these instead of Caprisun in their lunches will cost about $34 a year. 

  • Saving $90 or so a year
  • Healthier for my kids (they are drinking a whole bottled water a day now!)
  • Recycling the bottles
Now, on to the next money-saver I have just discovered...

We spend about $80 a year on ziploc bags.  I hate to think of how much plastic we are throwing away.  I recently ordered resuable bags for us to use instead of ziplocs.  I got a sandwich bag and a snack bag for each of us (me included - I take my lunch to work most days).  They can be wiped out or put in the dishwasher.  They are Lunchskins brand and they are supposed to keep the food fresh.  We should be able to use them for cut-up fruit or carrots, snacks like goldfish, chex mix, etc.  If I find that we need more than one snack sized bag for each of us after we try them out for a while, I will order another set. 

How cute are those?!?  I also thought about how many paper towels we go through by putting one in each lunch each day as a napkin.  So while I was ordering these fun reusable bags, I also ordered a 4 pack of reusable napkins.  We are going to start using them this week (they just got here).  We will wash as needed, but I don't think we will have to wash them more than once or maybe twice a week.  How often do kids really use their napkins anyway?  To be determined...if I am washing them constantly, I will order another set.   

I can't say how much we will save by using the napkins instead of paper towels, but I know we will be saving.  And it really just makes me feel good that we aren't being wasteful by throwing away tons of paper towels and not recycling. 

I should see a significant reduction in the number of ziploc boxes we need to buy too.  I hope we will save at least $50 of that $80 a year.  Small differences, but think about if you could find 10 different ways to save $50-100?  That's a lot of money!  I found two just this week by putting a little thought into the kids' lunches, so I know there are opportunities in a lot of items we buy. 

In case you are interested, I bought the reusable bags and napkins from  I did compare the price on the bags and this was cheaper than Amazon and several other sites I checked.  It was about $15 for a set of one sandwich bag and one snack bag.   

Please leave a comment if you have other money-saving or healthy tips for your kid's lunches.  I'd love to hear them!


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Kroger Trip 05.26.11

Some of you may think I am crazy for going to the grocery store every day.  I may be.  But when I go in  for our weekly grocery run, I always see a deal that wasn't in the sale paper.  The sale paper shows such a small amount of the sales in the store.  I have only one or two of each coupon in my handy dandy coupon notebook, so I have to collect the rest from the coupon stockpile when I get home and then stop by the store the next day to buy the item.  I usually am only going in for one to three items and can be in and out in under 10 minutes.  So it may seem crazy to go as often as I do, but I am saving a ton of money and building a pretty little stockpile, so it's OK.  Call me crazy.

Today I got the following items:
8 packages of hot dogs - usually $2.62 per pack, on sale for $1, and I had 4 $1/2 packs coupons.  Final price - $0.50 per pack.
5 shaving creams - usually $2.49 each, on sale for $1.99, and I had 5 $0.55 off coupons which doubled.  Final price - $0.89 each.  I have to figure out how to get this cheaper, but so far this is the best deal I have found on the Edge and Skintimate brands. 
10 Power Bars - usually $1.59 and on sale for $1 each. I had 5 Buy One Get One Free coupons, for which the clerk deducted the retail value of $1.59 each.  This will only happen if you don't enter your Kroger card until AFTER your items are scanned!  If you scan your Kroger card first, the item rings up for the sale price and that is the value that will be deducted for each item.  Final value - $0.21 each.

Retail value - $44.53.  My cost - $12.71.  Total savings of 75%. Not bad.    


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Shopping Trips 05.24.11 & 05.25.11

I went to Kroger on the 24th to get a deal on Wisk detergent before the sale changed at midnight.  Here's what I got:
Wisk is $7.69 at Kroger, but this past week it was on sale for $3.99.  I had 5 $2 off coupons, making them $1.99 each.  I got a coupon for a free tub of Cottonelle wipes by liking their page on facebook.  Total value - $43.02, my cost - $12.03, savings of 75%. 

I stopped by Schnuck's on my way home from work today and picked up these deals going on this week:
Chinet plates are $2 (instead of $3.49) this week, and I had 3 $0.55 off coupons which doubled making final price $0.90 each.  The Weber spices are on sale for $1 (usually 3.49 also) and I had 2 $1 off coupons making them free.  The Smuckers ice cream toppings are on sale for $1.25 each (usually $2.49) and I had 3 $0.55 off coupons which doubled making final price $0.15 each. 
Total value - $24.92, my cost - $3.87, savings of 85%. 

Happy Couponing!


Monday, May 23, 2011

The White Fireplace

As you know, I am trying to rid my house of dark colors (namely brown) and give it a fresh new light look.  You've seen the coffee table makeover and the entry hall table makeover I recently did, so now it was time for the fireplace. 

Here is what it looked like before.

 I painted it these colors last year and had slightly distressed the wood. 

I got out the antique white paint (again) and got to painting.  I really only planned on painting the red bricks and leaving the brown wood, but once I got the bricks done...I wanted more white.  So I did the wood too.
I went ahead and painted the black candlesticks that were on the fireplace too.  I got them at Pottery Barn a couple of years ago and they have made their way from room to room looking for a permanent home.  I like them on the fireplace, but wanted to give them a facelift to go with the new pretty white.
I spray painted them blue, sanded a little around the edges, and then used my antiquing glaze.

Here is one more look at the before and then the big reveal.

I distressed the wood a little.  I like things to look old.

It's pretty amazing what a change a little paint can make!

One more thing, for those of you wondering what I decided to do about the blue showing through the coffee table, I repainted over it.  The more I looked at it, the more the blue was too much.

It's finally done. Well, for now.

What do you think of the results? 


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Walgreens Trip 05.22.11

Here's what I scored at Walgreens today:
3 packages of Charmin  - on sale for $2.99 and I had 3 $0.25 off coupons, final price - $2.75 each.  That's about the cheapest I have found good toilet paper and I won't go to the cheap kind that hurts. 
4 packages of Oscar Mayer hot dogs - on sale for $2.99, buy one get one free.  I had 2 $1.00 off 2 packages, so I got 4 packages.  Final price - $1 each.
2 bottles of Advil - on sale for $4.99 each and a $5 Register Reward when you buy two.  I had a $2 off one Advil coupon and a $1 off one Advil coupon, making the total $7 for both.  This gave me a $5 Register Reward, making the final price $1 for each bottle.  These are $7.99 each when not on sale. 
2 packages of ponytail holders - on sale for $2 each with a $2 Register Reward, final price for each - free.
2 Kraft Mayo - on sale for $2.99 each, I had a $1 off 2 coupon, final price - $2 each.  You won't get much better than this for mayo.  These are $5.79 each when not on sale. 
2 boxes of Qtips - on sale for $1.99 each, I had 2 $0.60 off one coupons, final price - $1.40 per box. 
4 boxes of drink mixes (which my kids love) on sale for $0.59 each.  I bought these because I needed fillers in order to use the Register Rewards.
4 bottles Suave lotion - on sale for buy 4 for $12, get $4 Register Reward.  I used 4 buy one get one free coupons which made them all free, and I got a $4 Register Reward.  This was the score of the day.  They paid me $4 to take the lotions.  Thank you Walgreens.

I checked out in 3 transactions.  My total cost was $22.02 and I have $3 Register Rewards left over for next time.  Total retail value is $80.67.  I saved 73% in total, which is GREAT considering I spent over $8 in toilet paper and you can't get a good deal on it in our area.  Without the toilet paper purchase, I would have saved 80% overall. 

Good luck on your shopping trips today!


Friday, May 20, 2011

Personalized Baby Shower Gift

We had a baby shower at work today for a lady having twin girls.  I wanted to do something other than the norm for a gift (and also something that wouldn't take too long to make) so I went looking and found some frames I bought at Michael's that would be perfect.
I knew the nursery is pink and purple so I went with those colors.  I drilled holes in the top and painted the frames pink.
Next I got out my paint pens and put some white polka dots on them.
Next I put the baby's names on with a purple paint pen.
And then put some ribbon I found in my stash through the new holes to make a hanger.
And here they are!

Quick, easy, and something different!  What do you think?