Monday, April 30, 2012

Mother's Day Present

What are you giving your mom for a Mother's Day present? (Or what do you want for a Mother's Day present?)

Shutterfly is offering $15 off and order of $15 or more, so you could potentially get an almost free Mother's Day present, you'll just need to pay shipping. Use code WPHR-53D4-M76X-R1VVMT,  but quick!!

I spent a bit more and got an Iphone case for my mom...

Custom iPhone Case
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Just Breathe

Today I had a 'just breathe' moment. One of those moments that I really wanted to lose it. I could hear the sigh and anger tinted words rising to the surface...

It was 1:30. We were late for naptime already. We had had a busy day already, gotten up and straight out to make it to MOPS at 9:00am, (and let me tell you, if you don't already know, getting 4 kids under 3 out the door by 8:45am is quite the ordeal.) But back to 1:30pm, I had just put the two babies down and headed into my daughter's room, ready to power through two stories, a few tuck ins, and get to the breakfast and lunch dishes... but instead I found the two 3 year old girls laying on the floor next to the bed. Then I hear, "Bridget, look!" from my little 3 year old day buddy. My daughter looks up with wide eyes and says, "It was a asklident" and goes back to scraping the ginormous pile of teeny tiny fish food balls, which when you scrape them up on carpet, if you didn't know this, they actually just fling and bounce to amazing heights.

What I wanted to do and what I did were two very distinct things. My frustration lies in the fact that we had already had quite a few discussions on how she wasn't supposed to move her fish tank, (oh, yes, my 3 year olds like to show that they are big and can carry it), and she wasn't supposed to feed them without mommy or daddy. Yet, here we sit, amidst a giant pile of fish ball food.

What I did do was sit down, put my head in my hands, and just breathe. I took a few deep breaths and thought about what I should say. When I raised my head all I said was, 'this is so sad' to which I glimpsed my daughters eyes grow big again. She said, 'NO!' in her scared little voice. And I just repeated it. I didn't get mad, I didn't lecture, and I didn't threaten. I let her feel the consequences of her own actions as we cleaned... and cleaned and cleaned. Finally I took out the vacuum and sucked up what we couldn't gather.

Yes, our nap was very late. Yes, we lost a few bucks of fish food. Yes, technically my daughter broke a rule. And while I was vacuuming I did contemplate taking her fish away. I contemplated making her do chores to pay me back for the lost food. Those are all very natural consequences I could have delivered with much empathy. But, you know, I just decided to not mention it again and see what happens.

And I feel good about it. If she decides to feed her fish again without asking, I guess I will have to take them away for awhile, or forever. And that will really be sad. But, as for today, I respected her desire to be big. I respected her real feelings of wanting to grow up. And, most importantly, I respected her as a person. A real person with a brain, personality, and wishes all of her own. She may only be 3, but I know when she says, "I climbed a mountain (which by the way means a grassy hill) without a mommy or a daddy!" She is really saying, "I am my own person! I can do things on my own!" and if that means she wants to experiment feeding her fish, well I guess I will help her clean up her mistake with love, and we can learn together.

I am so happy I took a moment to just breathe.

Natural Family Planning

Here is a saving money strategy... use Natural Family Planning for your birth control and/or to help you get pregnant. I am on my 4th month using NFP and I am hooked. I know it has a bad wrap for not being effective, but used properly, like they teach, it is more effective than birth control. The reason it can fail is because it leaves room for human error, it is the human that has to decide if they are fertile or not. But, let me tell you, NFP makes it really easy to figure out as long as you are doing your recording.
I took my class through the Couple to Couple League. I have never felt more empowered about my body. There have been times where I didn't know what my cycle was doing, why I got such erratic periods, but I have since learned that I have very regular cycles, I just have breakthrough bleeding sometimes. Just by recording my temperature each morning I can clearly see when I ovulate. And it feels so wonderful and natural not to have a foreign object or hormones put into my body. My body is now the way that God created it, and I can enjoy the freedom of not having to worry about what any little pill is doing to my insides.

Plus, the reason I'm posting it here, it is pretty much free birth control. I had to buy a thermometer, I think it was $6, and every so often I have to copy my charts at about $.05 a copy. Not too bad compared to people who pay for birth control each month, somewhere around $30 a month depending on your insurance.

I took a class, too, but you could read the book and follow it. I use the Natural Family Planning book as a reference constantly.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Earth Day Activities

What are you doing for Earth Day at your house? I am doing some home preschool with my 3 year olds, so we are doing this Earth Day craft:

I found the activity HERE.

I love projects where you don't need to buy anything! All you need are some markers, paper, paint, and a coffee filter. I use a reusable coffee filter, so I'm going to substitute a paper towel... we'll see what happens!

HERE is a preschool Earth Day worksheet I made for my home preschoolers. It is very adaptable to what you want to do with it, depending on how crafty you are feeling! (Otherwise known as how much mess you want to clean up :) ) You can color it with blue and green crayons or markers, or glue blue and green tissue paper on it. You can color a coffee filter blue and green, spray it with water so it 'tie-dyes' and glue that to the circle. You can glue dirt and sticks and leaves that you find on an Earth Day walk on it. Put stickers of animals or trees or other nature stuff. Have the kids draw trees and grass and flowers. Make a collage of magazine pictures of nature things...

the possibilities are endless! Comment on how you used my Earth Day worksheet to share your brilliant ideas!

Here are some other cute Earth Day ideas I pondered...
Find this one HERE.
 Find this one HERE. I think we might do this one as well, because they are having trouble remembering their letter E! We might just make ours skinnier so it is lighter ;)
Find this one HERE.

Happy Earth Day Crafting!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Earth Day!

Earth Day is coming up on Sunday, April 22nd. Are there any free events going on around you?

Denver is having it's Earth Day Festival from 10-2 on Wednesday, April 18th. If you are a Metro Denver Resident you could check it out for something to do! I've never been, but the website says you can learn tips and tricks to help the environment and save money!

My $6 Tire Swing

This blog is dedicated to Stay at Home Moms making it work by saving money, right?

Well, my kids were just dying for swings. They absolutely adore them. So I was looking, and I could get a basic swingset from Walmart for $80. That was the cheapest. I guess that's not so bad. But $80 is $80. So I had a creative brainstorming session. and my tire swing was born. All 3 of my older girls can sit on this thing at the same time and swing and spin to their hearts desire. Instead of $80, this thing ran me at $6 plus some change. Not to shabby!

1. Go to Big O Tires (or wherever they sell tires) and ask for an old tire headed for the dumpster- free
2.  Go to Walmart or somewhere and get a thing of outdoor rope with a good amount of weight limit (mine held 144lbs, and I put 4 of them on there, so it will hold 576lbs, so I should be good!)
3. Drill 4 holes through the top of your tire for the ropes, and 4 holes through the bottom for water drainage. 
4.Clmb your tree, or get out the ladder, and throw two ropes over a giant branch. Then tie all 4 ropes together in one big knot. 
5. Tie your tire on with heavy duty knots. 
5. Enjoy the sunny weather!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Free Activity for Saturday April 14

Looking for something to do for free today in the Denver Metro area?

Today is the Arvada Kite Festival 
· Kite contests at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. - Two age groups,10 years and younger and 11 years and older (including adults) with four kite categories in each age group: smallest, largest, highest, most visually appealing. Trophies awarded! - Jeffco Brass Band for your enjoyment at 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
· Children can make and decorate a small kite for free. Also, kites for sale at reasonable prices.
· YMCA fun, fitness games
· Alpacas to pet and wool to dye
· Two jumping castles, Cecilia's Little Train
· Art fun, face painting, balloon animals, caricaturist and portrait artists
· Over 20 food and community vendors
 · DJ music all day long

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter Clearance Deals

Like my previous post said, now is the time for Easter clearance! I got a few things for our baskets for next year, as well as some general gifts just to go in my gift box. Here are my finds from today:

 These doggies were from Walmart's Easter clearance, I got them for $1.48, originally 2.97. I got 5 of them, one for each of my kids and the kids I watch during the days for our Easter party next year! They are so soft and adorable, I want to give them to them now, but will stuff them into the Rubbermaid as soon as I can :)

I got these mini Cinderella dolls from Target for $1.49 each, (originally $3.99, $19.96 for all 5, I got them for $5.96 for all 5!) These will probably be little  Christmas gifts or stocking stuffers.

 These plates were .89 each! (originally 2.99.)
 These stickers will either go in my eldest's Easter basket next year, or we will use them for Easter crafts and activities. They were .89 as well, originally $2.99.
 There were $1.19 each, originally $3.99. If you have little girls you know that anytime you can get Disney Princess stuff on sale you do :) These will be Christmas stocking stuffers I think.
 I got this craft to do with the kiddos next year. It was $1.50, originally $5.00.
 Cute cupcake eggs for $0.60, originally $2.
And just a side note, this wasn't in the Easter clearance but combining two coupons I was able to get these lifesaver candies for $0.14. You can find links to the deal on any couponing website, like the buttons I have on the right!

A big thank you to All Things Target for my inspiration!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Saving Money Tips: Easter Clearance Time!

It's Easter Clearance time!! Go to a few stores, Walmart, King Soopers (known in our neck of the woods as the pink cookie and horsey store), Target, and check out their Easter clearance. Pick out some good gifts for next years Easter baskets, (probably not candy! but chapsticks, toys, egg dying kits, etc.) It is all atleast 50% off now, with more coming off soon! I go early and get the good stuff for 50% off, because that will go fast, then I go back a few days later and get more at 75-90% off.

Pack it all away with your Easter baskets and decorations in a rubbermaid tub labeled Easter. I put my Easter books in there, and even my files for Easter coloring pages and anything I used when I was a teacher. Then next year at Easter, just pull out your rubbermaid and decorate and save some money on your Easter baskets!

If you are a couponer, check out the coupons in your binder. I found a Nestle Cookie Dough coupon for $1 off a package of cookie dough, then combined it with the 50% off sale at King Soopers to get packages of cookie dough for .49 each. I make meals for a ministry at our church that brings meals to moms who've just had babies, so now when I make them dessert I can whip out some easy cheap cookies, and they are just chocolate cookies with spring colored chips, so they aren't necessarily Easter cookies.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Paint Your Own Wine Glasses

Here's a cute frugal homemade gift idea...

I found some really nice wine glasses at Ross on clearance for 1.99 each. Then I got a $5 set of glass paint at JoAnns, it even came with a paintbrush! Overall, around $9, $4.50 each, for a gift for my two amazing Love and Logic teachers. They set up a bottle of wine for us at every class, so it is a gift they can use when they teach.

This was my first set ever, so I learned some tricks, like I don't think I'll do the gold so thick next time, but overall they are so ridiculously cute! I love giving thoughtful, personalized gifts, and I also love when I can make them for cheap, since I'm on the stay at home mom budget.

I know some of you are thinking end of the year teacher's gifts... but these would work for any homemade gift! (... well, as long as the receiver likes to drink wine...)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Work From Home Idea for Stay at Home Moms

Have you  heard of this company? I saw their ad posted on Craigslist and thought it looked pretty cool...
 They are a virtual personal assistant company. Click HERE for their website.

Here's a link to apply.

Seems like a good way to make some money while you're staying home with your kiddos?

ps I am in no way related to this company. I am passing on a link I found on Craigslist, that is all I know about them.

Easter Craft for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

This Easter bunny craft turned out pretty adorable...
My 3 year old's Easter Bunny
We painted our hands with white paint, (I put a glob of paint in each kids' palm, then had them rub their hands together, their favorite part), then I had them put their hands on the paper. Then we trooped off to the bathroom hands held high and washed the paint off.

Another 3 year old's Easter Bunny
 While the hand prints were drying we cut out all our shapes. I cut the big circle for the head, then had my 3 year old girls cut out two eyes, and one pink nose. After they had them all ready, we glued the white circle on, then the eyes and nose.

The last step was getting out a red and black marker to make the pupils, whiskers, and smile. On my daughter's bunny one hand print was too far away so we did a new one, one pupil took over the eye, and the mouth kind of started above the nose, but that is the magic of child created art! 
Her almost 1 year old brother's Easter Bunny
 If you did this with babies you would pretty much do all of it, but it's still way cute, and if you're doing it for a child's parents they will love it.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Why Coupon?

I just learned couponing a few months ago. I'm so sad I didn't know about it my whole life! It is quite a cool hobby for a frugalistic like me. Jenny from Bargain Blessings came to our MOPS group and gave us a quick run down. You should check out her blog if you have time, and especially if you live in Colorado like us. But let me just give you a sample of why you should coupon...

Today we ran to King Soopers, in a freak March snow storm, yes I choose the day of the snowstorm to drag my 3 children to the store. Luckily hubby said he'd stay home with the sleeping one!

So, anyway, we splashed through the melted snow puddles while losing boots and throwing hats and there were big promises of free cookies and horsey rides, I love King Soopers, for good kids who don't play chase or hide and seek in the store. I just really needed a few essentials to get us through another week, because last week the sales were so good I stocked up on a lot of stuff.

But as I passed the door my eyes spotted some pads on manager's clearance, another reason I love King Soopers. I grabbed 5 boxes of Kotex pads for $1.39 each. Pretty good deal already, but then I checked my handy dandy coupon binder... and found 5 matching coupons for $1 off each box. So now I got 5 boxes of pads for .39 each!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Just the Beginning...

I'm just beginning this blog. If you've stumbled across this already, please understand it is just getting started up, and check back soon! Preferably after naptime :)