Monday, January 28, 2013

Barnwood Family Name Sign

This weekend I spent a few hours, quite a few, sitting in the sunshine sanding and painting and creating. The inside of the house went to pot this weekend, but I was so happy to be able to spend some time being crafty in the sunshine!

Here is the fruit of my labour
(I'm heading to my cousin's wedding this weekend, so it's one of their wedding presents.)

Now, I've never seen their house, but decided that because in their save-the-date they were sitting on bales of hay a barnwood family name sign would be well accepted! I sure hope they love it!

If your curious, here was the process:
 1. Sand down the old barnwood until it was smooth... or smoothER.

2. Apply a few coats of Minwax PolyShade in antique walnut. The wood really soaked it in, so I think I did 3 coats. The picture shows the original color of the wood on the bottom, and the wood with stain on the top.

3. Paint the name and year of their wedding with antique white acrylic craft paint (found in the hobby/craft section.) Some could choose to use stencils here, but I free handed it.
4. Sand the wording off a bit to show the wood patterns through, and give it an older look.

5. Put another light and quick layer of poly shade over where you sanded to make it look even.

6. Attach a picture hanger in the back.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Coupon Saturday

This Saturday I had one priority... hit the King Soopers Mega Event armed with coupons before it ended. I spent about 20-30 mins organizing my plan (I like to write my grocery list in the order that I walk the store, produce to dairy) and matching coupons using the Bargain Blessings website, (and I always read the comments, too, because readers find great finds!!), got the girls' movie player, snacks, and headed to the store.

I used THIS page to match up my sales and coupons.

Here are my spoils... all for $30.32 (plus I had to get full price $5.19 Soynut Butter for my daughter's preschool lunches.)

All in all I got/spent:

(just sale prices)
9 black beans for $0.49 each
4 big bags of noodles, 2 big boxes of quick cook  noodles, and 4 boxes Betty Crocker mac-n-cheese for $0.49 each
1 gallon milk for $2.19
2 McCormick's Grill Mates marinades for $0.49 each
1 bag Pepperidge farm goldfish for $0.99
1 Markdown whole wheat bread for $1.69
(sale prices plus coupons on top)
6 Good N' Natural granola bars for $0.14 each with a coupon
2 packs of Reach floss I earned $0.10 each on
2 single toothbrushes for $0.79 each
1 box Colgate toothpaste for free
1 Colgate toothbrush for free
1 bottle Johnson's all natural Babywash (part of a baby shower present) for $1.49
4 boxes Hefty Slider bags for $0.24 each
2 cans Rotel diced tomatoes with cilantro and lime for $0.09 each
Neosporin for $1.49
1 GE lightbulb (found in markdown, then used coupon) $0.59
baking soda $0.89

and the soynut butter for $5.19
taxes: $2.05
Total Cost: $30.32
total coupon savings: $61.85
68% savings!

Friday, January 25, 2013

John Deere Hairbows

The National Western Stock Show is in town, and with it all of the excitement around everything western. Big Girl's preschool has western week next week with fun activities, and they are to dress like cowgirls and boys on Thursday. We did not have any 'perfect' hair accessories, so during today's nap-time I remedied that situation...

 John Deere hairbows- does it get any cuter than that!?!??

Little Sis got to model them because Big Girl was sleeping still, though it took some coaxing to pull her eyes away from Calliou... and then to actually smile about it :)

Tutorial to follow!

Monday, January 21, 2013

My $55 Dollar Collage Wall

The wall above our dining room table was big and empty, so I spent a summer gathering old wooden frames at garage sales of all different shapes and sizes and colors. I used some antique white acrylic paint to turn them into this...

The basic cost breakdown:
$12 for frames (all the littler ones I found at garage sales for 50 cents tops. The largest one was from Goodwill for $5)
$12.94 to print off family photos in black and white at Walmart
$5 (a very generous estimate) for acrylic craft paint (found in the craft section at Walmart as well)
$24 (ish) for photo mats. The small ones were all $1.50 at Wallies, the largest one $2, and I'm pretty sure the middle ones were $2 as well. Some of the frames actually came with mats, so I didn't spend the full $24 myself. The mats are all a bit different as well, but once the frames are all painted the same and the photos are all in I think it adds to the character, if people even notice, which they don't.

 The quick steps:
1. buy wooden frames, mats and then the pictures (once you know what size frames you found)
2. take the glass out of the frame and rough up the frames a tiny touch with sandpaper
3. paint the frames with antique white (or any color) acrylic paint
4. lightly sand away the edges and corners
5. put in pictures
6. lay the frames on the floor testing out different arrangements
7. put a touch of toothpaste on the back where the nail will go, stick the frame on the wall where you want it, put the nail where the toothpase is stuck on the wall, wipe all the paste off, and hang your frame

I love this collage in my home. I have pictures of my babies, my wedding, my husband as a baby, siblings, etc. I just love having it, and I love that I can add to it at any time as well. It is actually time for a few new pics...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Easy Valentine's Day Cookies

I love this cookie recipe for Peanut Butter Chocolate Kiss cookies. It's easy and quick to make with your little loves, too. I made them in the shape of a heart for Valentines day.

1 Cup Peanut Butter
1 Cup Sugar
1 egg
36 (ish) Hershey Kisses

Mix 1st 3 ingredients together, use your hands to form little heart shapes on a cookie tray, cook for 9 mins at 350 F. Take out of the oven, stick a kiss in each one, and pop back in the oven for 1 more min.

I snagged a bag of 50% off Christmas Chocolate Kisses and wanted to do something with them, so whipped up a batch of these for my kiddos. Littlest love woke up earliest for her nap so got to help me unwrap the kisses and stick them in the warm cookies, and sample a few kisses herself, and even eat the warm cookie fresh out of the oven... see the chocolate aftermath :)

(don't mind the pre-painted chair... future project... my house is full of them!)


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Homemade Peach Cordial

I love homemade gifts. I especially love homemade gifts that come in a canning jar!

For Christmas this year I put together some homemade peach cordial from some yummy Western Slope peaches.

I found the recipe in an old canning book, (Canning, Freezing and Drying by Sunset.) The first step was to dehydrate some peaches. You could do it in the sunshine, or like I did, cut them in half and put them in a dehydrator until they are mostly soft. I then put them in a ziplock in the freezer because I got the peaches in the summer and wanted to use them for Christmas presents.

Come Christmas time I defrosted them and mixed them up with this recipe:
(I filled about 2 1/2 large mason jars with this recipe. I doubled it to make about 5 jars, though you could do smaller jars to make more.

1lb dried fruit (apricots, prunes with pits, pears, or peaches)
((I used 3-4 peaches cut in half to a big quart mason jar and it worked great...))
3 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 cup brandy
2 cups sugar


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fish Tank Upgrade


In our big girl room upgrade the blue fish tank wasn't cutting it... it didn't look as cute or match the color scheme. Simple fix, a can of spray paint and ...

A pink fish tank to match the room! Slowly but surely this room is coming together...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Barnwood Table

Love this table made out of old barn wood. I found it at a local market and must remember it as we have a garage shelf full of old barn wood!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Robin's Egg Blue Bed

We finally upgraded to a big girl bed! I've been waiting for the perfect bed to appear on Craigslist for a long time. This one was it. An antique twin daybed with a pop-up trundle. The best part was they only wanted $60 for the entire package! So I like to think I got her bed for $30 and her trundle for $30.

Here is the before and after...

I was going to do my classic antique white finish, but Big Girl asked for blue, like the color of the shirt I was wearing. I was against it at first, but then I thought it would actually turn out pretty darn cute... and it really did!

Here's the process...
1. sand the old bed down a bit
 2. paint the new bed Robin's Egg Blue
(yes that is snow on the ground, but I was painting in a t-shirt, you understand if you live in CO)
 3. Lightly sand away the paint on the edges, corners, and a few noticeable places
 4. Take a darker shade of Poly Shade and rub it over the whole bed with gloves and a rag. Let the stain pool in corners and cracks. Wipe away any excess and work relatively quickly. Then let dry and enjoy your bed! My big girl adores it...
 Here it is set up without cute new bedding, but it still looks pretty darn cute!
 There is still some work to be done, but I am too excited and impatient not to post this! My husband has to attach the daybed piece, and I did get cute new flower sheets and a down quilt, but a cute comforter and some hand stitched pillows are in order I think...

Monday, January 7, 2013


One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, 'How was the trip?'

'It was great, Dad.'

'Did you see how poor people live?' the father asked.


'Oh yeah,' said the son.

'So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?' asked the father.

The son answered:

'I saw that we have one dog and they had four.
We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.

We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.'

The boy's father was speechless.

Then his son added, 'Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are.'

Isn't perspective a wonderful thing?

*ps this was emailed to me today, I had no help in it's creation :) 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Homemade lattes a la Starbucks

My darling mother bought me such a wonderful gift for Christmas....
The Mr. Coffee Cafe Latte machine. I cannot say enough good about this machine. These lattes taste as grand as Starbucks without the cost... and it is so easy. Pop coffee and water in the top, put milk and flavorings in the pitcher and hit go. 4 mins later you have a delicious white peppermint mocha or whatever you wish. This afternoon I made a chai latte using chai tea bags where the coffee goes and milk and Splenda on the bottom. It is divine!
If your addicted to Starbucks this might be your ticket to a more budget friendly habit for the new year. I'm not a big Starbucks frequenter, though I do love it, I would buy those flavored creamers even though I knew they must be horrible for me. I didn't even want to read the ingredients... so that is why I am so excited about this!

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Simple Budget System

As wonderful as excel and technology are, I'm just not good at keeping up with it! So I'm giving in and doing a paper and pencil budget this year.

So I am printing off a bunch of these... (click HERE for the word document if you want to give it a try)
I'm going to print off a bunch and put them into my 3-ring-binder planner, (once again, I like the paper and pencil option for my weekly plans and to-do lists. I use THIS one.)

Then I am going to keep it in my car and when I spend money I am going to record it in my car before I leave the parking lot. Hopefully that simple extra step will help me avoid the 'never actually recording my purchases or budgeting at all really because I have 10 loads of laundry to put away' syndrome. Then I'll stick the receipts in a monthly envelope and keep all past months in a gallon-size ziploc. (I already do that because I keep my receipts for taxes for my in home childcare.)

I will post how it's going and more as I get a few months under my belt...

ps i put a few random numbers in there to show you how I use it...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Distressed Kitchen Chairs

Here are my new kitchen chairs. Not new, per se. A $5 per chair garage sail find from the summer. I love the style, but didn't like the color. Here's how they were before:
I guess I didn't take a before picture, so here's a picture of my daughter's bedhead breakfast face sitting in one. You can get the idea, they were an old, beat up brown. So here's what I did... first sanded them up a bit with a Black and Decker mouse sander, though you could do it by hand if you wanted. Then I painted them a dark green and then an antique white on top (both from the markdown section at Home Depot, so only $2.50 each) Pick whatever color you want to show through and paint that on the bottom. Or if you just want white with wood showing through, just paint white on brown.

Then I sanded the white down to get the result I wanted. I wanted to go very distressed with these, so I did a lot of sanding and even hit the chairs with the wrong side of a hammer, (the side you use to take the nails out.)

 Then I used an oak colored poly shade and wiped it over the whole chair with a rag. Wear gloves for this part if you don't want sticky hands for a few hours to days. I, of course, always skip that part and have to deal with horrible hands!! I did a few coats, it gives it a kind of 'dirty' look (of course the darker the color shade you use the more 'dirty' it will look) and also gives it a protective finish. Let the shade gather up and be darker in creases and things where a real antique would have dirt collected, like the little rings on the posts and such.