Friday, January 28, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Because we are essentially a one-income family I’ve had to really get the hang of budgeting. I’m proud to say that I’ve done pretty well so far and I want to share a little of what I’ve learned with the blogging world. Disclaimer: I am not a financial expert. I have just learned a few things that will help the average person with average bills.
Before you can even figure out your budget you need to sit down and figure out where your money is going. Write down all of your bills and monthly expenses. And I mean everything. If you get TV Guide or People magazine each week then you’d better write those down. You may even want to look through last month’s bank statement and figure out how much you spent at places like Target and such. It may help trigger your memory on what you spent your money on (did you really need that new fancy mop when you still have a good one at home?).
After you’ve done this, you need to set your priorities. Is it necessary to pay for the full DVR/Satellite Gold package when you maybe watch 5 channels? Do you need to read about ridiculous celebrities in a a magazine or can you get your fix (let’s face it: we all need the escape from time to time) on the internet? Now, obviously everyone’s priorities are going to be different. Don’t be offended if you are one of those who feels the full satellite package is a priority. We’re just different. once you’ve made the list, this is where you can start making cuts. Start at the bottom and work your way up.
Now it’s time to make your budget. The LDS church has a pamphlet on family finances with a great budget worksheet that can be found here. Once you enter in your monthly bills and know how much you’ll be spending (remember your priorities) then you can figure out how much you’ll have left over for other things. Then you can set a limit of how much you spend for other expenses, like craft money, fun money, etc.
The biggest part of making a budget is sticking to it. It doesn’t matter how well you keep track of your money if you still buy things on impulse while walking through Target (we’ve all been there, it’s just so great!). I mean, if you know you have money set aside for some retail therapy then by all means, but stay within a limit. It’s recommended that you have savings built up enough to be able to support yourself for three months. Obviously you won’t have all this at once, but if you start making cuts and spending less you will be able to slowly build up a great reserve.
So, how do you do your family finances? What tips do you have?
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
So recently my oldest niece turned the big 1-6. Well in keeping with my resolution to hand make all my gifts I knew I had to come up with something good. So I decided on something that I believe every new driver needs : a set of dice to hang from the rearview mirror. I had a set. They were pink . So here’s the tutorial to some super easy but super cute fuzzy dice.
- 2 9x12 pieces of felt (I chose sparkly purple)
- 1 9x12 piece of felt for circles (black)
- hot glue gun
- string or yarn to attach the two
- sewing machine and thread (I tried hot glueing and it was an epic fail)
Step 1: On the back side of the felt, measure out 6 pieces. They need to be equal squares (I made mine 4x4 but you can go smaller). Cut out.
Step 2: Putting two pieces right side together, sew together on edge. Continue doing this until you have four in a row.
Step 3: Sew the two end pieces together. Still keeping the felt inside out, sew the bottom on. Next sew the top on, leaving one side open.
Step 4: Turn the felt right side out. Stuff with batting to desired firmness.
Step 5: Place end of string or yarn in one corner of open edge. Fold edges in and sew together, making sure to sew in the string. Repeat steps 1-5 for other die.
Step 6: Cut out circles of felt. I used a key ring to trace circles. You will need 42 circles. Glue the circles onto the die like a set of dice (hint: opposites sides add up to 7: 1&6, 2&5, 3&4). Repeat for other die. Hang in your car and enjoy!
Monday, January 24, 2011
So today while I was showering (at 12:30, but more on that later) I suddenly couldn’t remember if I had even put conditioner in my hair. Had I washed my face? Yep, it’s one of those days.
You may be asking, why on earth did Brittany not shower until 12:30 in the afternoon. No, readers, I am not that lazy. And I actually do enjoy showering. My morning began at 6, like normal. I made my husband’s lunch, like normal. My niece was dropped off at 6:20, like normal. Unfortunately that’s where the normal stopped. My sister-in-law informed me that my niece had barely slept last night. As she’s telling me this I hear my own toddler waking up. Not normal. My nearly-two year old generally wakes up at about 7:10. It didn’t help that at about 9 last night I hear her screaming for me and I walk in and she tries to hand me the poop from her diaper. But I digress. Usually I shower in between Skylar getting dropped off and Mackenzie waking up. Not today. And I can’t leave them alone while I shower because my daughter is a tornado of destruction. The ensuing hours were filled with screaming, crying, destruction of property, and fighting (I may have contributed a little to some of these). I ate a brownie at 10 in the morning.
But then the light came and both girls fell asleep for the naps early and the house is quiet again. I have slowly regained my sanity in the silence. Now I just need to remember if I ate lunch yet or not….
Friday, January 21, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Ever since my husband and I moved into our house we’ve had a goal of starting our food storage. Besides being told to have food storage by President Monson (we’re LDS) we feel that it’s smart considering we live in a high risk place for both hurricanes and tornadoes. We don’t want to have to fight crowds and such right before a hurricane hits to make sure we have enough food and fresh water. So we’ve slowly started gathering resources. We decided to start with water. One of my friends has this awesome website on Emergency Preparedness here. On her website she has all sorts of emergency prep stuff but the post that’s helped me the most so far has been her post on water. She teaches how to not only sterilize your juice and soda bottles to hold the purified water that comes from our tap, but also how to purify your own water should you be faced with a situation where you need to. So thus I’ve begun to gather water, especially since we go through a lot of juice and have the leftover bottles!
Next I’ll be focusing on food. My ward actually is holding provident living courses this year for the ward and we had our first one this past week on getting starting with budgeting and food storage. They had a lot of great ideas for food storage. I’m excited to get going and once I have something more to report, I’ll write a post about it. But before I go, do any of you have food storage tips and tricks? I would love to hear them!
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Wow! Another organization project! Ok let’s face it, with the new house we just bought and such, I am in desperate need to have things organized. I don’t like having to rummage through things to find what I need. And now that we have more room I have the space to be a bit more organized!
So my most recent project was a ribbon organizer. I had searched in vain for the right organizer. I even had ideas of turning an old spice rack into one. But I could never find the one. So I got a little creative and instead came up with this:
- An old shoe box (I recently got pink converses!)
- box cutter
- mod podge
- letters (optional)
- ribbon to fill it with!
Step 1: Start by tracing the different sides of your box on the back side of your paper. Make sure you have all sides! Cut out all your pieces.
Step 2: Mod podge away! Make sure to glue both the tops and bottoms of your paper for a nice seal. then you won’t have to worry about the paper peeling away in the future. Use your fingers to press down the sides for a nice clean finish. Let dry.
Step 3: Ok, here comes the hardest part. Grab your box cutter and prepare for sore fingers. Figure out how many holes you will need (how many spools of ribbon fit in your box). For me it was 18. So I put 9 holes on each side. I decided to just make slits for each spool. Most slits were 3/4” long, though I included a couple 1” for some of my wider spools. How you space them is up to you since the length of shoe boxes vary (just think how many you can put in a boot box!) Make sure to cut the slits a couple times to insure they’re wide enough.
Step 4: Ok, time to add your ribbon. Now, I doubt your ribbon will just slide on through the openings with no problem (unless you are absolutely amazing with a box cutter. If so kudos to you), so what I did was grab a little of the end of the ribbon with the point of the box cutter and used that to poke through the hole on the inside of the box. Then grab the ribbon from the outside and pull. Continue doing this, alternating which direction the spool comes out (which side of the box) until you have all the ribbon threaded through.
Step 5: If you’re anal like me (I have to add a little something to everything) then you can add letters on the top. I thought it gave it that right touch, you know? Close the lid and your ribbon is all ready for you!
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Ok who doesn’t love getting free things? I mean, seriously, no one, right? Well I especially love getting free things in the mail, so I sign up for free samples all the time. So I thought I’d share my love of free samples with you and the websites I use to find free stuff. What’s great is that occasionally you can even get full size things. You just have to check regularly. The other day I got a coupon for a tub of Cottonelle Moist Wipes. And I’ll be picking up my bottle of Excedrin next time I go shopping.
So here are the two main websites I use for my free samples:
1. www.freeflys.com You do have to register for an account and they will send you emails. A tip I have: sign up for a free email account that you don’t use for anything except samples and such. You will get lots of junk mail and probably don’t want it clogging up your email. Anyway, their samples are kept pretty up to date. I like them.
2. www.shopathome.com This is a website that has coupons, cash back, and samples. But I’m focusing on samples today. Once again, you have to register so use that other email. Now this one has literally hundreds of samples listed. A word to the wise: DO NOT sign up for the samples that first only ask for you zip code or email. Read the fine print. At the bottom it says that you have to fulfill program requirements. This actually means you have to give your credit card information to different sites and you end up spending money. Pretty much a scam. Not worth it for one granola bar. This site also lists all the different restaurants you can sign up for their birthday clubs or fan clubs and you get free meals. there are so many you could practically eat free your entire birthday month!
Those are the two websites I use the most. Like I said, read the fine print. Most of the time it just says something like “one per household” but there are times when other things are required and then it’s not worth it. Also, signing up can be really addicting so just set aside time you’ll sign up or it may consume your life and you’ll look up and wonder when the sign went down and then came back up.
And most important: have fun!
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Once again I’m going with a fairly simple project for my tutorial. But I was thinking about it and really, I haven’t had very many complicated ones. And my feedback I get tells me you’re ok with that! So occasionally I may have a more complicated tutorial but for the most part I’ll stick with the basics that even the most beginner of crafters can do.
So growing up I had this HUGE bulletin board in my room. nothing fancy, just a framed piece of cork board. Well I decided that it would be a great way to display the necklaces I make for craft shows my mom and I do. Of course, I couldn’t have it just plain cork. It needed to have pizazz.
So here’s the before picture:
- Bulletin Board
- Mod Podge
- Paper (enough sheets to completely cover)
- Spray Paint
Step 1: Spray paint the frame of the board. I chose pink because my mom and I decided our colors for all our displays would be pink, black, and white. Make sure you get all the edges. Let dry.
Step 2: Before actually gluing your paper to the bulletin board, arrange it so that it overlaps and such exactly how you want. Remember that once you apply mod podge there is no going back. Start in once corner and apply the mod podge directly onto the cork board. Carefully lay your paper down so that there aren’t any bubbles. I would also recommend tucking it under the frame a little before pressing down. Repeat with all the paper. Finish with a layer of mod podge over the top. Let dry. NOTE: While drying some of those smaller bubbles will disappear as the paper contracts.
And you’re done! See, super easy!
Friday, January 7, 2011
Here ye here ye! Yesterday was our first Theme Day in my new house. I decided to go with something a little easier that didn’t need much prep time (especially since I’ve been busy with other things- like my husband totaling our car in a fender bender). So we had Princess Day.
We started our day by putting on our tiaras and fancy shoes. The girls are very into dress up so they loved it.
Next, I had printed out some princess coloring pages sowe sat down and colored for a bit. I don’t always let them color much (except for outside on our driveway) simply because my daughter is still somewhat in the “wow that crayon looks incredibly yummy” stage. But we did and the girls were so excited about the princesses.
After some playtime it was time for snack. Well naturally princesses all have tea parties on the floor. So we did. I happen to have a couple sugar cookies left over from something that we ate, with our “tea”. The girls loved it and even after they finished their food they continued playing tea party. While they played I prepped our craft. I decided to just make little crowns out of cardstock (really easy)
Once they were ready we sat down and decorated our crowns. I had found these little foam princess stickers awhile back on clearance. plus since the crowns were white we colored them with crayons. The girls had so much fun putting their stickers on. Even my toddler figured out where the stickers went and got so excited about putting stars on her crown. Here they are with their finished crowns:
Overall I would say yesterday’s theme day was a complete success. The girls never fought once while we were doing our various activities. They’ve been fighting a lot lately which has been stressing me out, so it was nice to have a day off from the stress and just have fun together. They thought they were so pretty all day long and really enjoyed being princesses for a day.
A little about me: I'm a stay-at-home mom of a sweet little toddler and I also take care of her cousin during the week. I love crafts and I blog tutorials each week. I also have a random post of some sort on Thursdays and a post on Fridays about our theme day of the week. Hope you enjoy!
Thursday, January 6, 2011
This post is designed to help out my fellow bloggers so if you don’t have your own blog, this post may bore you.
Ok bloggers, want to know a little secret to making your blogging easier and a little more creative? Download Windows Live Writer! You can get it here. It’s amazing! You can easily choose the fonts and colors and such and even download your pictures and videos and then it posts it for you to your blog! It’s super easy to use, especially if you’re familiar with Microsoft Word. Plus it’s FREE! And you can preview what your post will look like on your blog before you publish.
Hope this helps!
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
I have so many projects backed up that I have had quite the predicament trying to decide which one to feature first. I mean, I know I’ll get to all of them, but I just want to do them all! But I did decide and here you go:
I like things organized. I hate when things are just thrown down or stuffed into a basket or cup. Especially keys. Well our sellers left a TON of stuff (don’t worry, we knew about it) and one of them was a key holder. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do want God to bring peace to our home, but I just didn’t like the design, and most especially, the colors of the holder. So my project began.
- Holder (though I suppose you could make one)
- Mod Podge and sponge brush
- spray paint
- Chipboard letters
Step 2: Take out the pegs and spray paint the sides of the holder and the pegs. The pegs will take more than one coat as you’ll need to turn them to get all the sides painted completely. If your letters don’t match you can spray paint them also. Let dry.
Step 3: After the holder has dried and completely, align the precut paper over the holder. By applying pressure, figure out where the holes for the pegs are and put a small x there. Using a hole punch, create holes for the pegs.
Step 4: Apply mod podge to both the front and back of paper and adhere to holder. Smooth the edges of the paper down (time to get messy!) to create a nice smooth finish. Let dry.
Step 5: Using a hot glue gun or other adhesive attach your letters to the holder (obviously letters are optional but I liked the look). Gently tap the pegs back into their holes.
And there you have it! Stay tuned next week for a bulletin board makeover!