Posts tagged ‘cheap’

March 8, 2011

FREE 8×10 Canvas!

I have SO many photos of my kids…on my computer.  I need to get some of them printed!  This is a great opportunity to get a super deal on wrapped canvas prints.  Canvas People is offering {for a limited time, so hurry!} a free 8×10 canvas or $50 off a larger size.  Check it out here!  FREE 8×10 CANVAS

February 15, 2011

A different kind of love affair…

I have something to get off my chest.  I have mixed feelings about this, but the heart wants what the heart wants.  Well {whisper} I’m cheating on my ol’ faithful! {gasp!}  While shopping at Michael’s yesterday I fell in love.  I was powerless to stop the feelings that overcame me.  I don’t think The Hubs will be all too thrilled with me, but I just couldn’t help it.  I had to do it.  There’s nothing necessarily wrong with my old one, but the new one is just so much more exciting, ya know?

I just HAD to buy this a-DOR-able little glue gun!

{my new love}

Ain’t it cute?!?!

If you recall, I married into my other glue gun, but at just $4.99 I just couldn’t leave this one at the store 🙂

February 15, 2011

Love is in the air!

The Hubs is one of those who thinks Valentine’s Day is a lame Hallmark holiday, but he “celebrates” it to appease me {what a guy}.  This year {in the spirit of lowering my expectations}, I decided to try a few things with the kids to make it a day of celebrating love in a FUN way!  I think we all had a good time, it was special, and it didn’t cost much at all.

Miss A and I started our celebration a little early on Sunday afternoon with custom heart-felt manicures.  A wanted red, pink AND fuchsia {why not?}, so we alternated the colors, then topped them off with hearts drawn on with a nail art pen.  I painted my nails fuchsia and did 1 heart on my thumb 🙂

{I ❤ this manicure}

 Monday morning I had a special breakfast for the kids: Jell-O jigglers! {I know, I don’t usually share the kids’ names, but I wanted to show the Jell-O 🙂 }

Of course, in my true {un}perfect impulsive way, I decided to make the jigglers the night before and had to use what I had on hand.  Jigglers take 4 boxes.  I had 2 Grape, 1 sugar-free Strawberry and 1 sugar-free Raspberry.  Made for an interesting flavor…

{darn his long name and our little plates!}

{He said, "Yum! I wuv Jeww-O! Hey, how did the Jeww-O know my name??"}

I love making treat bags for the kids’ holiday parties–this one was no exception.  And because my kids LOVE them, I slaved and included some pretty cute cake pops.

{another pic because they're just so cute!}

{my little heart breaker}

{A's teacher painted hearts on the kids' faces--so cute!}

Regrettably, I didn’t get a pic with The Hubs, but honestly, neither of us was looking too hot that morning.  He did, however give me a nice card and a certificate for a mani/pedi/massage.  Ahhh…can’t wait!    I, being equally sweet, gave him this:

{card by}

That evening I spent a romantic evening with some of my girls, watching the Bachelor.  I made these bad boys especially for them! 

{chocolate cake pops made with chocolate frosting and chocolate candy coating--for my chocolate loving Valentines!}

{C.Y., J.J., K.N.}

February 9, 2011

Oh happy day!

Today was my birthday and it was such a fun one!  In the past I’ve had super high expectations for this once-a-year celebration.  You know what happens when you have really high expectations?  They almost never get met, then you’re left with disappointment.  Not fun.  This year I collaborated a bunch with God to lower my expectations and truly appreciate every little thing that came my way.  And you know what?  It was an incredible birthday!  Seriously, the best.  I started out last night enjoying some trash TV {The Bachelor} with my girlfriends.  We had wine, fun and a lot of laughs.  I even got an early gift of…comfort food!  My girl C.Y. brought me a box of Wheat Thins {HA!} and another fave–a Starbucks gift card.  Yum.  I just love Monday nights with the girls.  We “partied” until it was officially my birthday, then we went home to crash.

{with my friend/neighbor J.J.--showing off my rosette necklace}

This morning I got to sleep in a bit, then went downstairs to gifts from my fam.  Monkey A was more than happy to give me her sweet card {one that plays a song…which will inevitably become HER card to listen to over and over} that included a gift card to one of my favorite cheap/trendy stores: Charlotte Russe 🙂  The Hubs had made me a card with a poem he had written about our last year {love his poems!} and another CR gift card.  Yes!  A informed me {stage whisper} that M’s card contained a 3rd CR gift card.  WOOHOO!  However, M was insistent that I not open his card until I was eating birthday cake.  That’s what you’re supposed to do; that’s what he did.  🙂 

After breakfast we got in the car and headed west a bit {but not before using part of my Starbucks card, of course} to join my mom, my friend A.M. and her kids for our “usual”.  Our “usual” is most parents’ nightmare.  But we love it: Chuck E. Cheese’s!  Honestly, where else can you go and, for under $25, enjoy lunch and 3-4 hours of adult conversation while your kids run around FULLY entertained?  Ok, maybe there are a few other places, but we seriously love our regular CEC “dates”.  We have found that Tuesday mornings are usually pretty dead around there.  And we’ve been there so many times over the last 2 years that the manages know us by name.  They now help us find the best coupon codes, sneak our kids extra tokens and tickets {M calls one manager “Sneaky Tony”}, bring special treats for them…it’s our own personal kid-friendly Cheers!  And ok, I have to admit that A.M. and I have a favorite game we like to play as well 😉  No cake was consumed {I’m trying to actually complement my working out by sort of watching what I eat}, but M agreed to let me open my card {another musical one, of course} over my birthday pizza {I said “sort of” watching what I eat…}, especially since I was opening my gifts from A.M. 🙂

{A.W. and A.M. at C.E.C.}

After a fun and full day at CEC, the kids and I headed back home just in time to pick up the house a bit before the babysitters came over.  Warning: you’re about to be totally jealous.  Our two neighbor girls {ages 12 and 14}, who our kids adore, babysit FOR POINTS!  Yep, for about half the year they don’t accept money for babysitting.  Their church has a point program where the kids earn points by doing things like shoveling {yes, we’ve been on the receiving end of that one too!}, babysitting, and other forms of helping.  If the kids earn a certain number of points, the church will pay their way to summer camp in full.  It’s awesome!  So…after our super-sitters arrived, another friend dropped over to bring me yet another of my comfort food staples: Diet Dr. Pepper!  Not only that, but a new tube of lip gloss.  I’m a little more than slightly obsessed with lip gloss and I LOVE trying new stuff.  Perfect little birthday surprises!  The Hubs and I headed to the mall to do a little bit of shopping before our dinner reservation.  Once at the restaurant, we ran into not one, not two but THREE sets of friends!  Two sets were celebrating birthdays today as well.  The Hubs and I enjoyed a delicious dinner, I had some incredible wine and a cute little complimentary dessert.  And even better–we used our GROUPON {if you haven’t checked it out yet, you need to!  Click here}, so it was half price!  Oh, how I love saving money 🙂

{The Hubs and me}

{random run-in with J.S. and K.S.}

{fun birthday treat}

{isn't it cute??}

Now here I sit, so grateful, a heart full of love and toasty warm in my University of Michigan Snuggie… Amazing how when we lower our expectations, they’re almost always exceeded!  As my mom says, We need to raise our expectations of God and lower our expectations of people. People will let you down, but God never will.  Right on, Mama; right on…

February 4, 2011

Why? Because I FELT like it!

Felt flowers, that is 🙂  In my search for zipper flower tutorials, I came across these darling little felt rosettes and knew I had to try some.  Can I afford another addiction?  Well…too bad, I’ve got one.  Quick and easy, these little suckers.  Sweet on hair accessories, but also super fun for embellishing a myriad other things!  I’ve got this royal blue shirt that’s cute enough on its own, but let’s face it–it’s pretty boring.  But add a few dark gray felt flowers with pearly centers and VOILA!  Super duper cute!  But here’s my problem:  If 1 flower is good, 4 flowers are great, right?  The problem is that I don’t really want to stop at 4, but I think I should.  What do you think?

{blah blue before}

{adorable azul after} {I know you love my alliteration}

{close-up of Sorry it's 1am and I can't think of anything that starts with "c"}

What do you think–should I work up a tutorial of this one?

February 2, 2011

A Greener Cleaner

A friend of mine from high school owns a company called Greener Cleaner, an enviro-friendly cleaning company. She makes her own plant based cleaning products and customizes the scent to the liking of her clients.  {How cool is that?!}   I recently asked her to send along a “recipe” that’s GREEN all around–good for the environment as well as the budget.  This one’s a  fun drain cleanser/deodorizer you can make and use with your kids:
~1~ Vinegar
~2~ Baking Soda
~3~ Your Favorite Scents {essential oils} – this is where we would customize!  I usually choose Orange with a hint of Lavender for its antibacterial properties. 
~4~ Measuring Cup


Now grab your goodies and head to the bathroom or kitchen sink!  Yup, that’s where we’re headed!  Also, call the kids; it’s going to be time for cleaning fun!  Hey, you want your kids to grow up to know how to do the basics, and to learn a few tricks along the way.  And while you’re at it, teach them how to take care of the earth!
Step1) now that you’ve arrived @ your destination, you’re going to sprinkle about 1/4C Baking Soda into the drain in the sink.  ~ I keep mine in a “shaker”, sort of looks like the Parmesan cheese holder @ Pizza Hut.  Can pick them up @ Hobby Lobby for about $2.  Label with Avery Label and Keep in Greener Cleaner Caddy!

{also a good opportunity to teach your kids about math and measuring}

{shake it, baby, shake it!}

Step 2) Now that your drain is nice and powdery {and hopefully one of your kiddos feels really proud–and you do too.  You’re teaching them how to clean, one chore you can “give away” and they feel “bigger” being able to help out.  And after all, a family is a team, right?}, you’re going to mix about 1/2C white vinegar with your essential oils/fragrance -for example: 2 drops Orange essential oil {I used the “grapefruit blush” fragrance I got from Hobby Lobby and used in the lotion}, 1 drop lavender essential oil. 

{sniff, sniff...lavender and vinegar??}

Step 3) SLOWLY pour this mix down the drain.  The slower the better {for the kids’ sake, mostly}, as your “experiment” is working right before your eyes!  The kids will love the dramatization and the vinegar will react with the baking soda {think science fair volcano!} to take all the gunk off the walls of the pipes as it flows down. 
**Follow these steps on all your drains–bathroom, shower, kitchen, and laundry room–about once a month as routine maintenance.  It’s quick and easy; nothing to it, really.  It lasts a long time and smells so fresh!  {My little Helper A was concerned about the smell of the vinegar, but it goes away quickly, I promise!}

{here comes the exciting part!}

{bubble, bubble...with some stuck-on food just for good measure}


I had A helping me through the process–she just LOVES to help!  We did 2 kitchen drains, 3 bathroom drains and one shower drain {my other shower houses all of the items that I’ve listed on eBay that are waiting to be purchased 🙂  So no drain to be cleaned there!} and it took less than 5 minutes!  And now, seriously, I can smell the grapefruit blush & lavender scent all throughout the house.  {SIGH of contentment}  I’m so not a cleaner, so this trick totally works for me:
Easy?  check
Easy on the clock {quick}?  check
Easy on the wallet {cheap}?  check
Easy on my mind {don’t have to worry about A & M inhaling dangerous chemicals}?  check
Easy on the nose?  oh yes, check!
February 1, 2011

Pump It!

Hey there…anybody snowed in yet?  We’re hunkering down for the “Big Blizzard of ’11” here in the midwest.  Got my workout in this morning and I’m coming to grips with the fact that school will most likely be canceled tomorrow {booo!}, but I might need to send the Hubs out to the grocery for some milk.  If you’re snowed in {and have the supplies} now is the perfect time to try making some zipper flower accessories or some skincare products, wouldn’t you agree?  Has anyone out there tried the lotion or chapstick yet?  What did you think? 

 I love the lotion, but last night I thought I’d experiment a little bit.  I wanted to see if I could make a slightly thinner version of the lotion {it ends up pretty thick and creamy} that could go in an old lotion pump bottle.  I also wanted to try adding a little coconut oil for added benefits and moisturizing. 

 I started with the original recipe of 1/4 C emulsifying wax but I substituted some of the olive oil with coconut oil–about 1 Tbsp coconut oil, then added enough olive oil to fill the 1/4 cup measuring cup the rest of the way.  I melted it like before {60 second in the microwave}.  Then, instead of using 1-1/4 C water, I used 1-1/2 cups.  This morning I checked the lotion {setting it overnight on the counter–didn’t want to make my previous mistake of letting it set in the fridge!} and it was still pretty thick so I added another 1/4 C water and put the lotion in the microwave for about 45 seconds.  Then I stirred the concoction to blend it.  Perfect!  The lotion was still creamy-dreamy, but thin enough to put into the lotion pump bottle and pump successfully.  I’m sure you could probably add even more water if you wanted to.  I’d guess a total of about 2 cups of water {rather than the original 1-1/4 cups}.  Not only will it dispense from a regular lotion bottle, but you’ll end up with more lotion!

Stay warm, friends!

January 13, 2011

A girl and her glue gun

If there’s one tool {crafting or otherwise} that I wouldn’t want to go without, it would be my glue gun.  I married into this little mini–it’s old and homely, but I love it anyway!  It has saved me many times over.  I use it for the hair bows I make for Monkey A {and to sell occasionally}, all kinds of craft projects…remember the zipper ring when the super glue just didn’t cut it?  Yep, my trusty glue gun saved the day!  I even use my glue gun for fashion emergencies.  I got a pair of tall brown riding boots to wear with my black LC leggings.  Because I like to change things up with the trends, I tend to buy less expensive shoes/purses/clothes/etc.  {these boots were on sale for $34.99 when I got them–now they’re $29.99!  Hurry up and get yours!}  As much as I love these boots, the inner lining just didn’t hold up for me.  It ripped right at the heel/bottom of the zipper when I put my foot in once.  After a few weeks of using a shoe horn to get into the left boot every time I went to put them on, I said, “enough is enough!” and I grabbed the super glue.  After getting nothing but my fingers stuck together, I turned to my trusty old glue gun.  Success!  One of these days I’ll learn that in most of my scenarios, glue gun trumps super glue!


{so sad}

{glue gun = great fix on the fly}

Now, back to wearing my favorite boots sans the sweating, frustration, and shoe horn!

January 2, 2011

Better late than never, eh?

On New Year’s Eve, The Hubs and I had a few couples over for a low-key evening.  Part of the evening involved me showing off my awesome skills with lotion and chapstick, which also gave me the chance to take a few pics.  True to my {un}perfect life, this would be the one time I’d run into trouble with the super-duper-easy-to-make lotion.  Oy!  I’m still not totally sure what went wrong, but there ended up being a layer of thick creamy lotion on top of a milky white watery substance in the bottom of the jar.  As I went back to the original recipe at A Sonoma Garden, I saw that the temperature of the wax/oil mix and the water has to be correct in order for it to set right.  Fortunately I made it work…I gave the jars a good stir and heated the mixture up just a bit {1/4 pint jars = 30 seconds}.  That seemed to fix my problem.  Now I just need to figure out where I went wrong in the first place.  {Update: I made another batch last night and left the jars on the counter to set rather than putting them in the fridge.  The lotion set up perfectly–no separation at all!}

Ok, enough about my issues…on to the photos!



  • 1/4 Cup emulsifying wax
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • 1-1/4 Cup water
  • Essential oils

{wax & oil}

Measure the wax and oil into a microwave safe dish.

{melted waxy oiliness}

Heat it until the wax has melted {about 60 seconds – 155 degrees}

{time for the scent}

Heat the 1 1/4 cup water for about 30-40 seconds {120 degrees}.  While the water is heating, add a few drops of whatever yummy scented essential oil{s} you’d like.  I’ve used my trusty lavender {from my laundry detergent}, or tea tree oil {remember, it has anti-bacterial properties?  Sort of an all-natural antibacterial lotion, if you will}, or a “grapefruit blush” fragrance that I got at Hobby Lobby {yum!}.

{like magic!}

Now watch in amazement–as you pour the hot water into the wax/oil mixture, it turns milky white!  How cool is that?!  {Sorry, I’m easily amused}  The lotion should be about 125 degrees at this point.

{pour away}

Pour the milky lotion liquid into your jar/container of choice.  This recipe makes a pint of lotion.  The jar pictured is a 1/2 pint jar, but I just bought some 1/4 pint jars that are pretty cute, too…and the recipe fills 4 of them!  {I’m good at math, huh?}

{Doesn't everybody keep lotion, Sprite and broccoli together in their fridge?}

This may be where I went wrong.  I think I shouldn’t have put the lotion in the fridge to set.  Again, I’m impulsive and impatient {do you sense a pattern here?} and couldn’t wait “overnight” for the lotion to set, so the fridge seems like a logical option.  Maybe it cooled it too fast and that’s how the separation occurred?  Anyway, don’t put it in the fridge, just let it sit on your counter for a few hours to set.  {Definitely where I went wrong–when I made a batch and let them set overnight on the counter, it worked perfectly}

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s photos: deodorant!

December 29, 2010

{Un}Chemicalled {aka all-natural} Beauty Products

So, have I mentioned that I’m not perfect?!  🙂

I am SO good at starting things, but often fail to follow them through to completion.  Can anyone feel me on that?

I’ve been busy, busy, busy this Christmas season taking a brief trip back to my craftiness.  For gifts for some of the women in my life I MADE all-natural lotion, chapstick and deodorant {yes, I took another stab at the homemade deodorant}!  Oh my goodness…super-duper fun.   I haven’t taken any pictures {yet!} of the process, but I will point you directly to my source at A Sonoma Garden.  I’m going to give the deodorant one more shot at controlling my WAY {un}perfect stinkiness!  The thing I like a lot better about this new recipe than the first one is that it has cocoa butter and shea butter and feels oh-so-good on my pits.  I think I may have to use a little more tea tree oil {which has all-natural antibacterial properties} than I’ve been using.  I’ve been holding back because it’s a strong scent, but for crying out loud, I need something to cover the “scent” of my B.O.!  Ok, enough about my stinkiness…  The lotion is THE easiest thing to make.  Seriously, unbelievably easy.  The toughest part for this “want-what-I-want-when-I-want-it” mama was waiting for my shipment of supplies from Mountain Rose Herbs.  And besides being easy, it is also of the feels oh-so-good persuasion.  Speaking of oh-so-good…the chapstick!  I can’t say enough about it all!  Lovin’ my all-natural, free of {un}perfect chemicals, beauty products.  Try them–let me know what you think!

Oh, and these products {while they may require a small investment up front–like $20-40, depending on how many of the recipes you attempt} are easy on the budget too!  The supplies make so many batches–great gifts and plenty to stock up for yourself.  Maybe you could share supplies with a friend or two to cut down on the cost even more?  Have a make-you-own beauty supplies party!

We now return me to my regularly {un}scheduled {un}perfect life…

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