Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Fun!!!

First off...I'm so SORRY I missed last week...life happened.  I KNOW you all (all 10 of you that read this religiously) were wondering what happened!!!  Moving on...

So, I'm well aware that this should be the Laundry Room Part 3...but with Halloween right around the corner (in 3 days to be exact), I wanted to share a little DIY I did for both Sweet Pickle and Peanutty's classroom parties.  I took it upon myself to be in charge of games for the kids' classrooms.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE giving out little prizes for the kids, so guess where I headed to find the perfect little somethings???  Did I just hear you right?  Did you just say...Target?  Well, you're right!!!  Thank goodness the dollar bins did NOT disappoint this year.  I also picked up a couple things from Aldi of all places! Here's just a little bit of what I found:
So here's what I scored:

mini Play-Doh - $3.99 for 15 - I purchased 3
20 pack of 20 sticker boxes - $1.99

8 count of Halloween pencils - $1.00 - I purchased 6
50 count of Halloween erasers - $1.00 - I purchased 4
50 count bat rings - $1.00
Tattoo sheets - $1.00 - I purchased 2
8 count vampire teeth - $1.00 - I purchased 2
20 count tattoo boxes - $3.00

All together I spent $31.96.  Seems steep right?  It is.  I admit I went overboard.  My justification?  Halloween just so happens to be my FAVORITE holiday.  I anticipate my involvement in the Little's school parties to be every single year.  Anything left over will just be saved for the following year.  Anywho...moral of the story?  You don't have to go CRAY-ZAY over the fun junk in the dollar bins...but if you're like me, you will!

I decided to do a Bingo game for Peanutty's class.  Whoever gets a Bingo will get to pick a pencil and eraser.  They'll use candy corn as markers for the Bingo game.

I decided to do a bean bag toss game as well for BOTH Peanutty and Sweet Pickles classes.  Originally I was going to use the $.99 plastic pumpkins that you can get anywhere.  I actually used those a couple years ago for Peanutty's classroom game, but the problem with those?  They don't nest.  I was that crazy lady with the huge Rubbermaid tote full of Halloween game supplies.  I don't want to do that again.  I went on a hunt for bowls or SOMETHING that will nest.  Well, I found a cute set at Target.  There were 6 buckets for $10.  Steep?  Yes, but in the big picture, if I would have found them in the dollar bins, I would have purchased at least 6 anyway...so I spent $4 more than I had hoped, but again, I'll be using this game for years to come.  Not to mention we're having a shindig for Halloween that everyone can enjoy!!!  Here's what the  buckets look like:
Super cute!!!  They came with these plastic ping pong ball, but all they'd do would be bounce out.  So, I decided to make some bean bags.  These took me all of 20 minutes to make.  I purchased the fabric at a local store.  I purchased 1/4 yard of each fabric bringing my grand total to $2.00 for all 3 styles:
Yay!!  I purchased some beans at Aldi as well for $1.00:
I cut out two 6x6 inch squares from each fabric:
Did a little pinning (right sides together):
Sewed three of the four edges:
Flipped them right side out:
Filled with my beans...there may or may not have been a little bean spillage from Sweet Pickles extraordinary help:
And sewed up the last side giving us these:

Best part?  It's not rocket science.  It's simple, easy and quick!!!  And as long as the kids don't wipe their noses on them, or lick them, you can reuse them.  I know that's a lot to ask of kids, but hey, we can hope!
Here are the game rules for Peanutty's class (they are elementary level children)

Each child will get to toss each of the 3 bean bags once.  There will be a little prize in EVERY bucket.  If their bean bag lands in a bucket, they get the prize.  If they don't make it in, no prize.  If one or more land in the same bucket, they only get whatever prize is in that bucket.  You're aiming to get your bean bags in three different buckets to earn 3 prizes. 

Rules for Sweet Pickles class (they are 3 year olds):

You get three bean bags to toss.  If you get them in, great!  If not, no biggie.  EVERY child will get a little goody bag with a variety of Halloween goodness in them.

There you have it!!!  Set me back about $42, but I envision a lot cheaper purchasing next year...I hope.  Keep in mind that I budgeted for all of this in the 'School Fund' and the 'Daycare Fund'.  I usually only participate in one of the kids' school parties each year, so in the big picture, it's not too bad...at least that's what I'm telling myself!!!

I hope you all have a safe and warm Halloween!!!  Where I'm at, it's going to be a high of 53 degrees and a low of 36 degrees....EEK!!!  That's super scary!

Next week, I'll post about my last DIY from the laundry room as well as some photos my kids took of me while opening my new 2015 Life Planner.  Sigh.  I love that thing.

Until next week my faithful followers!!!

Side Note:  Not editing.  I have a rabid child that needs fed.
Side Note 2:  I didn't get my chai in today.  Have you?
Side Note 3:  It's taco night.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Laundry Room Part 2: DIY Shower Curtain and Valance

A Happy Tuesday to YOU!!!  First and foremost:  I found my USB thingy!!!  Funny story...You know the little pot that we keep our phones and such in?  No?  Well:

I'm not going to lie...sometimes it acquires a few items that aren't supposed to be in there.  Such as:  coupons, USB thingies, a pen...in this case, a collegiate pin was in there.  You know those round pins that people wear to support whatever they're supporting?  Back in the day, the only pins I had were New Kids on the Block (Joey forever) and Book It.  Well, Peanutty had one that had landed in this pot.  My USB thingy just so happens to be magnetic...you know where I'm going with this.  I'd looked in that pot about 53 times (because things like that appear out of thin air).  I decided it was time to clean it out and when I picked up the pin, it seemed a little heavier than usual.  BOOM!  There was my USB giving me the evil eye as if to say "you're an idiot".  So, I'm happy to report the lost has been found...for now.

Moving on...remember the laundry room I showed you a few weeks back?

I'm going to show you how I made the shower curtain and valance out of about $20 worth of fabric purchased at Hobby Lobby.  Because of the smaller shower size (it's just a simple stand in shower with no tub), I wasn't sure if I was going to find a shower curtain that size.  AND a matching/coordinating valance.  So, I opted to make my own.  After I figured out the colors I wanted to go with, I set out to find the fabric.  I really wanted a chevron print, but I was coming up short.  I found this fabric on sale at Hobby Lobby and rolled with it.  Here are the steps I took to make my laundry room duds:

First thing I did was cut the plastic curtain liner to fit the actual size of my shower.  I made sure the holes on the top were going to be centered on the curtain rod and even on each side.
I spread out all the fabric onto the floor and laid the plastic curtain over the top.  Yes, I could have measured, but I didn't want to do that this time.  I wanted to see how much extra fabric I wanted on each side of the curtain.  I did measure after I did this step and cut.  Again, I allowed extra for seam allowance.  And I'll be the first to admit that I do not cut straight.  I think cutting fabric straight is one of the most difficult things to accomplish.

It was as simple as sewing the edges to give it a nice finished look.  I then sewed button holes to match the holes in the plastic liner.  For the record, I had no idea how to do button holes on my machine...my sweet-as-all-get-out Hubby read the instructions, and then showed me how to do it.  What would I do without him!?!?!  Jealous?  Yeah, you should be. Hehe! 
Put it all together and there you have it!  It was simple and really quite fun!!!


Once I figured out how long and wide I wanted my valance, I cut it and made enough for seam allowance on every side.  I had leftover curtain liner from a project years ago, so I used that as well.  Cut it down to the same size of the patterned fabric.  I put the right sides of it together and sewed all along the perimeter and left the top open.  Turned it right side out and set it aside.  I wanted to do a tabbed curtain.  So the steps above show what I did.  I cut the little strips.  Spaced them out on the valance to see how many I wanted.  Ironed around the folded edges, then sewed them.  Gave them a clean and simple look.

Remember that open top edge of the valance?  I tucked the fabric under, and ironed it to give it a crisp edge.  I then took the tabs, spaced them, and pinned them to where I wanted them.  I then sewed up that top edge with the tabs in place.  They are just hanging out of the top for now, but we will connect them to the back side of the valance to make them actual tabs.
You would pin them to the back side of the valance and then sew across to keep them in place.  Here's an up close pic of what they look like all done:

This is what the back side looks like and the bottom picture shows what the front looks like.  I opted to just sew the tabs, but you could put a full seam from one side to the other. 
And again, the final product.  It was super easy and only took me an afternoon to finish them.  Wahoo!!! 

Side Note: It's too early for me to have an iced chai, but it is in my near future.
Side Note 2:  I ate a toastada for breakfast.  It was delicious!
Side Note 3:  I'm not proof reading this.  Enjoy my mistakes!!!

And that's that.  Hope you all have a great week!!!  Until next time...

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Recipe and Lost USB and NSS. Oh My!

We had a really great dinner gathering with an awesome family we met through our children.  As a parting gift they gave us a dozen fresh picked apples.  I was originally going to make large batch of crock pot apple butter...but my recipe needed agave...I didn't have agave.  AND, our gracious hosts had made a batch of their very own homemade applesauce.  So, I thought I'd give that a whirl instead.  I'm going to toot my own horn...it was freaking delicious!  Not sure if you can mess that up, but I'm sure someone has in the past.  Here's the step-by step:
Guess what these are?  Apples.
Using a peeler, peel the apples.
Using an apple slicer, slice the apples.
Dice the deliciousness. I did pretty small pieces because I wanted it to cook a little faster AND I don't own a potato masher or a hand held mini blender so I wanted these apples to just mush up on their own.
Throw all the apples into the crock pot on the HIGH setting.
Add in the goodness!!!  I did:
12 peeled, sliced, and diced apples
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/8 cup (drizzled all over) honey
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup water
Then you cook on HIGH for about 4-5 hours.  I opened the crock pot about 3 times to stir it up during the last two hours.  The apples mushed up perfectly and made some seriously scrumptious sauce:
Looks quite disgusting, but I assure you it's really good.  Thanks for sharing K Fam!!!

Lost USB:
I still can't find that thing.  It's got to be around here somewhere and I refuse to give up.  I was attempting to be responsible by putting ALL my blog pictures on this thing so I could free up space elsewhere.  Welp, that bit me in the *bleep*.  I'm hoping I can find it soon.

NSS Final Update:
Now, I'd be lying if I told you that I didn't cheat.  I did, I purchased a $2.99 book off of Amazon.  Felt guilty as all get out.  I stuck to my guns and didn't partake in anything that would cost me extra money.  I passed on Starbucks just yesterday AND today.  I DID purchase a cake pop at the Target Starbucks just this morning for Sweet Pickle.  She's been sick, had her finger poked and has YET to whine about it.  The ONLY thing she wanted was a flippin' cake pop.  Sue me.  AND, I DID take my niece out to a movie on Saturday - this was planned this past summer BEFORE I had decided to do the NSS challenge.  So, I used my own money that I'd been saving to have a special day with my niece...worth every penny.  I'm human, I'm going to slip.  Could I do better?  Yes.

My final conclusion on this experiment is that it was a success.  We managed to save a bit of money and also came under budget on groceries the entire month.  What will I take away from this?  Mostly, that I CAN go under budget on our groceries more often than not.  That wasn't the case before this-seemed like we always were going over...it's time to change that.  It was a huge challenge to come up with meals that didn't require additional ingredients, but we made it.  I believe that we will do better about keeping it under budget.  And who doesn't love saving a little money here and there?  I had a lot of people poking fun at me and this challenge, but to all you skeptics out there - BOOYAH!  Did it!!!  Call me "tight wad", "cheapskate" (all in good fun), but I just wanted to see if we could do this.  And we did.  Will I do it again?  Let's just see how next summer goes...

I will NOT be blogging next Tuesday.  I know, I know.  Don't cry, I'll be back on the 14th...hopefully with my freaking USB thingymabobber!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Kids Kalendar & NSS Update

I'm not happy today.  I have lost my USB that holds all my blog pix...including the pix I was going to use for today to breakdown our DIY's for the laundry room update.  Sigh.  I've searched high and low, and even asked Sweet Pickle where it was (she's a little pick pocketing critter) - but have turned up empty handed.  Grrrrr!  I'll be turning this house inside out over the next week to find it.  I. Will. Find. It.  Eh, such is life.  Time to move on. 

School is in full swing at our home.  And a few weeks ago, Peanutty came home from school very upset with me.  Here's the convo:

Me:  Hey Buddy!  How was school today?
Peanutty:  Good.  Except that YOU forgot to put my library book back into my backpack for library today.  So I didn't get to get a new book.
Me:  Oh NO!!!  I DID completely forget to put that book into YOUR backpack after I was reading it.  After all, reading about the Pittsburgh Steelers is one of my favorite past times. (please feel free to insert an incredible amount of sarcasm here...I did.)
Peanutty:  Well?  How was I supposed to know to put it in there?!?!
Me:  Alright, how about we get YOU a calendar for your room.  And on that calendar, we can put down everything you need to remember for school and activities?

Which brings me to this:

I purchased a blank dry erase board as well as fine tipped dry erase markers.  All of it set me back (this happened in August-for the record) $15.  I wanted to find one that already had the calendar on it, but they were sold out...it was still back to school time, in a college town, so you snooze you lose.  I lost.

Did a little measuring and BA-DA-BOOM.  I give you a calendar!  I did do the calendar in permanent marker so it was easier to erase the dry erase marker.
I also wrote the days of the week in permanent marker.  I'm leaving it up to Peanutty to write everything down that he thinks is important.
We color coded it:  Red = lunches (we go through the menu at the beginning of the month and he chooses which days he wants school lunch and which days he wants to pack his own).  Blue = anything school related:  assignments, library book due date, book orders.  Green = extra circulars he may be involved in or any kind of sleepover, party, fun thing he's going to do.

Ta-Da!  There you have it.  He chose where to hang this in his room and it's proven to really help keep things in order.  He looks at it first thing in the morning.  It's made him much more responsible.  For us, it's worked...and guess what?  We haven't missed a library day again!

NSS UPDATE:  Still going strong in not spending any extra money this month.  We were treated to dinner out by my in-laws, which was DELISH!  I'm already craving a few restaurants, but I'm trying to keep it at bay.  And last Friday, I did have to ask a friend to talk me off the ledge because I REALLY wanted to shop, but I didn't.  Between not eating out and staying at home most weekends/days off - we've saved some - enough to be proud of.  Only 7 more days until the challenge is complete!

Here's just a little eye candy for you today, I was in awe of it when I saw it this summer:
All that stuff hanging is Washi Tape.  Be amazed.

Have a most wonderful week, wish me luck on my hunt for the USB thingy.  Until next Tuesday...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Laundry Room Makeover Part 1 - NSS Update

I've been thinking of re-vamping our laundry room for a while now, but needed to save up the money to execute it.  I had budgeted $150 for everything:  paint, supplies, decor, shower curtain, valance, light fixture, blinds, towels...the good stuff.  I managed to go $18 over budget.  Gasp!  Before you all roll your eyes and get disgusted with me (wink), I'll break it down for you.  But first, PICTURES!!!


I didn't bother cleaning it up to take before pix.  Why?  Because this is real life here.  This is what a laundry room looks like when it's being lived in.  I especially like the bathroom floor mats (from out other bathroom) on top of the shower curtain - they were drying.  Hey!  I had to hang them somewhere!!!  As you can see, it's a really deep hunter green color - which I adore.  But, fact is, there's only one small window in this room causing it to be REALLY dark in there, even with three lights on.  Not to mention the darker paint color didn't hide water splashes on the walls.  Not that we go in there, wash our hands and shake them all over the place...but we do have two littles that actually DO do that.  It's a long and narrow room that has purpose but I wanted to make it even more functional.  So, I did.  The shelving above the washer and dryer is essential for toilet paper, paper towels, ironing stuff (I had NEVER used this before I started sewing...my Mom gave it to me when I moved into our house 10 years ago...and I just started sewing over the past 8 months), detergents and such. 

After removing everything from the walls, we patched up the holes, and taped.  My god I hate taping.  I mean it.  Actually, I loathe anything and everything painting - except the end product.  I'm very fortunate that I have an awesome Aunt (thanks again AT!) that is always us for some painting and gabbing. Here's my favorite part:

 After two coats of Sherwin Williams, March Wind it's transformed to a whole different room.  Even after just the first coat, it was brighter and very inviting...to do laundry.  I replaced the mirror with a mirror we had received as a gift years ago.  It was actually a bronze and black mirror, so I took some white spray paint (actually my BFF BA did it for me) to it and it looks like a brand new mirror.  While I wanted a new light fixture, it wasn't in the budget (and clearly I had no idea how expensive they were), so Hubby just flipped it over to make the lighting a little less harsh and it's just the ticket!!!

Two homemade shadow boxes replaced the four framed pix above the toilet.  They hold our tp and facial tissue.  Plus a little pretty blue bird (thank you TS!) and my inspiration for the entire room is wrapped up in that little yellow bowl.  I originally wanted to accent with all yellow, but decided I didn't want that much of it.  So I did a mix of navy blue, kind of a mute mustard yellow, and the gray.  I got that little bowl at....Target for $3.99.

 Sigh.  This is one of my favorite parts.  The shower curtain and window valance were actually made from fabric purchased at Hobby Lobby for 40% off.  Yay!  And...I made them!!!  I was so stinking proud of these!  I learned how to do button holes and they're so easy!  Thanks to my Hubby, I can do just about anything on that sewing machine.  The man is a jack of all trades...seriously, I'm a lucky woman.

 If you remember, there were two almost full length shelves above the washer and dryer.  Originally, I wanted to make barn board shelving.  Well, after discussing my ideas with Hubs, he gave me a completely, FREE option.  Re-using the shelves, but altering them to how I wanted them to function.  My main idea was that I wanted to be able to hang items for drying without it partially laying on the dryer.  Well, he just switched the shelves and then down sized the bottom shelf to give me space to do just that!  The man is smart. 

And yet another one of my favorite things!  We now moved all the coats (we still have a coat closet at the front of the house, but the coats we will wear regularly will be put here), and backpacks into the laundry room.  Instead of buying hook racks, we made them.  We made 3 of them;  two for coats/backpacks and the other is by the sink for towels.  There are two Container Store baskets under the hooks.  One holds my purse, so I can drop it in there right when I get home.  The other is for Hub-a-licious' work clothes.  Before both work clothes and my purse were just thrown on the floor somewhere in the house, now, they have a place to go so they don't get in the way and also don't ruin my make over eye candy.  We put the hats/mittens shoe organizer on the inside of the door instead of the outside - it helped make the back door area much less cramped!

Aaaaah!  I'm in love.  I adore it.  Here's how the finances broke down:

$90 Paint - originally I had only budgeted for 1 gallon of paint, but I was wrong.  So, $45 of my budget went to an additional gallon of paint, causing me to cut down on my plans.
$25 Fabric - this was for the shower curtain and the valance.  WAY cheaper than purchasing them already made...and it was so FUN!
$53 Miscellaneous - this was for the wood to make the shadow boxes and hook racks, yellow paint to accent the inside of shadow boxes, hooks, cute bowl, two hand towels.

I left out the blinds and a new light fixture - which is just fine by me.  I can always do those later down the road, but for now, it's perfect!

There you have it.  I know there's one question that's just KILLING you to know...where in the world did she get the extra $18 when she went over budget!?!?!  Well, I stole it.  I pick pocketed a man at Menards - when a lady gets desperate, she'll do anything!  Of course, I'm kidding.  Do you remember that accordion file that I use to save money for random things I want to do?
If you haven't - that's too bad.  Shame on you.  Well, in the very back of this accordion file, I had been saving fives.  If a $5 bill comes into my hands, I do NOT spend it.  I tuck it away in the back of this file.  Well, since I've never established what I would do with those fives, I used 4 of them to pick up my budget over spend.  Speaking of spending...

NO SPEND SEPTEMBER is still in full swing!!!  You will be proud to know that I haven't spent a penny.  Well, I've spent money on groceries, BUT I'm happy to report that due to my pantry style cooking, we managed to save $50 on groceries since September 1st.  My hope is to save at least $125 when the month is over, but if cheese goes on sale for $1 again, it's game over.  The ONLY unplanned item I did purchase was a fall/spring jacket for Sweet Pickle.  Where we live, there's been some serious whiplash in the weather, so a jacket was a need, not a want.  I didn't feel bad about this purchase because:  #1.  The way we budget, we have a built in account to purchase clothing for the kids.  #2.  I went to a couple consignment stores looking for a deal only to come up short.  #3.  Sweet Pickle's warmth meant more to me than not spending a penny.

Tuesday I will break down one of the DIY's we accomplished with the make over, and the play-by-play on my 2015 planner.  I will tell you, it is in my possession...and it's oh-so amazing!!!

Have a marvelous week!  Until Tuesday my Sweatpants friends!!!

*Side Note:  THE sweatpants that were the inspiration for the name of my blog, passed away last week.  I mourned the loss while tossing them into the garbage can.  I can only hope they knew just how happy they made me.  Much like the sweatpants I'm wearing right now.*
**I'm not reading through this bad boy today.  Gots laundry to fold!**