Oct 302017
 

I was compensated for this post. This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Thank you for helping support this blog.

The end of the calendar year is always a busy one – end of gardening season, school is in full swing, several major holidays, and several birthdays, all packed within a two month time frame.

Planning ahead has always been one way I try to keep things from getting too chaotic.  I would rather be able to focus on enjoying what is going on around us … or being able to spend time at home with a book and cup of warm drink of choice.

Some years I do better at planning for the year’s end, while some years find me way behind learning to let things go.

This year, I am not only planning to have gift shopping completed by the beginning of December, but I am also getting a head start on crafting with the winter season and Christmas holiday in mind.

If it were left up to George, we would live in a craft store, have unlimited funds, and have an unlimited supply of glue and glitter, with no particular instructions on how to use any of the items on hand.  The reality is, though, we live in a house, I like knowing where the craft is headed, and only have as much money as our bank account says. As we also like to be warm, dressed, and fed, that money can not solely go to crafts.  Enter – Dollar Tree.

Thanks to this store, not only are we able to let our imaginations run wild (within reason), but we can do so without breaking the bank.  Even better, we can order supplies online and have them shipped to the house!

Last week I surprised George with a bag of craft supplies from the Dollar Tree, along with a few other items we had on hand.  We took everything outside, put together a few crafts, and talked about other ideas.

There was a slight breeze, which made a few of the actions more difficult to do than I had anticipated (hint: ‘snow’ does not weigh much, even when in a bowl).  Next time I will double check the weather before doing it outside.

We ended up making two ornaments and a flower/light arrangement.  Below you can follow along as we put these together, as well as read my thoughts on future attempts at these particular crafts.

Flower Arrangement

Having family members who are allergic to candles (the soot from the flame makes their sinuses clog up) has meant a lack of candle holders in our house.  However, these batter powered flickering flame ‘candles’ are perfect.  We can add atmosphere without allergies or fire hazards.

I began this craft with George, but the wind outside was causing the glue to dry too quickly.  Later, when I finished it, he was no longer at home.  However, this would have easily been something he could have done with supervision.

Supplies for this craft:

Instructions:

  1. Pull flowers off stems.  You can do this by turning them over, grasping the bottom of them, and pulling hard where they meet the stem.  *You need to keep the plastic part on bottom as part of the flowers; do not pull it off that portion or it all falls apart.
  2. Set one flower aside to glue on top. (Step #7)
  3. Pull the leaves off the stems, to use as filler around the flowers.
  4. Turn glass over. Remove sticker from bottom. Leave glass turned upside down.
  5. Working on one flower at a time, add a spot of hot glue on the bottom of the glass (now the ‘top’).  Work your way around the rim, spacing them evenly.
  6. Take half the leaves and glue them between the flowers on the top, skipping every other space.
  7. Take your reserved flower and glue it in the middle of the top.
  8. Turn glass upside down, continuing to hold it in your hand.
  9. Glue the remaining leaves to the underside alternating them to not line up with leaves on top.  If you have extra leaves, places them as desired.
  10. Cut length of ribbon.
  11. Fold length of ribbon in half width-wise.
  12. Wrap ribbon around the stem of the glass.  As my ribbon had no wire and was very flexible, I was able to wrap it a few times.
  13. Either tie the ribbon in a knot, or tuck the ends up and glue them in place.
  14. Place in desired location, with battery powered candle underneath arrangement. (see picture above.)

Notes: if a flower, leaf, etc. comes loose, add additional glue to help hold in place.  This was an easy craft to do and is something I would definitely do again.  There was one candle and extra ribbon remaining, enough to have done a second such arrangement.

Painted Ornament 

Making ornaments seemed like a great idea for a kid who loves to be creative – no two need be alike.  After seeing this craft online I thought it was the perfect thing to try.  The variety of colors, no need to be perfect or color in the lines, and the ease of doing it fit all of my requirements.  Even better, we had several various paint colors already at home.

Supplies for this craft:

  • plastic ornament
  • pouch of stickers
  • various paints
  • …and napkins for when paint invariably ends up on hands or the table.

Instructions:

  1. Take top off ornament. Set aside for use after paint is dry.
  2. Set the ornament upright, or balance it.  Add a few drops of color into the ornament.
  3. Rotate the ornament, allowing paint to spread around.
  4. Add several drops of another color.
  5. Rotate again.  It is okay if the colors begin to mix, it adds interest.
  6. When finished adding paint, apply stickers to the outside.
  7. Place upside down over plastic/paper cup till dry.  The cup will catch any paint which drips out.

Notes: This is not a craft we will do again.  Or if we do, I will try to clean out the inside with alcohol first.  Or use stickers only and completely skip the paint.

Here is why:

As the paint was drying, it kept sliding down.  I would rotate the ornament, the paint would spread. I would set it down, the paint would slide down. I would rotate … well, you get it.  In the end, most of the colors mixed into a lovely purple, yet there are streaks inside where you can see straight through.  It looks like someone used their finger to make vertical stripes.

George had fun mixing the paint.  His disappointment when it did not stay, though, was obvious.

A second ornament we did was much easier and is something I will do again.  I did not take pictures of this process, as I was trying to take a video.  However, the steps are super simple:

Supplied for this craft:

Instructions:

  1. Remove top of ornament
  2. Using funnel, add about 1/4 cup of faux snow *If there is too much later, you can easily dump out what you do not need.
  3. Insert small figurine
  4. Put cap back on ornament

That is it.  This was so easy and fun, we will most likely do this again at some point.  This would be an easy ‘craft’ if you are needing to do a lot of ornaments.

Note: Mister Minifigure would not stay stilling up.  However, we had fun helping him ‘jump’ in the snow.  If you are wanting the figure to stay upright, I would try to hot glue them to the bottom first, let the glue cool, then add faux snow.

Thank you, Dollar Tree, for a fun Sunday afternoon crafting in the sunshine.

Nov 052016
 

This post contains affiliate links.


We’ve reached the Holiday season – can you believe it? People are already preparing for Thanksgiving and getting ready to start shopping for the Holidays (if they haven’t already begun)! Since this time of year in particular is a good one for having some extra money, Swagbucks is offering a $5 bonus to people who sign up through me this month!

Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for all sorts of things you’re probably already doing online, like shopping, discovering deals, taking surveys, watching videos, and more! Then you can turn your gift cards in to PayPal cash or gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, and more!

Here’s how you get your bonus:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before 12/1. You’ll get a $3 (300 SB) bonus for it!

3. When you do your holiday shopping, spend at least $25 through Swagbucks Shop* and you’ll get another $2 (200 SB) bonus on top of the cashback you’ll get from shopping.

That’s it. It’s super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I’ve earned shy of 600 SB in the past month alone, solely by watching videos and taking a few surveys.  Considering we were traveling for almost a week during that time, the household went through a bought of sickness, and I forgot to click through on the shopping page the other day (a big oops that I remembered about 3 seconds after purchasing something), I am giving myself a bit of grace for it not being more.  However, those 600 SB, added to ones I had left over from the last gift card redemption, will be used to help purchase Christmas gifts. (The last gift card I redeemed for went towards household purchases on Amazon.  One being something to make my life easier and the other a routine household purchase.)

While talking with family last week, it was decided that we would do our family Christmas gift exchange over Thanksgiving.  It made sense. I agreed to it.  However, I also knew that I had not started gift shopping.  I know, I know.  After all the talk about being done by the beginning of October, about starting in July… I have some things picked up, but the majority has yet to be obtained.  AND I had something big happening this coming week and the week of Thanksgiving.  This means a lot more of my shopping is going to be taking place online, either for delivery to my house or for pick up in-store.  Not only will I be shopping through Swagbucks, thereby earning SB back, but I will also be redeeming what I have acrued for gift cards to use online.

If you feel like it is too late to make any difference between now and when you may need, or want, the extra money, I would encourage you not to go down that path.  With a few extra seconds each day, I could have easily turned the 600 SB ($6), earned during the last 30 days from watching video and taking a few surveys, into 2500 SB (worth $25).  Don’t believe me?  That is exactly what I did when I began writing this post.  I clicked on the SBTV app on my phone and am now halfway to reaching my Daily Goal.  Not only will I have earned the SB from watching videos, but will also have earned Bonuse SB from reaching the Daily Goal limit.  The Bonus SB add up and make a nice extra bit at the end of the month.

Whether you are looking to earn money for an extra cup of coffee, to help pay some bills, or add to your Holiday shopping, sign up today to start earning your $3 bonus by following the first two steps above.  Keep going and earn another $2 bonus by following the third step.  If you are even more goal oriented, do not let those numbers stop you.  It is possible to earn $50+ in a month’s time.

How do you plan to earn SB this week?  What do you plan to redeem them for?

cloth potty trainers swagbucks
*You must receive your shopping SB before January 1st

Oct 032016
 

This post contains affiliate links, because I want you to be able to take advantage of this easy deal to earn a few extra dollars.

You’ve probably seen me write about Swagbucks a lot on here. It’s a site where you earn points (called SB) for things you’re probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points (1 SB is worth a penny) and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash.

Unlike a lot of other rewards site, you can cash out at any time, and they have gift cards for as little as 300 SB (The $3 Amazon gift card – every little bit helps)!

This month, you can get a 400 SB bonus through my site. How? It’s really easy:
1. Sign up through this link
2. Earn 300 SB before November 1st – that’ll get you a 300 SB bonus applied at the beginning of November.
3. Complete just ONE survey before November 4th and you’ll get an additional bonus of 100 SB.

So let’s recap – if you do all of those things, you’ll have at least 700 SB to spend. Plus, there are all sorts of great deals and other earning opportunities all October long, so why stop at 300 SB? You could earn a LOT more. How much more?  Well, that is up to you.  I go between not earning enough to redeem for a gift card all the way to earning enough SB to redeem for two $25 gift cards.

There are soon going to be some changes in our household which is going to make it impossible to continue using our local library as a source for home school books.  I had counted on using the library to save us money on purchasing supplies for this year.  What to do?  Head to Swagbucks!  After comparing prices for various books on a handful of sites, I redeemed for $25 Amazon gift cards and shopped through Swagbucks, thereby earning SB for my online purchases.

My next goal? To earn another gift card towards the purchase an upcoming gift.  Well, I call it a gift, even though it is for me.  This is an item I have always wanted, but really have not needed.  I am now to a point where I am frustrated in how to display a collection of mine.  Not wanting to spend money out of our bank account, I again turned to Swagbucks.  After using the gift cards we earn for things like school supplies, groceries, and Christmas gifts for others, purchasing a display case for my collections seems a bit out of the norm.  However, with the wide selection of gift cards available for redemption, this is the perfect place to look to help save on this gift for myself.

Whether you are looking forward to Christmas or other items, the 400 SB bonus is a great deal.  (You can also refer your friends so they too can received this offer.  Once you sign up you will be able to send them an email.)  This is a offer I do not often see; the usual sign up bonus is only 300 SB. Sign up now!

Sep 122016
 

What’s your favorite part about county fairs? Is it the rides, the food, the games? I love it all!
Well, except the part where it costs money for all the food and rides and games.  I could do without that part.  With just over 14 weeks till Christmas and several online purchases coming up this week, not only am I able to have Midway Fun right now, but also earn money for Christmas (or future online shopping) while doing so.  
Here is how:
Starting Monday, September 12th, Swagbucks invites you to participate in their Midway Team Challenge. Pre-registration starts today! How will you contribute? Watching videos, completing surveys, shopping online? These activities and more will help your team get ahead. If you’ve never used Swagbucks before, it’s a site where you can earn cash back on everyday tasks you do online. Now is a great time to join, especially if you participate in the Team Challenge because it’s an opportunity to win an extra bonus for trying out the site. 

All members who participate and contribute at least 400 SB to their team’s total will receive an SB bonus in the form of a rebate on their next gift card! I can’t wait to help my team come in 1st place for that 50 SB rebate. 

The challenge lasts until September 16th so log on or make a free account! Pre-registration is open now!
This post contains affiliate links.
Jul 142016
 

This post contains both affiliate and non-affiliate links.

ChristmasInJulyInfographic(Resized)

Did you know that Christmas in July is a real thing? People are already saving up for the holidays, and the online rewards site Swagbucks surveyed its members to learn more. Check out these fun facts and start YOUR holiday saving today!

In case you haven’t heard me talking about them already, Swagbucks is the fun rewards program that gives you free gift cards and cash for the everyday things you already do online. You can conveniently earn points (called SB) when you shop at your favorite retailers, watch entertaining videos, search the web, answer surveys and find great deals. Redeem your points for free gift cards to your favorite retailers like Amazon or Walmart, to name a few, or get cash back from PayPal!

One of the best parts is that it costs you nothing to join and be a member! You decide how to earn, and you can do it at home or on the go (using their mobile apps)! Join today and start earning for December – it’ll be around the corner before you know it…

Oct 092015
 

It is already going on mid-October and the winter Holiday season will soon be here.  I do not like waiting till the last minute to buy gifts, make presents, or send out cards.  Getting these things done early means I have time later to enjoy the people around me and not have to worry about my to-do list.

If you are planning to make something, now is the time to shop and begin getting the creative juices flowing.  You have time to plan, shop and follow through on your projects without feeling rushed.  To make getting started now even better, Get up to 70% off craft supplies from Craftsy for a limited time only! Stock up early on craft supplies and kits for holiday gift-making. Offer begins 10/9/15 @1pm MT and ends 10/13/15 @11:59pm MT.

Craftsy

This post contains affiliate links.  A portion of any purchase made by clicking through these links will help support this blog.  If you do not feel comfortable with this, you can go directly to Craftsy’s website and order from there.  Your costs will be the same either way.