Aug 302018
 

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.

 

“Some things are too good to keep to yourself.” That is how I felt when I received a surprise package in the mail.  I knew the sender and that I had not ordered anything from them recently.  Then I opened the cardboard package and saw another package.  This inner package, though, was wrapped in a bow.  What could it be?

This is where the good news made me feel giddy.  Starting today, August 30th, my favorite dollar store, Dollar Tree, is now carrying Hallmark cards!!! Expressions From Hallmark will be $1 each and Heartline a Hallmark company will have cards 2 for $1! No more excuse about having to pay $4-$5 per card for special occasions in your life.

While the price is low on these cards their look and feel is not. The recipients will not be able to tell you picked these up from the Dollar Tree.  Coverings a variety of life events and including a pre-written note inside, you can now find an economical choice at one of the 6,500 Dollar Tree stores nationwide to help share your notes of joy, sorry, and love.

Dollar Tree and Hallmark will also be coming together to offer a few other Hallmark card lines – Mahogany, Vida, and Tree of Life.  These lines are aimed to filled the need in certain racial or religious groups who may often feel a bit overlooked by the normal selection found in stores.

In addition to the Expressions and Heartline line of cards I also received a few from “joyfully yours, a Dayspring Company”.  These cards allow you to express your faith in just the right way, whether it be for a holiday, special occasions, or moments big and small.

If you have even been on the expectant end of my card mailing list, you would quickly find out that written notes and cards are not my strong suit.  A large part of this is due to my frugalness getting in the way.  It is not that I do not love or appreciate you to that extent, but would rather spend the money to take you out for dessert than to purchase a piece of paper which would end up in the trash in a few hours.

Now there is no excuse, I can do both – buy a card and treat you to dessert.  This is a good thing for everything except my waist line.

Dec 212017
 

Looking for a quick craft to add interest and color to your garden? How about a gift without spending a lot of money? Glass Garden Flowers, also known as plate flowers, are the perfect fit!

Materials needed:

  • tube e6000 glue
  • acetone
  • cotton swab
  • various plates, saucers, cups, candle holders, lids, condiment dishes, etc.
  • PVC elbow pieces, conduit connectors, bud vases, etc. for back
  • paper towel
  • sheet/drop cloth – not mandatory, but will make clean up easier
  • Pipe or rebar, to act as a “stem”

Step 1

Gather various ceramic or glass pieces. Plastic ones work, too, but may not hold up in cold weather. I picked up an assortment while at a thrift store. Turned out to be “50% off everything” day. The pieces I picked up ranged in price from $0.25-$1. I could have spent more, but was looking to make several without spending a lot out-of-pocket.

Step 2

Clean pieces. To get glue, residual stickers, and marker off, use a cotton swab dipped in acetone. (You can pick up a bottle of finger nail polish remover and cotton swabs from the Dollar Tree if you do not have any.) I find it easier to pour a bit into the lid and wet the swabs from there.

Dry thoroughly.

Step 3

Pair pieces together to get the look you want. Play around with the arrangements. Not all combinations looked like I thought they would, while others surprisingly worked.

Once you get them arranged like you want, take a picture if you plan on moving them. 😉

Step 4

Glue pieces together. Working with one group at a time, deconstruct the stack. Working from the bottom up, glue pieces together.

Step 5

Glue connector on the back. After letting the pieces dry enough not to move, flip the stack over and glue a connector piece on the back.

There are many various ways to do this. I tried three – using a bud vase, using conduit connectors and using PVC pipe elbows. Each has their benefits and drawbacks.

Bud vases – can be found cheaply and often in abundance. However, if the vase is too big, the flower will “dropped” on the support post. These also add weight.

Conduit connectors – cost a bit more (around $0.40 each in a pack of 5), are stocked at local hardware stores, and lighter in weight than vases.

One potential downside I noticed is the open side pointing up. This means rain can go down your support pipe, if it also happens to be hollow. If you live in a cold region this may result in snow, ice, or freezing of precipitation in this area. A solution would be to glue a coin or small metal piece on top of these.

PVC elbows – light weight, cost me around $0.40 each, found commonly at local hardware stores (or leftover from a DIY project), easy to attach, and snug fit to post. Not sure how these hold up in cold weather, as I have not tested them.

One lesson I did learn, thankfully before the glue cured completely, was to place the metal connectors far enough back from the edge of the plates so the posts can actually fit into them. Be aware of the lip along the bottom of the plate!

Step 6

Create, install, and attach to a support stem. This can be a variety of items, anything which is strong enough to support the weight of the flower. Some use rebar, conduit pipes, or other metal structures. PVC pipe is too flexible to use and would potentially break under the weight and deteriorate from being exposed to the weather.

If your flower is small enough, you may be able to use copper pipe.  I love the color these add, though it is more expensive and was too flexible for the weight I was working with.

I cut my poles to 2.5 ft, pounded them into the ground about 6 inches (till they felt secure), then placed the flowers on top. While I did not use rebar the help support the flowers, I believe I will do so in the Spring, due to the kind of soil we have. Inserting a foot or foot and a half into the ground, then sliding the “stem” over it would be an even sturdier option in my garden.

Enjoy!

Dec 172017
 

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You have fewer than 10 days till Christmas – are you still looking for a gift to get a kid on your list who seems to have everything? Or maybe they live further away and gifts would have to be mailed. These are hard positions to be in.

Have you thought of gifting an experience rather than a thing?

Kids Cook Real Food makes an awesome Christmas gift, and many grandmas are doing it already!! (They have printable gift certificates for them btw.)

Sunday, December 17 through Tuesday, December 19, Kids Cook Real Food is having a flash sale.  To make it even better – new members get a free $20 value set of extra videos!

Problem solved! Now, go. Finish up that list and enjoy some yummy holiday cookies.

Feb 122017
 

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christmas-tree-baden-springs

Well, I finally did it.  I sent Christmas off to my niece and nephew … I mean Santa* will be delivering it in his shiny, new ride.

What? You did not know that Santa updated his ride to truck with a variety of letters written on the side (U P S, U S P S, F e d E x)?  Hmm. I must have not sent out the memo.

Well, he has updated AND he delivers at non-Christmas time if you are good enough … or have an aunt who happens to have moved over the holidays and is still living with only half her stuff out of boxes while also shopping for a house, conducting IEP meetings every few weeks, finding new doctors, buying a new-to-her car, figuring out new groceries stores, updating insurance, and other equally fun things.  Her kids were lucky to have a Christmas at Christmas as it was.

And why, do you ask, has Santa updated his ride?

Well, that is fairly easy to explain.  Because he has partnered with a site called Swagbucks to help his aunt save money while showing her love for her niece and nephews.  Everyone gets to have a nice warm fuzzy feeling that way.

And how does this aunt use Swagbucks to save?  Well, with activities like the one below. It is calorie free, I promise, so no worries about blowing your fitness resolutions.

Here’s another fun team challenge to help you earn SB from Swagbucks! For those of you who don’t know what Swagbucks is, it’s a website where you can earn cash back on everyday tasks you do online like shopping, answering surveys, discovering deals, and watching videos. You can even earn for searching the web!

If you’ve never tried Swagbucks before because you didn’t know where to begin, their Team Challenges are a great way to learn the ropes!  Last month I was able to learn new tips from others who had gone before me, earning 935 points for myself and over 3,000 for my team. (That may seem like a lot, but our high scorer for the team had way over 10x my team points.  That leave a lot of room for improvement.) I am not sure how next week’s will go, as there are some other things on my calendar to take care of as well.  

They have one themed around Valentine’s day – the Chocolate Dipped Team Challenge begins Monday, February 13th.

Here’s how you can join the challenge and the site:

1. Click here to join the challenge and be assigned to a team. Pre-registration is going on right now! If you don’t already have an account, you can sign up on this page as well.

2. Starting February 13th at 8am PT, in addition to earning SB you’ll contribute points to your teams total as you complete different activities on Swagbucks.

3. Check back on the page often to see the scores and what you’ve contribute so far. 

All members who participate and contribute at least 400 points to their team’s total will receive a SB bonus in the form of a SB Swag Up Rebate on their next gift card!

Not only that, but if you earn 300 SB before March 1st, you’ll get a 300 SB bonus (as long as you’ve signed up under me)!

Members of the 1st place team will receive a 50 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 2nd place team will receive a 25 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 3rd place team will receive a 10 SB Swag Up Rebate. Your SB Swag Up Rebate will be made available on Friday, February 17th and will expire on Tuesday, February 28th 11:59pm PT

*While we do not believe or celebrate Santa at our house, that is not true for all of our family members.  In this context, I am assuming you all know that he is not real and I am really talking about the mailman, but keeping things light and fun.

Nov 172016
 

This post contains affiliate links.

We love books at our house.  Early on in our journey with kids, we made trips to the library something which we looked forward to.  Granted, trips with active toddlers who had to be taught the proper respect for books was not always fun, those trips have paid off.  We now have kids who love books, even if reading can be a struggle at times.

Because of our love for books, I am always on the lookout for money saving options to obtain books.  Whether it is from a thrift store, the local library’s used book shop, garage sales, Kindle books on Amazon, or PaperBackSwap, there are many money saving options in addition to checking them out from the library.

World Book and Swagbucks have the perfect gift for the little reader in your life – a free book that makes history come alive! World book has a great assortment of vibrant, fun, and informative books about a variety of different historical events, people, and legends that are perfect for grades 6-8. This offer gets you a free book (you pay $1 in shipping) AND you get $5 (paid in Swagbucks’ SB Points) for doing it, plus a bonus $3 (300SB) for signing up for Swagbucks through me first. Here’s how you can get your free book and $8:

1. Click here to get to the offer*. When you get there, if you’re not already a member you’ll be prompted to create your Swagbucks account – it takes less than 30 seconds.
2. Click the blue “Continue” button
3. Order your free book – that’s it! The 500 SB will credit immediately, and if you’re a new member signing up for Swagbucks through the above link, you’ll get another 300 SB in the first week of December.

So, what’s this Swagbucks I’m talking about? It’s the site where you earn points (called SB) for things you’re already doing online, like shopping, watching videos, discovering deals (like this one!), taking surveys, or even searching the web! Then you take your points and redeem them for PayPal cash or gift cards to places like Amazon, Walmart, Target, Starbucks, and more! In fact, for signing up through me, you can actually get ANOTHER bonus $2 if you spend $25 or more on holiday shopping through Swagbucks this month!

Last week, I began my Christmas shopping online by first clicking through Swagbucks to go to a retailer’s site.  I was planning to purchase this particular item online either way, so taking less than a minute to do so through Swagbucks was an added bonus.  Not only was I able to use this retailer’s rewards, thereby saving me money, but I also earned SB back on the purchase which I can use towards a future gift card redemption.

My holiday shopping has just begun.  Offers like the one above, earning SB to redeem for gift cards, and getting SB back from online purchases are a few ways I plan to employ to help save money.

 

*Please read the fine print on this offer.  Please note that if you do not cancel after your first book order, you will continue to receive books at regular intervals, but at a higher price.

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

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.
Apr 302016
 

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Mother’s Day is around the corner (Sunday, May 8th) and if you haven’t started already, now’s the time to remember all the little things the moms around us do every day and get them a token of your appreciation. Moms are creative, capable, and resourceful. Moms work hard! That’s why moms deserve the best and Swagbucks wants to make sure your Mom gets the best.

Right now you can earn up to 35% Cash Back on gifts for Mom at her favorite retailers when you shop through the Swagbucks Mother’s Day Sale, saving you lots of pennies and allowing you to splurge a little extra on mom!

Need more help shopping for mom? It’s no surprise that the Swagbucks community is packed with moms. So they surveyed their member base at the end of March to find out how moms view Mother’s Day. Swagbucks received more than 10,000 email responses and found the following:

mothers-day-info-graphic-900x2780

Mar 252016
 

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through a link and purchase a product this blog will receive a small portion at no added cost to you.  Thank you for your support.


Don’t forget, Craftsy is having a sale for their Online DIY Classes, 3/25-3/28.  This is a great time to take a step in learning something new or improving in an area you are already learning.  With 1,000+ classes there is a wide selection available.

With the Craftsy guarantee you know you will be able to watch the lessons any time and from anywhere, and your access never expires.  There is also a 100% money back guarantee in case you are not satisfied with the product.

Whether you are looking for classes, tutorials, fabric, yarn, paint, art, drawing, painting, baking, cooking, cake decorating, scrapbooking, stamping, sewing, photography, knitting, quilting, woodworking, gardening, or home decor, Craftsy.com is the one stop place for all your DIY classes.

Mar 202016
 

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through a link and purchase a product this blog will receive a small portion at no added cost to you.  Thank you for your support.


If you missed the DIY Class Bundle Sale two weeks ago, you are in luck.  Craftsy is having a sale for their Online DIY Classes, 3/25-3/28

Learn from instructors in 1,000+ classes.  With the Craftsy guarantee you know you will be able to watch the lessons any time and from anywhere, and your access never expires.  There is also a 100% money back guarantee in case you are not satisfied with the product.

Whether you are looking for classes, tutorials, fabric, yarn, paint, art, drawing, painting, baking, cooking, cake decorating, scrapbooking, stamping, sewing, photography, knitting, quilting, woodworking, gardening, or home decor, Craftsy.com is the one stop place for all your DIY classes.