Friday, March 18, 2016

Beach/Surfer Baby shower on a budget

As I have covered in almost all of my party blogs, I love throwing a party! I usually start with the favors and go from there but this time, since the Mom2be was involved, I asked her opinions and went from there. She wanted a beach-y theme surrounded around the idea of "surfing" - I immediately decided on hosting the party at my parent's house since they have a beach house and it is decorated as such :)

I used my Cricut to minimize the spending here and since I only had 20 people or so, I was able to really put details into it.

Centerpieces - I love diaper cakes and since we were not having too many people, I came up with the idea of doing diaper cake centerpieces as 1. a gift for the mom 2. because are they not the cutest?
When doing a single layer diaper cake, I like to use large sizes because they are fuller and you use less (I think the number here was 5 on each cake and we used a toliet paper middle to hold the center)I bought some fabric that had a great shine to it and just kind of crumpled and pinned it on top and then used white puffy paint to "break" the waves on top. The baby on top of a surfboard was the hardest part- I bought those "surfboard" kits at the dollar tree (5 to a package) and then had to buy the baby separate (they are supposed the be crawling but I just stood them upright and they look like they are trying to catch the wave!) The total on these were about 6.00 total thanks to couponing for the diapers and using what I had (ribbon and glue and the puffy paint) These were a hit and they also did not clutter because the Mom2be got to take them home as part of her gift!

I think I have said it a billion times but in case you missed it... I love doing the favors for a party. I like them to be useful and unique and I like to usually make them myself. With bigger parties, it can be hard to do them because of sheer quantity but with a small party it is much easier!

With this party I picked a couple different favors- First I started with the "he" Hershey's bar. I used a blue sharpie and colored in the H and E letters. I used coupons and got all 20 for just a couple bucks (I think the price came out to be .20 each at the time so around 4.00 for all. For the other part of the favors, I got tumblers from the dollar tree (20.00) and used the vinyl I owned with my cricut and made surf's up designs on all the cups. The supplies cost about 4.00 for everything so total the favors were $28.00 and a big hit.

Since we were doing light finger food and desserts, I went to Publix and got the cake (They did this beautiful wave design for no extra cost and I added a Mickey surfer I had ) and the cupcakes. My cousin made the fins out of fondant she owned and I believe another cousin made the rice krispies. The total for cake and cupcakes at the time were $27.00

 The decor was pretty easy because my parent's house is ready made for a beach party but I really wanted to do something different for the front. My parents have a fully stocked bar with random things they collect, like three packages of unopened drink umbrellas that they would never use. I was able to put them to good use and got a wreath form from the dollar tree and started poking with umbrellas. It was a huge hit and I tied it to the from door with ribbon. Also- My parents have never surfed- at least in my life- and much like the paddle boat and kayaks they keep on hand, this surfboard really was sitting on the deck. It was a little old and worn but I figured at least I could decorate it for the shower and prop it up by the front door. I added the mom & dad's names and the word congrats with an anchor and surfs up label. It was also a hit and cost me 0.00  - The entire decor cost me somewhere in the $10.00 range because I really did not need much!

 For entertainment we decided to do lots of games. Since I had already bought diapers for the centerpieces, we did the "advice diapers" which basically consists of you using a sharpie and writing funny or inspiration words on the diaper for when you are changing the baby in the middle of the night. We also had a BIB decorating contest where we broke into teams and decorated bibs for the first 7months - I had all the puffy paint and fabric markers on hand so I just had to buy bibs and I bought 8 for 5.00 after coupons. It was also a huge hit and everyone had a ton of fun! We did the baby food game and that was also a blast (for me to watch- I would not be able to eat baby food !) I think we had 2 or 3 winners there so it wound up in a tie breaker and I was very kind when picking those- I made it ONLY fruit or fruit blends because.... blended meat. NO!
Total on games was about $10.00, prizes were around $10.00 as well because I got on sale and went into my "closet of gifts" I keep stocked

Food - This was easy, cheap and fun. Crockpot BBQ chick or pork (not sure which, but I know I spent 5.00 or so on the meat so I think it was a pork roast) on Slider Buns, Veggie Pasta (Garlic, Olive Oil, eggplant, zucchini or squash and Penne Pasta) BLT bites, chips, veggies and fruit
I spent about $30.00 on Food, Juice and soda. Had water from a previous "FREE" sale at Walgreens (save all those points and once a year when the water goes on sale for 1.99 a case (sometimes around July 4 or memorial day) - buy them up and stack in extra room. We usually use about 50 in points which is 25 cases of water) Because we were having at my parents, they always have sangria, wine etc and so we did not spend anything on that

Papergoods - Refer to my previous parties where you will find that I reuse my same tableclothes over and over :) I love them, best investment ever (and by investment, I mean I spent 2.00 on clearance each!) They are going on I think 8 parties now plus countless other dinners and they are still beautiful! I also do plates, forks and cups in bulk - might actually need to buy new ones by next year for my son's 6th Birthday but for this- It evens out to about $2.00 for all those items divided.

Total for this party comes in around $130.00 after Misc. - While that is somewhat "high" for my parties, this was a baby shower, not a birthday party- and the details were important! I love baby showers and only get to do them every so often, so this was very fun!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Pinterest fail- Embrace it!

So this is a bit fun because we should also be able to laugh at ourselves but it is also helpful because when we see something on Pinterest many times we think it should just WORK- and that is not always the case. Lucky for me my husband is pretty on top of things when he hears the words "I saw this on pinterest" and he starts brainstorming on how he will help me ammend the recipe/craft to work for me. I am a go with the flow person when it comes to my crafts and many of the things I do start out as something else but you kind of just have to embrace it.

This one is something I have been wanting to do FOREVER. In our house, we LOVE ornaments for the Christmas tree. Honestly, there is something about looking at those memories every single year that just makes it special. So many of us keep things in boxes, calling them memories and never pulling them back out to look at- DISPLAY them! Make them ornaments.

Last year my dad took a drill to all the magnets they had collected (we made them over the years, they got them on vacations etc) and he made them Christmas ornaments. I guess this is something that runs in the family because my parents are up to THREE trees just to hold all their ornaments!

The one I have here was basically a fail- Why? Oh because 1. I put the wrong date (thank you puffy paint, I took that 5 off and replaced it with a 1 promptly- right after my facebook friends pointed out that my son was 4.5 and not just 6 months old! 2. Because no matter how you try- those hospital hats WILL NOT FIT IN THE HOLE.

So I found the original somewhere on Pinterest - I did not even PIN it so I can not credit it back, so sorry - but this project is my own tips based on my own experience so fear not, this is all authentically original and not copied!

Basically the craft is that you take the hat from your child at the hospital and put it in the bulb. So cute and sentimental but since these hats all look the same, make sure you label which kid or the year!

Here are some tips-
1. Use a PLASTIC BULB- It looks no different and is safer for so many reasons.
2. Cut up the hat- this was my husband- I give credit where credit is due. I was trying so hard to stuff that whole hat in for 30 minutes. He watched me struggle as long as he could before he said "Here hun, let me help!" Before I could ask any questions, he took the hat, bulb and scissors and started cutting. I let out a wail and was ready to bop him right on the head but before I could make my way across the room to him he was already proudly stuffing the bulb with strips of the ONE item we have left from our son's birth! It was actually very successful and I am happy for his stroke of genius because I would not have done it.
3. If you have a cricut, use it! Eventually this puffy paint will peel and I will replace it with my vinyl but  it's packed and trying to wrestle with that closet is just too much. I am sure when I pull the ornaments for Christmas, I'll find the motivation to do it!

(Before the change of date, so this is a real fail!)

There ya go. It is not as epic a fail as some others and it is still workable. Tell us about yours? And if you have it documented, pictures are appreciated!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

$39.00++ FREE! Maximize gifting while Minimizing spending: gift cards, free money and other helpful tips

Hitting the Black Friday sales online or in store? You have just over a month so you need to start getting your strategy in order. Here are some great tips for the holiday season to save money and maximize your gifting while minimizing your spending!

* If you have been saving points all year long through online surveys and shopping online, start looking at what you might want to cash out for. At swagbucks they always have "sales" on certain gift cards-  If you are flexible about where you can buy items, pick the sale cards to get more bang for your buck! Many have Visa and paypal cards as well- remember you can cash out for paypal and then load that into your bank after.

*Know you are going to be shopping for some big ticket items at a specific store? Start searching for discount gift cards from different sites. If you use my referral link here to visit and you can get $5.00 toward your first purchase of a discounted gift card. Some other good sites to buy discounted cards are and Cardpool (Use the coupon code NewUser5 to save 5 bucks on your 1st purchase!) - If you visit right now, you can also use the new sign up to save 5 bucks off your 1st purchase. Right there you get $15.00 in free money using those links and codes to save! 

* Keep an eye out for things like "bonus" cards this season- For example, Publix often runs $10.00 gift cards for gas when making certain purchases. If you are going to shop anyway, you may as well grab the gift card there. These $10.00 "free" gift cards and bonus gift cards make great gifts for teachers, mail carriers and other people you want to give a small token gift to without spending big bucks!

*Certain stores allow you to buy gift cards with their store gift cards. For example- If you can snag a best buy gift card at a discount, you can purchase something like an Amazon gift card with that- The advantage is that Best buy gift cards are often on discount at sites while Amazon's are rare to find any less than full price.

*DO NOT FORGET your credit card points. Many credit cards allow you to cash out points for gift cards. Start checking your online statements for all credit and debit cards you have enrolled so that you can cash out now to get them in time for Holiday Shopping?

Look at a couple of the items below and see if they will help you this holiday season- Jump on them NOW to make sure they get here in time if they need to be shipped:

*THIS IS LITERALLY FREE MONEY TO CVS- $100.00 CVS gift card for just $88.00 - Get $12.00 in free money by buying this CVS gift card. Here is a trick- after the holidays, CVS puts their TOYS ON CLEARANCE - they start around 50% and go all the way to 90% . This is when I buy all my toys I need for birthday parties through the year and charity. I usually spend around $100.00 because they also put things like perfume "sets" (specifically with xmas packaging) and I grab many of those - so this is PERFECT for me and I snagged one ! These are also perfect for people who play the drugstore game. I have not perfected it but I know some of you are great with the cash back etc etc- grab this to maximize.

*ONCE AGAIN- FREE MONEY!!! Get $10.00 worth of free money at Lowes

Happy Shopping ya'll!

Monday, October 19, 2015

The house with the red door - Bathroom update for under $20.00

Before- sad bathroom!
I have talked about it before- The stark white house we bought a couple months back. We updated the front to add some curb appeal for under $40.00 but the inside is still pretty much the same as the front was - boring, white and drab. The "small" bathroom as we call it was literally all white- While tile, while tiled half walls, white toilet, shower and sink- The ONLY color that you could consider was the grout- which I do not think was ever meant to have color, it was just dirty.

For months I have been researching different groutable vinyl tiles because I did not feel like ripping up tile and all that jazz. I wanted something cheap and easy and this fit the bill. I set off to lowes with the color in mind but as usual, I had told my husband that If something was on sale, I would buy that. My Lowes is in the middle of a remodel so this was on clearance and Each piece was $1.42 (18 x 18 squares) . Either way- because the bathroom was so tiny, I only needed 6 squares to complete this project. Always buy extras though because you will be cutting this stuff and its easy enough to mess up.

Here is the brand I used- It looks like maybe they are no longer carrying it in our color
If those are not something you like or you want to go a little smaller, this gives a similar color scheme and is a bit smaller. It is also pretty cost effective.

I was scared- Truth be told, I was petrified. I had heard only good things but I knew that this was going to rest on my shoulders. This bathroom is so small that it was a one person project- two of us could NOT have fit in there. Being the one who did all the research, I figured I would do this myself and let my husband cheer me on from outside the bathroom (he did!)
Project time was around an hour but I kept looking up youtube on it, laid out every piece meticulously, then rearranged. So many people have "their way" - like some say start in the middle- some say start at the ends and work your way in- I like non symmetry so that's what I went with here. I used two tiny strips by the door jam (unpictured) then started laying different pieces in different ways- Some of the trimmed pieces went one way and then I put a different trimmed piece the other- I loved it that way but Mostly because It is a small room and needed some "edge"

I decided against using the tile spacers (not reason) and by the toilet I should have but I am putting a rug there anyway so OH WELL! So many tutorials said to remove the toilet and sink but since this room is not used a whole lot I did not care to have it that perfect and as luck would have it, I was able to slide a piece of tile under the sink and not even have to worry about that!

Time to Grout
Mid Sticking

As promised with all the tutorials- the worst part IS going around toilets if you do not remove it! By far it was the worst (and sloppiest part) I am hoping by the next one, It will look awesome!

I did all my cuts first, laid it out to see how it would look and then started sticking- The tiles will shift for a bit so before you grout, be sure to check the shifts and rearrange. I am sure if you use the tile margins, this would not happen.

Overall, I am very happy with this update for a mere $18.00 and learned some little tricks (which I included below) I will likely do another bathroom in the near future and I will update on that as well.
Tada- After!

Couple tips
1. Make sure you are using a brand new blade in the utility knife. You need these babies to be sharp
2. When making a cut, do it from the paper side on the back, then snap the tile and cut straight down while it is folded
3. Have alcohol on hand to clean up your hands in between from the adhesive.
4. Use another piece of tile to drawn your straight lines unless you have a yard stick if you are using the 18x18. If you are using the 12x12, you can use a ruler.

Items you need and totals I spent:

Bucket  (Had it)
Sponge (you can use a grout sponge, I just used a couple I had on hand)
Trowel (had it)
Utility knife (had it)
Grout ($10.50)
Vinyl Tiles- 6 pieces at 1.42each = $8.52
Tile spacer- (Had, but decided against using them at all so basically optional)
Paint (We are painting the top of the bathroom Red from the front door!)

Total for the "small bathroom redo": 19.02 - 5% Lowes Coupon (you can also sign up online for their 10 off 50 mailer) = $18.07

And one more time because It is pretty cool.....

Monday, September 14, 2015

The house with the red door- How we updated the front of our house for just $38.85

The week of move in
 Remove giant trees and Rejoice ( I HATED those things!)
We recently bought an older, completely white home. We compromised on buying a house with updates because we figured we would do them slowly and the neighborhood and deal were amazing. With that being said, everyday that I pulled in to the house, it depressed me. Plain white, messy landscaping- there was just no curb appeal. After getting in a tizzy one night about it, I decided to start small. My husband and I ripped every single plant out of the front yard and added red mulch. Next we ripped out two tall skinny palms and planted some free trees we got from the city (our city does this twice a year where you get two free trees per person- we got 4 this year!)

We added some birds of paradise we got at the local home improvement store and violia, a new look. The Problem was that there still was not enough curb appeal and we could not afford the 3-5k we were quoted to paint the entire outside of the home. Even if we could, we were just not sure what color to paint it. Being as indecisive as we are, we knew it needed something.
All prior bushes and plants gone, birds of paradise and mulch added

After much research we decided we could paint the door a bold color and add some cheap vinyl shutters from Lowes or home depot for the finishing touches. - We have still yet to do the shutters so that is not included in the price here and we will update with a new post at that time.

Have cute lawn crew *aka Hubby and son* fill in holes and plant free trees

 Price Break Down:

2 BIRD OF PARADISE- $10.00 each (Was $15.00 but they were on sale) = $20.00
Red Paint- $9.00 for a small bucket (with lots left over too!)
Red mulch - used 5 bags at $1.97 each from Walmart = $9.85
Tree removal- FREE, used our truck and cut it ourselves with tools we owned.

Total - $38.85

Paint door and Be proud of the outcome

In the future, we may paint or update more, but right now, we have to stick with what we can do and cheap. We are ecstatic with the the progress and we will be painting the mailbox and refinishing the House Numbers with items we already own. Pinterest was not much help here because we had no clear VISION other than we wanted to do something to our incredibly plain Jane house. I hope this can give you some ideas.

Side note: you do see "new" items in the front but rest assured we owned them already- the American flag (My husband put this up before putting our BEDS together!) The alligator flag (my son's pride and joy of the front yard) and the sleeping gnome (this goes way back to the first house we owned together and will never leave our front yards no matter where we go) The lights were also ours but as a reference they were .97 a piece at Walmart.