Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May Goals

It's hard to believe that school is winding down and summer break is within reach.  I don't know about you, but I feel like April went by especially fast.  But then again, I think I always say that!!

Before I dive into May goals, here's how the month of April turned out.

1.  Have a date night with The Teacher
I talked about at-home date nights on a recent Facebook Live video, so it was fitting that this month's date was an at-home date night.  We brought some food in and enjoyed watching The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2* together.  We have such different taste in movies, but we both agree that we LOVE The Hunger Games movies*.

2.  Schedule a physical for myself & appointment for Savannah  
I did make an appointment for Davis' well visit, so maybe it counts?  :-)

3.  Finish up necklace board
I am so excited to have this project FINALLY completed.  I love the end result and I love the extra space I now have on my dresser!!  Check out my tutorial HERE.

4.  Read 1 book
I started The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up* by Marie Kondo, but I haven't finished it up yet.  I'm hoping to finish it up while we are travelling the next couple of days.

5.  Register Savannah for school
Done!  And now I'm going to need to schedule a therapy appointment for September.  

6.  Turn in forms for preschool

7.  Research short at-home exercises to help strengthen my arms and core
I decided to focus more on getting into the habit before I stress too much about what I'm doing.  I'm focusing on building my core muscles now and then I'll move onto arms (baby steps).  I'm just using an old Pilates video that I have at home for now.

8.  Change out my clothes  
I've done a little of this, but not a complete transition.  I'm sort of thinking I may focus on finishing the book*, so I can try and implement some of the Kon Mari method and transition my wardrobe at the same time.  

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Here is my plan for May goals

1.  Have a date night with The Teacher
I think it's time we get a babysitter and hit the town this month.

2.  Schedule a physical for myself & appointment for Savannah
Needs to happen this month.

3.  Finish reading Marie Kondo's book

4.  Create a strategy/plan/schedule for de-cluttering the house
Once I'm finished the book, I'd like to figure out a timeline or plan of attack so that I can really make some headway throughout the summer.

5.  Short ab workout at least 3 times per week
Focus on building the habit this month.

6.  Finish up the final touches of our upstairs bathroom renovation (we are so close!) 
I just need a window treatment, some final decorative touches, and then to organize the linen closet thoroughly. 

7.  Spruce up the flower beds in the front yard
I'd like to get some fresh mulch and plant some flowers in the front.

8.  Make some decisions about switch to Wordpress
This process of moving to Wordpress has been hanging over my heard for a couple of years now and I just need to make official decisions about it.  

There you have it.  I'll report back and let you know how I did!

Also, if you aren't currently following along on Facebook, I'd encourage you to do so.  I typically broadcast live around 1:30pm, where I talk about different aspects of frugal family life.  I won't be on this week, as we are travelling, but I'd love to have you join me again next week!

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What are your goals for this month?

{Note:  This post contains affiliate links.  Read disclosure here.}

Thursday, April 28, 2016

DIY Necklace Board

A few years ago, my friend hosted a Pinterest party at her house.  The idea was for everyone to bring their own Pinterest projects to her house so we could all work on them together.  There are usually dozens of projects in my head or pinned to my Pinterest board but getting started is half the battle, so I loved the idea!  Work on a project together with friends - sign me up.

The night of the party, I watched my friend work on her necklace board project.  She has a ton of cute necklaces (I'm ALWAYS jealous of them!), but was looking for a better way to keep them organized.  It seemed like a cool idea, but it wasn't until I saw the final result that I was convinced that I needed one for myself.

This is one of those projects that has been in the works for far too long.  It's not a difficult project, but does require some tools and could seem a little overwhelming, which is why I have tried to be really detailed in some of the steps.  I hope it helps.  The good news is that I'm THRILLED with how it turned out and am so excited to share it with you today!

Here's what you'll need to get started.

MDF (mine is 2 ft. x 3 ft.)
(6 sheets) scrapbook paper
(door/window) moulding

Tools Required:
miter saw
angle grinder


1.  I started out by covering the MDF board (I had mine cut down to size at Home Depot) with scrapbook paper.  I worked on one section of the board at a time, spreading the Mod Podge* in a thin layer, placing the scrapbook paper on the board, and then smoothing out the bubbles.

It looked a little something like this.


2.  After all the scrapbook paper was on, I covered the entire board with Mod Podge*.  I believe I may have done two coats, letting it dry in between.  This makes it more durable.  Let this dry overnight before proceeding.

3.  Then it was time to add my decorative frame to the board.  Since I had never used a miter saw, I worked really slowly to make sure I made the right cuts and in the right directions.  First, I measured the length of each edge of the board, marking the moulding with pencil so that I would know where to make my cut.

Once I had the miter saw set to the correct 45 degree angle (in the correct direction for the corner I was working on), I made my cuts.

Tips for using a miter saw:

- Line up the saw blade and the pencil mark on the moulding before you turn on the saw.
- Make your cut slightly to the outside of the marked line.  You can always shave a little more off if needed, but you can't ever add anything back on if you cut off too much.

4.  Use wood glue* to adhere each piece of moulding to the edge the board, clamping them down while drying.  Let it dry overnight to make sure it is completely secure.

5.  If you want to take it a step further, you can also nail through the moulding (which is what I did).  Make sure to set the nails, fill in the holes with putty, and lightly sand before painting. (Tip: make sure you check the length of your nails so you they don't come through the bottom of your MDF board).  I painted two coats on the top of the moulding and a third coat on the sides.

6.  Now it's time to lay out your knobs on the board and mark where they should go.  I even brought out some of my necklaces to make sure I was allowing for enough space for some of the longer ones.

7.  The trickiest part of the project was getting the knobs onto the board.  (Tip:  If at all possible, I'd recommend you try to find cabinet knobs as it makes the process much simpler.  Cabinet knobs require one drill hole all the way through the board and then the screw comes up through the back of the board and screws into the knob on the front of the board.)  I had a variety of knobs, most that had to be screwed into the front of the board, which made the process a little more complicated.

Here's how I made it work for me:

I took one knob at a time and had to cut the screw down with our angle grinder.  I made sure the screw for each knob was slightly shorter then the depth of MDF, so that it would not come through the board once I screwed in the knob.  I used electrical tape to make my mark.

8.  Then, I pre-drilled holes into the board, making sure to use different sized drill bits for each size screw.  I made sure my drill bit was slightly smaller than the screw, to that the threads on the screw would help secure each knob into the board.  I marked on my drill bit to make sure I didn't drill all the way through the board.  I used electrical tape for that as well.

9.  I screwed in each knob, until it was as tight as I could get it.  I was originally concerned that they wouldn't screw in tightly, but they seemed to go in fine.


10.  I used a special wall/mirror hanger* designed to hold a lot of weight, since MDF is heavy.  Part of the hanger was attached to the wall and the other part was attached to the wall, so I could hang the board onto the hanger that was screwed into the wall.

It was so nice to finally see it up on the wall, but then it was time to load it up with my necklaces.

I am so thrilled with how the project turned out!  I love how all my necklaces are organized and easy to access, yet there is still room for more.  I used very neutral colors because I wanted the colorful necklaces to be the main focal point, but you can be as bold as you'd like.  This project was definitely not a quick and easy one, but it was worth the time and effort.  And if I can do it, then you can too!

I don't have the exact cost breakdown for this project, since some of my receipts got thrown away, but I'd estimate $60-70.  Considering this is a custom piece, I don't think that's too bad.

If you are interested in other tips or projects I share, then please make sure you are following me so you don't miss a thing.

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How do you organize your necklaces?

{Note:  This post contains affiliate links.  Read disclosure here.} 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

15 Gift Ideas for Frugal Moms

Purchasing gifts for people can really stress me out sometimes.  I think it's mostly because I'm so darn practical.  The thought of buying someone something that they won't like or won't use just makes me sick to my stomach.  I've gotten a little better over the years, but I still try and put some thought into the gift selection process.

If you are buying for a frugal person, then it might be even more challenging.  With Mother's Day coming up and since I'm a frugal mom myself, I thought I'd share 15 gift ideas that might work for the frugal mom in your life.  (Some of these could work for any frugal person, but they are more geared towards women).

I tend to think that there's three main ways to look at purchasing a gift for a frugal mom, so I've divided them up based on those categories.

1.  Tools to help/inspire her to save more
Whether she is frugal by choice or necessity, a frugal mom has probably grown to become passionate about being wise with money.  Why not give her a gift that will help her in her efforts to be frugal or will simply inspire her to continue doing what she is already doing?

The Total Money Makeover* by Dave Ramsey (or some other popular finance book)

Cute cash envelope wallet*

Laser printer* (for printing coupons)

Sunday newspaper subscription (for coupon inserts)

Coupon organizer wallet*

2.  Items she wants but would have to come out of the budget
A frugal mom likely has a few items that she's like to have but has probably held off on buying because it would have to come out of the family budget.  Maybe the money wasn't there or she just wasn't willing to spend it when there were other higher priorities in the budget for the month.  Why not give her something you know she'd like, so that she doesn't have to take it out of the family budget?

Gift card to favorite clothing store

Amazon prime membership*

Gym membership

Special date night

Trip to the salon for a fresh cut

3.  Splurges that she would love but would never buy herself
A frugal mom probably splurges on herself very rarely.  While they aren't necessities and she's probably doing just fine without them, why not get her something that she'd LOVE but would NEVER spend the money on herself? (Daily deal website such as Groupon* or Living Social* can be great for some of these)

House cleaning


Netflix subscription

Meal planning service*

Republic Wireless cell phone*

Of course, the thought is always what counts the most, so don't feel like you have to spend money you don't have in order to give your frugal mom something she'd love.  Actually, going into debt to buy her a gift would probably disappoint or frustrate her.  Check for good deals on your gift ideas or save up in advance, so that your frugal mom won't have to worry about you having buyer's remorse or having to pay it off next month.

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Do you find it hard to buy for a frugal person?

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{Note:  This post contains affiliate links.  Read disclosure here.} 
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