Friday, December 2, 2022

Advent


 Looking to make an Advent calendar, but don't want to spend a lot.  

Check out this easy to use Advent calendar we re-use each year! I got tired of having to re-create the Advent calendar on top of scheduling the activities every year.  As my girls get older we are more involved in activities and therefore, just making the schedule is a lot of work.  

So, I created this simple Advent set I can re-use again and again.  I just printed it on card-stock since it holds up better than paper. Then each year I just erase and fill in the new dates and activities.  

Super easy and simple! 

If you want to use the image above: 

  • click on the image
  • Right click to save as a download
  • Then you can print! 

Friday, October 7, 2022

Birthday Ideas


Little Miss is turning 5 this month! It's crazy, my baby is 5! When I started this blog, my 2nd was the baby.  It's amazing how fast the years go by!  With her turning 5, I was thinking about her birthday.  Birthdays can add up fast, even when you are trying to keep them to a budget. Here are 5 tips for keeping that budget in check and ways you can do so! 

This post includes affiliate links, which means if you click on the link I get a portion of any sales at NO COST to you.  See my disclosure page for more details. 

1. Make the cake vs. a box mix: 

While box mixes aren't that expensive, if you break down all the ingredients and how much you actually use for the cake it is cheaper to make the cake homemade than to buy the cake mix. A favorite in our house is chocolate, I've used this recipe from Creations by Kara for the last few chocolate cakes I've made. Last year my youngest wanted a 4 tier cake, because she was 4, lol of course right!  I stumbled through it. 

Help from Kara's recipe

Newbie without help











Then later, my oldest wanted a double layered cake for her 9th birthday   I knew I needed to find something to help.  I searched double layered chocolate cake and found Kara's post.  Kara not only has a great recipe for a two tier cake, she also has great tips on how to keep the cake to help frost.  Check out the photos above! What a difference! 

This year, we needed to make a gluten-free cake, turns out this same recipe works great gluten-free! Check out this cake and all the other options she has to help make your birthday budget a little more friendly this year! 

2. Make the frosting:

Homemade frosting is pretty easy to make and more affordable too.  The above site has a great homemade frosting recipe too! 

3. Use and re-use the number candles: 



This is something that my husband's family grew up doing.  After so many years it was fun to see the #1 from the first birthday re-used in years 13, 14, 15 etc.  There's a nostalgia to re-using the old candles too.  Now, with three girls it's been easier to re-use the candles as their color choice was pretty similar.  We have bought a few here and there for special occasions like the golden birthday, but for the most part we have re-used candles. 

You can also reuse the skinny individual candles too! Just wipe off the bottom and stick in a bag.  Eventually they get small enough you can't use them anymore, but hey you did your part and used it up to it's full lifespan.  

4. Presents: 

Now a days, presents have gotten a little much.  We were recently reading the Little House on the Prairie Series, and the girls were shocked to hear what they got for their birthdays back then.  

We go by a simple rule; something fun & something you need. That's it.  Anything else is just too much, especially when our kiddos get gifts from other family members too.  Which we love, but we don't need to add a lot more. So I guess my suggestion is to take it easy, or make a limit. 

5. Decor: 

Decor can be simple and yet pretty.  If you have room you can store decorations to reuse again.  Growing up my husband's family had a tradition of reusing the birthday banner.  It was a basic birthday banner.  When our oldest turned 2, my sister-in-law gave us a princess birthday banner. Flash forward 7 years and three girls later, we are still using that banner.  It is a fun tradition that my girls look forward to seeing each birthday. They even like to put it up for Daddy's birthday as a joke.  It worked out for us that we had 3 girls with the princess banner, but you can get any basic one or something that works for your family. 


Another tradition is wearing a birthday crown.  We've used a few over the years, but this one has been a staple for the last couple years. I was so excited to find one that would work for many years. 



Another way to save on decorations is to buy birthday plates, cups etc on clearance.  We stick with basic colors, then I just stock up on their favorite color when I see it on sale. Or if there's a fun theme I know they like.  

Finally, plastic table cloths draped over twine work great as a backdrop.  Pick your theme's colors and use 5-7 depending on how wide your back drop is.  These also can be rolled up and saved to use again!  



Hope this helps with any birthday planning you have in the future. 











Friday, September 30, 2022

Clothing Switch Over



It's officially Fall! Well, I know it was technically Fall last week, but now that it's officially October it seems more Fall.  Plus in my area that seems to be when the weather really starts to change to colder Fall temps.  Which means, the official switch from Summer to Fall clothes in our house.  The thing is, this isn't an exact date that happens every year.  It could be early October, late October, or sadly some years in September.  But, the point is it sneaks up on us.  Thankfully, this year it's been warmer a little longer.  Over the years, I've learned to stock up on the Fall items early on.  One way I've done this is by storing clothes the girls have grown out of.  

I'm blessed with three girls.  For many reasons they are a blessing, but when it comes to clothes it really does help that they are all girls.  I can save what the oldest has grown out of and keep for the next and then the next. Well, at least for now this method still works a bit.  As they have gotten older and care more about what they wear or how clothes feel we have less that is re-used. BUT, when that first cold day hits we aren't scrambling for clothes because we have some they can start with.

As I have done this for many years I have a system that works for me.  Hopefully, this will help you if you are just starting off, or for ideas if you needed. 

Each size and season have their own tote. When my girls were younger I could get all seasons of one size into one tote.  But, as we've added clothes and their clothes have gotten bigger we have switched to season totes for each size.  

One big thing for this is finding the space. I've done everything to having 1-2 totes in their closet, to the skinny long totes that can fit under their beds. Once you find the space you can store the totes then it's easier to get the totes for that space.  I do like to keep the current size/season in their room if possible.  That way as we switch back I can just put their clothes in that tote. Plus, if there's something that is a size 6, but through the season we realized it fits snug, I know to put it in the size 5 tote instead. 

Then using tape and a sharpie, I label the clothes in that tote.  


This post includes affiliate links, which means if you click on the link I get a portion of any sales at NO COST to you.  See my disclosure page for more details. 



  

Also, I have a tote for the future.  My oldest is definitely the ones who ends up with the least clothes and we need to buy more for.  So I have a tote that is for her future size.  As we find things on sale she might like we put them in that tote. That way she has something to browse through as well to start off with. 


Finally, I also have a tote for the girls' shoes.  Sometimes they can be reused, other times we end up pitching them.  But, we've gotten many years worth out of snow boots and other shoes so it helps here and there. 




I'm sharing some links to totes we have or are similar to what we have.  They are costly at first, but they do last forever.  Also, if you can first check out garage sales, or consignment stores, you usually can find them pretty cheap there.  Otherwise, check out these links for more options.  Like I said above we used the under the bed totes for a while, they worked awesome.  I actually still use them for the kids spare sheets.  


Thursday, September 22, 2022

Cereal Crumbs for Muffins

 Let's talk how to save on flour. Did you know you could save on flour by replacing it with cereal crumbs?  I've mentioned the Tightwad Gazette before on my blog.  In her book, she talks about making muffins with crumbs of any sort to help cut down on flour.  

*Check out her book linked at the bottom of this post for her muffin recipe.* 

Well, we eat cereal in our household and there's always the crumbs that no one wants in the bowl, but instead of throwing them out you can save them to use as flour! 





This post includes affiliate links, which means if you click on the link I get a portion of any sales at NO COST to you.  See my disclosure page for more details. 


After reading this idea in the Tightwad Gazette, I started attempting it. While I found it worked, I was needing to store the crumbs until I needed them.  So, I have a pint sized jar in my freezer.  Anytime we finish a box of cereal, or crackers I take the crumbs and pour them into the pint sized jar. As the jar gets filled I know I can start making muffins soon.  Before I make the muffins, I take out the crumbs from the jar and blend them up until they are smooth. This helps the flavors blend together better.  Sometimes, if my jar is full of chunks of crackers and cereal, I'll blend it up to see if I can get more in. 



You can use this to make all kinds of muffins.  

We like to add cocoa and make chocolate ones sometimes too!





Also, check out these awesome reusable canning lids! I use them anytime I use a mason jar, but don't need to water bath or pressure can it.  They are super easy to use and are freezer safe! 


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