Category Archives: On The Cheap

Organize Me Happy

Our friends, Lynda and Graham, are off having adventures, on the other side of the world.  Before they left, they liquidated everything, with several moving sales.

On our first visit, I saw this wood tool chest and immediately wanted it.  I had no idea where I would put it though, so we decided to think on it.

Der and I walked through the house, contemplating where we could put it, and what function it would serve.  Finally, my brain clicked and all things fell into order.

We had been looking for the perfect microwave cart.  Our microwave had been on top of the fridge which was kind of a pain.  Having it so high up made it a challenge to get things in and out of it.   This chest would bring the microwave down to a better level, PLUS give us tons of utensil storage, and do it all with style.  SOLD!!!

It’s so nice not to have to dig through a pile to get whatever tool I need.

Good, straight forward organization is something that calms my nerves.  Disorganization gives me ulcers.  True story.

Thanks, Lynda, and Graham, for giving us deals galore on some really great stuff, stuff I didn’t know I was missing, until we brought it home.

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Filed under Everything else, Let's make things pretty., On The Cheap, With Gratitude

Food Hoarder

Have you heard of Bountiful Baskets?

You should go check it out, because it’s a great way to bring fresh fruit and vegetables to your table without breaking the bank.

The gist of it is once a week you can buy into a share of fruits and veggies for a very low price.  There are conventional baskets and organic baskets.  I usually get one of each.  Saturday morning you go to your local pickup site and collect your booty.  Bountiful Baskets are now available in 20 states, if you’re lucky, you live in one of them.

The baskets are fun because you never know exactly what you’re going to get.  We’ve tried all sorts of stuff that we might not have otherwise.  Just last weekend we were surprised with purple carrots and red corn.

Here are a few shots of our take last weekend.  Please excuse the bad flash photography.

This is a combo of 1 conventional and 1 organic basket.

Not pictured are a 2 cartons of raspberries, because they were almost immediately devoured.

Dark purple on the outside and normal carroty orange in the middle.  They tasted delicious.

Super sweet and juicy red corn!  YUM!

To lessen the pressure of eating it all before it goes bad, we cut up all of the squash, carrots, green beans, and broccoli and froze them for later.  That way we have a nice variety of yummy goodness ready and waiting in the freezer.

Speaking of freezing…

Not too long ago, one of our local grocery stores had peaches on sale for less than a dollar a pound.  I can’t resist a good bargain, so I bought something like 12 pounds of those furry beauties.  (I’m still waiting for the whopping 4 whole peaches to ripen on our tree.  They are so close, but not quite ready.)

I set the ones I bought on the counter to ripen for a few days.  Once they were perfect and just begging to be devoured I sliced them up, put them in single layers on cookie sheets, and froze them.  The next day I took them off the cookie sheets and put them in zip lock bags.  I can now reach in and grab a handful without them being all stuck together and I will have peaches long after peach season is over.  I can add them to smoothies, cereal, ice cream, eat them as is or if I am feeling like an overachiever make peach pie…which I never have and probably never will do, but I can dream.

I loved the way they looked all bright, cheerful and uniform, in all their delicious peachy-ness splendor.

Having a freezer full of healthy options makes me happy.

Do you have any money saving, healthy eating tips?  I would love to hear them!

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Filed under Get In My Belly, On The Cheap

Tape Thank You Cards

With Ami’s birthday in June we had some thank you cards to send out.

We worked on them in shifts over a 3 day period.

Ami gets super whiny if he has to write more than 2 sentences in 1 sitting.  He’s in for a rude awakening, when he starts first grade, but for now, I’m choosing to pick my battles.  I want him to think of writing thank you cards as something fun, not a chore.

I had him write his thank yous on lined paper.

Later I cut them out and we used glue stick to attach them to the inside of each card.

The cards were different colors of card stock folded in half.

I found this cute rainbow duct tape in a half roll.  We still have tons left.

Ami absolutely loved the taping part.

I made him a sample one for reference.  Then I cut off pieces of tape and handed them to him for him to stick down.

Also pictured is Conrad’s page of practice words from our weekly spelling test.

Please forgive the bad flash photography.  I definitely prefer taking photos in natural light, but we’ve been so busy nighttime was the only time we had to do this.

He was super proud of the finished product!

I could gobble him up, he’s so cute!

The finished cards fit perfectly in half size manilla envelopes.  I found a package of 6 in white at the dollar store.

 

 

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Filed under Feeling Fartsy, On The Cheap, Rodents aka kids, With Gratitude

Cornstarch Sidewalk Chalk Paint

I saw this on Pinterest, and had to try it.  I swear I don’t spend all day on Pinterest, though I probably could.

I mixed up the chalk paint like the recipe said.  1 part cornstarch 1 part water and then I just added food coloring until I liked the saturation level.

It was all very pretty to look at.

Then I called Jeremia out to paint by himself.  I felt like he needed a break from his brothers.

As you can tell by his smile, I was right.

It was HOT outside, like 110 degrees HOT! The paint dried almost as soon as it hit the ground.  This project would be better suited for a cooler day, but we’ve been so busy lately, I felt like it was now or never.

I didn’t even bother to clean the pine needles off of the driveway.

When JP was done painting his potted plant, I called Ami and Conrad out for their turn.

I always ask Conrad why he doesn’t put shorts on instead of jeans, when it’s so hot and he says “I just like pants”.  I say “Suit yourself goofball.”

The painting was fun-ish, but it was frustrating how quickly it dried.  It would be a great project for cooler weather.

The best part about the whole thing was when we decided to have a chalk paint race.

I dumped the paint out, on the downhill part of our driveway, and we watched the colors run together, and made guesses on which color would go the farthest.  Orange won.

It was seriously fun.  And gorgeous.

When Derek got home, he took special care  and tried not to park on it, because it was so cool looking.

I took this one with Instagram.  If you haven’t tried Instagram, you should.  It’s just another way too addicting modern marvel.

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Filed under Entertain Me, Everything else, Feeling Fartsy, On The Cheap, Rodents aka kids

How To Keep Your Kids Happy And Quiet For A Few Hours

With a house full of kids, in the middle of summer vacation, contented quiet is in short supply.  If you are a mom you know what I’m talking about, and I’m happy to offer a break for your overstimulated ears and joy for your stir crazy kids. Use the quiet time to return phone calls, pay bills, or peruse Pinterest, which coincidentally is where I found this idea.

You need:

Paper to cover your table

Vinegar

Food Coloring

Baking Soda

Pyrex dishes or cake pans

Droppers-if you’re like me and don’t have droppers just use…

Straws!  I cut 5 straws in half so their were two straws per color.  Every kid who has ever used a straw, knows how to pick fluid up with them.

I gave the boys a super quick demonstration.  It’s pretty straight forward.  Pick colored vinegar up with straw, drop it on dish of baking soda, then ooh and aah at the coolness.

It’s so pretty.

They had a blast.  The house hasn’t  been that quiet since school got out.

They played happily for almost 2 hours and would have played longer, but we had errands to run.

Clean up was a cinch.  The dishes rinsed right out.  The paper protected my table, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have 2 or 3 layers of paper down though.  And I wouldn’t do it the day of anything important, because their hands were stained for the day.

Enjoy the silence!

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Filed under Amazeballs, Entertain Me, Family, Making Memories, On The Cheap, Rodents aka kids

Making Sensory Bottles With Piper

We are so lucky to have a pint sized visitor at our house this week.  My cousin Stacey was nice enough to share her baby girl, Piper, with us.  We have been having tons of fun.  It’s a great chance for me to do crafts that are too young for the boys.

Today we made sensory bottles.

I have seen them around Pinterest and have wanted to make them, but mistakenly thought my boys were to old for it.  Ami has been trying to sneak them away from Piper since she made them.  I think we will be making more in the very near future.

Jeremia was nice enough to bring home 3 empty 8 oz water bottles, from school, for this project.  That size is perfect for small 2 year old hands. The rest of the stuff I had already.

We used pom poms, food coloring, glitter, water and oil, but the possibilities and options are endless.

Please excuse the bad flash photography.  I was juggling too many things and she moves too fast to take clear photos in the kitchen light.

Piper puts pom poms in one of the bottles.

Then she puts some glitter in another bottle.

Snack break.

The one on the left has pom poms, water and glitter, the middle one has water, blue food coloring, glitter and olive oil.  Next time I will use mineral or vegetable oil because they are cheaper, but the oil was an afterthought so I grabbed what was closest.

Leave a little bit of air in the top so everything moves around nicely, then super glue the lids on.  The first thing she tried to do was unscrew the lid so I was very glad I remembered to glue them.

5 minutes is all you need to make these and they provide hours of enjoyment.

Once they are full and glued, all that’s left is to SHAKE ‘EM.

So much fun and it costs next to nothing.

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Filed under Entertain Me, Everything else, Feeling Fartsy, Kids, Making Memories, On The Cheap

Finished

I cannot tell you how tempting it was to paint only the front.  Somehow I kept myself in check and made us paint the whole thing.  It was tedious.  Painting is fun for the first five minutes and then I want to be done.  As long as you don’t inspect too closely it looks great!

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Filed under Let's make things pretty., On The Cheap