Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Goodwill and Target Clearance Finds {February Edition}

 On President's Day, most of the local Goodwills in this area do a 50% off sale.  I bundled up the kids bright and early and headed up there Monday morning!  Few things can motivate this night owl to wake up early like a Goodwill sale!  Or a yard sale...or a church sale...or an estate get the idea.  Haha!

I like this Goodwill better than the one nearer to my house because the prices are more reasonable. The one closer to me seems to forget that...oh, I don't know...everything there is DONATED and have been charging ridiculous prices the last few years!  (Like putting $12.99 on an out-dated shirt from Express circa 1997...wish I was kidding but they do stuff like that all the time!) 

This new (to me) store is overall much more reasonable.  I had both kids with me so I didn't get to look very well in the clothing sections like I wanted, because I had to still go grocery shopping afterward and I didn't want to test their patience.  Side note: I did bring two mini packs of M&Ms for them which definitely helped their motivation levels.  ;)  

I found a cute Starbucks mug, a sweet little ring dish with a bird on it,  a little ceramic bird, and a little pumpkin...all for 50 cents each! 

A glass jar (I have bigger versions of this and I love them), a mug that has become my new favorite in the last two days (lol), and a 2-cup Pyrex glass storage container - mug and jar were $1 each, and the Pyrex was only 50 cents! (Yay!) 

This Pyrex "fridgie" has seen waaaaay better days but for $3 I decided  to risk it and see if I could clean up the scratches and the damage.  I haven't tried yet but I'm going to see if I can!  If nothing else, the lids are hard to find and this one is in great shape with no chips or cracks...I'll use it on my other fridgies for sure! 

A clear locking container for Olivia's Peppa Pig toys, and a unopened package of rubber duckies (my kids are always thrilled with new bath toys!) - both $1 each.

I was sooo excited to find Crocs for Luke for only TWO DOLLARS, and rain boots for three dollars!!! The sneakers for Livi were only $1.50.  The rain boots and sneakers aren't my favorite patterns by any means, but they are just for play outside and they make my kids smile so it's a win-win. :)

And lastly, a few books for the kids - the "Look and Find" was $1, as was the collection of early readers, and the Olivia book  - because of course we collect Olivia books here!!! ;).

The last few pictures are a little dark because I forgot to re-take them all this morning when I took the other pics!  Haha!  

But I also found this pair of Gap "boyfriend" jeans for only $3.50 - when you have an apple shape like me it is nearly impossible to find a pair of jeans that fit your body - seriously, it's like a needle in a haystack.  So I was really excited to find some that can fit and for so cheap!! This picture is what I like to call "texting your sister in the middle of Goodwill to see if you can wear boyfriend jeans with flats because you have no idea how to style them..." Hahaha!

Yesterday I stopped at Target before visiting a friend because she has one 10 minutes from her that is sooo much nicer than the one closer to me! (Why are all the stores near me apparently so junky?? Haha!)  Anyway I had to pop in because I was dying to see what they had for Valentine's clearance and mostly hoping I could get my hands on one of the cute,cute Pyrex containers they released this year!  

And YAY they had a few!! So this pink one just HAD to come home with me for $2.50:

I also snagged some super cheap little Easter basket fillers!  The coloring packs and the little water bottle were only 50 cents each, and the rest varied from $1 - $1.99 for the Lego kit.  And yes this was taken on my bed because I was excitedly texting my friend Amber about the sale yesterday but I couldn't let the kids see what I was doing!  LOL!!

I also snagged this cute bucket, which is now in my laundry room, and this sweet little polka dot box for Olivia's room for her little jewelry collection (both for $1.50 as well!).  Again, sorry about the crooked, blurry picture! ;) 

Amber went today to see what she could find, and that same store was down to 70%!!  So I'm going to call in two days and see if they hit 90% and then I might take a ride back up. ;)

So yes, lots of fun little finds this week! :) 

P.S. I posted this on my Facebook page a few days ago (if you're not following me there, you're missing out! ;)) but my dear friend Amber started a blog recently and you should definitely pay her a visit!  She posts about her DIY projects, her grocery deals and menu plans, and life with a kiddo with Down Syndrome.  You should definitely pay her a visit! :) 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Easy (and DIY) Valentine's Decor - and a Peppa Pig Party!

Hi everyone!  I'm back with some pictures to share with you - Olivia turned 3 (how did that happen already?!) in January and we celebrated with friends and family this past Saturday.  (For the record, we did have gifts and cake on her actual birthday and then we took a family day to go to a children's museum - we just waited to celebrate with friends and family since we were doing a construction project in the house - more on that another time! - and we wanted the house to be cleaned back up first.) We got hit with a huge snowstorm on Friday, but thankfully everyone was still able to make it here on Saturday to celebrate with us! You have to love New England - we all just shovel out and keep on truckin'! ;)

I've had our Valentine's decor up for a while so it just worked out well that Peppa Pig colors are pink and red - it all worked, I think, as decorations! My favorite CHEAP way to decorate for Valentine's day (and for lots of holidays, really!) is to use PAPER!  Yup, cheap scrapbook paper is so affordable but can be used to really perk up a space when you don't have money for much else.  And if you fold it carefully, you can just put it in a folder and store it away safely each year! 

I have a heart punch I got a few years ago 50% off at Michael's...grab some scrapbook paper you like, and some baker's twine (even thread would work if you can't afford the twine!) and tape the hearts to the twine.  Voila! Instant garland that costs next to nothing. ;) 


It's still hard to find a lot of Peppa Pig stuff since it's a British show and hasn't "exploded" over here quite yet.  Party City did have a small section of it - hooray! - but it was mostly blue and yellow to keep it gender-neutral and I didn't want to decorate much with that.  I did grab a few supplies...Livi and I went out together to buy the stuff for her party and she was in love with all of it, naturally. ;)  To keep it cheap I went mostly with pink and red - (Peppa is a pink pig and she wears a red dress) so I was able to just pick up plain pink and red balloons, streamers, tablecloths, and plates.  They are mostly from Walmart - their party stuff is super cheap!

I can't believe I didn't take any pictures of the food!! I always forget to take pics of something at a party and this was it this time.  LOL  I kept it SUPER simple and it was soooo nice not to stress about food prep!  We ordered huge sheet pizzas from a local grocery store, and I just set out a variety of chips, dip, veggies, hummus, salsa, and guac.  Besides cutting up the veggies and making up some homemade ranch dip - oh, and making coffee! haha - everything else was pre-made.  It was so, so nice!  I highly recommend it!  ;) 

I did make the cake though! (Well...I should clarify that Pillsbury and I made the cake - I just happened to decorate the top! LOL) I copied a picture straight from Pinterest, so thank you to the genius person that uploaded this originally!! I showed my mom the original picture, and it was cut out like the shape of Peppa's head.  She told me to keep it simple and just frost the top instead of worrying about cutting it out and trying to frost the sides.  It was a great idea and I'm glad I did it this way instead!

We ate right when everyone came and then we did a little craft.  Our house is small and since the kids couldn't go outside in the snow I wanted them to have an activity to do.  I wracked my brain for an affordable idea that would work well for both boys and girls.  Finally I decided on homemade magnets!  I found a bunch of thin wooden shapes at Michael's for like 29 cents each and then got two packs of heavy-duty magnets.  I super-glued the magnets and set out acrylic paints (I had most of them but I picked up a few more colors at Walmart) in old muffin tins I had that we use for painting.  Each kid got to pick two (this was just some of the choices below) and it was fun to see their creativity!  

I know my kids love to display their artwork so I thought it would be a cute way for them to show their own artwork on their fridge at home.  They seemed to all have fun! And it was a relatively cheap craft, too! Yay! :)  

After the magnets we had cake and presents and then everyone stayed and played for a while.  It was such a wonderful party!  We had so much fun and we just felt so grateful for all the people that love our girl. :)  

The birthday girl had a GREAT time!  I found her shirt on clearance at The Children's Place for just a few dollars, she got new white leggings from Walmart, the Peppa headband from Party City, and the pink tutu she wore for her first birthday photo shoot and it still fits!  Haha! She is petite in the waist that's for sure! LOL

For favors I was again trying to think of something that would be useful to the kids and potentially their parents. ;)  I was able to find these paints on clearance at Walmart for only 97 cents each!! I got a 12-pack of mini Hershey's bars and then just wrapped scrapbook paper around the paint and then again around the candy.  

I wrote each kiddo's name on the card and for the girls I tied on 3 jelly bracelets with baker's twine.  The jelly bracelets were Target Valentine's clearance a year ago!  They came in a big bag and I was saving them for her next party! ;)  There were 3 boys at the party so they got to take a sticky "bug" toy home too.  

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day weekend!  I don't think we are going on a date on Sunday, but hopefully sometime later this month! We will, however, be shopping for a new microwave since ours died after a recent power outage.  #joysofadulthood

I found these cute felt envelopes at Target and I will be putting a few treats in them for my kiddos to open on Sunday! (And yes, I had to take this picture on my bed because I have to keep them hidden in my room.  lol)  

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you! :) 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Thrifting, Fun Finds, and a DIY Holiday Ornament

Good gracious it's been a month since I've been here!  Last time I blogged I was actually in Nashville visiting my sister for the first time EVER at her house - we had a wonderful time and I plan to blog about Nashville soon for sure!  But I came home and got swept up in Thanksgiving, my birthday, and general holiday activities.  

So today I have a random mix of things for you. ;) 

-T H R I F T I N G - 

With a lot of (boring and necessary) house repairs happening lately, and extra medical bills than last year, I really haven't had the extra funds to go thrifting much this year.  It's such a fun hobby for me but I don't always have the luxury of doing it when money gets a little tighter. However, every year on Black Friday, my parents, siblings and I go shopping at Goodwill and then have breakfast at a local diner.  Chris always stays home with the kids (since Goodwill opens at 7 am!) and it's always such a fun morning.  I was so happy to be able to get out and do it again this year!  

Some wonderful soul decided to mark the children's books at mostly $1 each (usually they're almost $3! Insane.) so all of these books except the Dictionary were only 50 cents! (The Dictionary was $1). The ones on the left we will use for homeschooling and as Luke gets older.  I am a huge sucker for seasonal books and am helpless to say no. ;) 

I also got several Magic School Bus books, some space books, and a Bible for Luke for Christmas - but I didn't want to risk him seeing them out for me to take the picture.  

I also got these adorable Adirondack chairs for the kids for only $1 each!  I'm so excited for them to use them next summer by our campfire outside.  And I still haven't wiped them down or taken the stickers off! #classy lol

A fun Christmas shirt for Luke, a great Gymboree puffer vest for him, and the CUTEST sailor dress for Liv in her size that I could not pass up!  All just a few dollars each.  

The SOLE thing I bought for myself was the vintage chipped Santa mug - for a quarter!  I'm basically positive it is covered in chipped lead paint so it is a fun decoration only, don't worry. ;) 

Side note: I am now obsessed with pom-pom garlands.  They're the easiest thing ever! Buy pom-poms at a craft store, string a needle with thread and push them through - they're so soft it's ridiculously easy and it doesn't hurt your fingers at all.  They're just so darn cheerful. :) 

- F U N   F I N D S - 

If you've been to my house you know my slight obsession with elephants - it's like a little game to see how many mini ones you can spot around my home! ;) I was at Marshall's last night and I had birthday money and I simply had to take this Cynthia Rowley apron home with me!  It was only $9.99 and I'm in love with it! Lol! I use my aprons several times a week since I seem to be perpetually baking or cooking and it puts such a smile on my face.  

I also found this pretty gold mercury-glass ornament for only $1.99 at Home Goods.  I tucked it in to my Willow Tree Nativity set display, and I think it looks so pretty there! 

I also was so excited last night to find this dress!! I needed something to wear for our church choir concert on Sunday - something classy but not too flashy.  This Ann Taylor dress was at Marshall's on clearance for $15.00 - the Ann Taylor tag says $139!! (Of course that's clearly insane.)  But I was so happy to find a modest dress that would work for the concert and still would be somewhat cute. ;) 

-D I Y   O R N A M E N T    C R A F T -

Lastly, I wanted to share a SUPER easy and CHEAP craft you can do with your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews...whoever. ;) 

Walmart sells these mini canvases for a dollar each (actually maybe they are two for a dollar?  My memory is failing me now since I bought them months ago).  So grab some brown paint or a brown ink pad and get your kiddos to make a thumbprint for you, then add easy antlers and some ears with a skinny permanent or craft marker....

Find some cute Christmas ribbon (you can usually find cute ribbon at most craft stores for only a dollar!) and hot glue around all the edges....

Then make a loop at the top, hot-gluing it to the back, so you can hang it on your tree - and don't forget to write your kids' names and the year! 

Add embellishments if you want - for Luke I did a red nose and for Livi I added a bow since she is almost never without one.  ;)  That's IT! So easy, right?!  Besides waiting a little bit to make sure the thumbprints are good and dry, this project is hands-on for all of like 5-10 minutes.  :)  

Okay, that's all I have for today! Enjoy the rest of your week! :)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Favorite Things Party {2015}

Hi everybody!  Hard to believe, but it's already that time of year again for Melissa's annual Favorite Things Party! Except for last year when I took a blogging break, I have been participating in this since 2009 - aka the blogging Dark Ages!  ;)   I love getting a big cup of coffee and checking out everyone's links and getting new gift ideas - it's like getting a bunch of free personal shoppers at once - I love it! And I'm so honored to be part of the link-up this year - so thank you, Melissa! :)

As usual, since we seem to be on a perpetual budget over here (ha!), I have kept everything super affordable on the list - in fact, this year I believe everything on here is less than $10! It's always a bummer to see a blogger rave about something fabulous only to find out it's way out of your price range - so my goal was to find, once again, things that I loved that hopefully everyone could afford.  I figured if I can afford it on my budget, anyone can! ;)  

I've included gift items, personal items, some favorite foods, and even some favorite recipes below.  So grab your favorite drink and come browse - I hope you leave inspired with something new! :) 

{T O   B U Y}

{1 - Starbucks Packets}

Sometimes Christmas gifts are easy to find, but stocking stuffers can be tough  - am I right?  Enter...these fabulous Starbucks packets.  Just add warm milk, pop it in the microwave, and you are good to go!  My husband loves these drinks and they can be found at Target and other stores. (I found mine at Christmas Tree Shop this year for only $4.99!  They make a ridiculously cold New England day a little easier to bear!}

{2 - Essie Polish in "Velvet Voyage"}

Another fun item to gift is nail polish - no size required and every girl likes a fun new color to try out! :)  I love Essie colors - they go on thick and I can go longer between coats than other brands.  This color is a little darker than I normally go (it's a deep, DEEP purple) but I've been loving the bold color this fall!  

{3 - Yes To: Coconut Lip Balm}

I'm slightly seriously obsessed with all things coconut and this Yes To one is fabulous!  No scary ingredients and easy to find at drugstores - it's like a little bit of summer on your lips all year round! ;) 

{4 - Earrings from Walmart - YES, Walmart!}

I can't remember where I first heard that Walmart sells jewelry, but they do!  And most of it is crazy cheap - these earrings were $2.88!  Now I'm not saying that they might be the best quality metals (haha!) but I've been wearing these silver ones for months now and they haven't bothered my ears at all.  For $2.88 (!!!) they have lots of fun choices so you can pick a pair up to add to a gift or just buy something fun for yourself! :) 

{5 - Sugar Paper Products}

Every year I go to Target to get my Sugar Paper calendar!  They are simple, gorgeous, and affordable.  I mean, if you have to look at a calendar every day, it might as well be pretty, right?  

{6 - Secret Deodorant: "Stress Response"}

Lastly....deodorant.  You may ask why I'm including this in a favorite things party - well, because I sweat.  Like a lot.  Like A LOT a lot.  I am a nervous sweater, which means I am the lucky kind of person who can literally sweat through a sweater if I get nervous enough.  It's awful. I have literally tried every single deodorant out there, including a prescription for a while but it burned so bad I had to stop.  This deodorant is pricey (it will run you about $9 or so probably) but it is SO WORTH IT.  I'm not saying I don't still sweat, but it helps it bajillion times more and - how to put this nicely - helps you not be stinky.  If you are like me and sweat like crazy, seriously try this!  It will help!! :)  

{T O   E A T}

{1 - Trader Joe's Coconut Cookie Thins and 72% Dark}

Continuing on the coconut theme, if you have a Trader Joe's near you, you MUST go purchase these Coconut Thins!!! The coconut flavor is SO good - seriously, you just have to trust me on this!  And if you're a highly classy eater like me, break off a piece of the 72% dark (they sell it right by the registers) and alternate bites of dark chocolate and coconut crisp cookie. can thank me later! Haha! 

{2 - Starbucks' Caffe Verona blend}

Whether for you or for a gift, Caffe Verona is our favorite blend lately.  I totally won't pretend to be smart enough to know about "finishes" and "notes" and all that stuff when it comes to coffee...but this has a deep, rounded (?) flavor that Chris and I both love.  Plus it's a dark roast so we can get by with slightly smaller tablespoons when filling the coffee pot - see? Delicious AND cost-effective. ;)

{T O   M A K E   &   B A K E}

{1- Feta Dip from Clover Lane}

For the last several years, I have made this Feta Dip from Clover Lane for Christmas Eve with my dad's side of the family.  I buy a baguette at the grocery store (although she also has a amazing baguette recipe on her site that I've made before, too!), slice up some thin rounds, and serve it alongside the dip.  It always gets devoured - it's easy and delicious, and BONUS points - with green onions and Roma tomatoes in it, it automatically has Christmas colors in it! Try it for your next party - I promise you won't regret it!


Photo via Clover Lane

{2- Paula Deen Cheesecake}

The second recipe is a little more complicated - but only because it has several steps (the steps themselves aren't difficult).  The recipe is Paula Deen's "Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping" (say that five times fast! lol!) and it is TO DIE FOR.  Shortbread crust, then cheesecake, then chopped apples with cinnamon, then a brown sugar crumble, then drizzled with caramel.  HELLO!!!  I'm including it here because it would make an amazing Thanksgiving dessert.  I made it in October for our small group and everyone loved it too - you really can't go wrong with a Paula Deen dessert! ;) 

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping

Photo via Food Network

That wraps it us for me this year! Please take a peek at all of the other fabulous ladies participating this year, and thank you to Melissa for having me! {If you don't follow Melissa already, you must - she is so down to earth, her style is impeccable, and she just has wonderful ideas to share! I've been following her for years now and she continues to have great content to share.} I'm the last girl to share for today, but tomorrow Centsational Girl heads the list so be sure to pay her a visit! :)

If you want to see things I've shared in years past, click this link to see what I've shared before - things like my favorite perfume and movies haven't changed.  Either that makes me boring or traditional - you can decide! Haha!

Let me know if you were here and if we share a love of anything on my list!  Happy Monday, everyone! :)

Displaying favorite things 2015 at 320 Sycamore.jpg
Displaying favorite things 2015 at 320 Sycamore.jpg