Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Unexpected Blessings Picture Patterns

Jocelyn and I have had our eyes open for a neat pattern block set since we saw some on Amazon. I was going to buy a set but figured I'd wait until after September when it was in the budget. Granted we still want a nice wooden set  but we were blessed today with a free set from our local thrift store! FREE! YEPPY! It's a Discovery Toys set and all the pieces are there. We couldn't get home fast enough to use it. For the past hour she's been sitting at the table sorting, stacking, and making neat patterns and pictures with her new set. We've been very blessed lately with school supplies that just seem to turn up or we find amazing deals. Just wanted to share her excitement.
My blogging will pick back up after the 12th of Sept. We are preparing for our local festival which requires hours of crafting and sewing on my part and tug of war attention getting from the rest of my family. Finding the time to squeeze in everything in near impossible.
Until then....school away my dears!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010



 Here's another great giveaway! This is for TWO Leap Frog Counting Puzzles. The two at the bottom of this pic! (Not the shapes puzzle, my daughters snagged that one!) We love everything Leap Frog but the puzzle stash is over flowing. These two Counting puzzles are brand new and in excellent shape.
If you want a chance to win both counting puzzles....

  • FOLLOW this blog and leave a comment letting me know you're a follower with an email to contact you if you win!
This giveaway is open to US residents until Saturday, August 28th at 8:00 P.M EST, at which time I will randomly choose a winner. Please be sure you leave a way to contact you in your comments (via your blog or an email address). If I don't hear back from you in three (3) days, I'll have to select another winner.

GOOD LUCK!!!! Check back at  Homeschool Creations for more great giveaways!

Curriculum Clean Out!!!!


 Add an awesome craft book to your stash of school supplies! I happen to have a duplicate so here ya go!
If you would like to win this cool 128 page craft book.....
  • Become a follower of this blog and leave a comment letting me know you're following with an email address to contact you if you win! 

Check out the other great giveaways at Homeschool Creations !!!!!!

This giveaway is open to US residents until Saturday, August 28th at 8:00 P.M EST, at which time I will randomly choose a winner. Please be sure you leave a way to contact you in your comments (via your blog or an email address). If I don't hear back from you in three (3) days, I'll have to select another winner.

BEST OF LUCK!!!! Check back for other giveaways!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mama Jenn is having a giveaway!

MAMA JENN is having a giveaway for Confessions of a Homeschoolers Geography Curriculum!
Check it out here!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


          "Ready to bargain shop mommy!"
  It's been said "a penny saved is a penny earned." Past generations mastered the art of saving a buck but somehow along the line the materialistic desire to keep up with the Jones' sent us into a nasty spiral of spending. We think spending less time in the kitchen is solved with buying convenience foods to just pop in the microwave. We buy boxed meals instead of cooking from scratch. We buy the bulk bag of brightly colored munchies on the end cap cause we think its cheaper. We fall for the latest fads and run to the malls for the perfect accessories. Our world is filled with the constant output of advertising just to get us to buy the bigger and better. Who decided the "name brand" box was better for you than the plain labeled generic. I had two different boxes of Rigatoni in the cabinet last week and compared them. Believe it or not they were EXACTLY the same ingredients, nutrition facts, & everything! The one cost almost .55 more!

Even better don't you love the "pre" packaged gimmick! Nice little packets of munchies, cheeses, mixed fruits for your fast paced lifestyle. If you ever sat down to do the math you'd see it would be cheaper to buy the big uncut block of cheese and divide it up yourself. "But it's fast and it's easy to grab!" Yes exactly and that's what you're paying for the ease of convenience.
Isn't it funny that most envision the "frugal" or "cheap" as the crazy lady with all the cats who pays with change or the old guy with the cases of canned fruit and the twenty coupons. Welcome to the next generation!!! We still use coupons and we are just a wee bit crazy! No we don't run around abandoning hygiene and new clothes for the sake of a buck. This generation is doing it in a whole new way! We have the advantage of the web to get exactly the coupons we need. We've got pretty little reusable shopping bags. We have entire networks of bargains right at our fingertips. We don't have to wait for the leftover coupons to get passed from the neighbor only to find the ones we needed someone already cut. Internet Baby! Print 'em, Cut 'em, Use 'em!
It's not about just saving a penny but creating a better lifestyle for ourselves, our wallets, and our stomach. Use what we can & reuse if possible.

Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Or do without.
That should be how you approach your incoming and outgoings. Look at everything you use and see what can be done with it.

So how do we save money on groceries, its fairly simple. 

  • Don't buy name brand unless it proves to be cheaper than generic. The only exceptions to this are some basic ingredients like flour which I refuse to buy cheap stale white crap.  
  • Clip coupons. Get you coupons HERE
  • Stick to the list. Just like you have to train and discipline children you MUST stick to your guns in the store! It's easy to go in for a few items and walk out with a cart load. If it's not on the list don't buy it!
  • Cook meals that are economical and healthy. If your time is limited cook meals to freeze and just thaw when needed.
  • Buy fruits and veggies that are in season.
  • Shop local farmers markets and discount grocery stores
  • Dress up the leftovers. If the family doesn't like leftovers, give it a makeover. Spaghetti takes on a new taste by tossing it in a frying pan w/ olive oil and a few spices.
  • Cut back on meats. (That's a whole other blog!)
  • Invest in a bread maker or make fresh bread by hand. You'll never pay $4 for a loaf that you can wipe out in one day! It's super easy really!
  • Ditch the cabinet full of cleaning supplies and go with the basics. Vinegar is key! (another blog!)
  • Use cloth napkins and have a bin of kitchen "rags" (bar towels) for quick clean ups instead of expensive paper towels.
  • Pack lunches in reusable containers   Check out Easy Lunch Boxes HERE
  • Compare local grocery circulars Giant Food Stores and Redner's Warehouse and                            Country Harvest (doubles coupons) and Target coupons! and Walmart 
  • Cut back on sweet treats and stick with healthy easy snacks... dried fruit, carrots, dried nuts and seeds.
Hope this has helped to inspire some thrifty shopping. It's not easy since most folks are set in their ways and are not ready to give up the fancy ketchup! Happy Shopping!!!!

simple sublime GIFTS... book review time!

I'm not the type to buy general craft books since nearly everything nowadays can be found online not to mention the awesome tutorials and unending ideas. But HELLO! Look at that Apron! I was instantly entranced with that chic "wonder"ful apron. I had to have it! Off I went searching the awesomely huge web for anything about it. How on earth did she get the childhood bread memory slapped onto that adorable apron? Thus the question that forced me to buy the book. After thought I could of just gone to the local big book store flipped open the cover and BAM read the simple trick but no had to have it! Minor regrets only because I'm never that easy with my money but it's gonna be okay, atleast that's what I'm telling myself.
So the review.
I'll be totally honest I'm not crazy impressed by the assortment of projects. There really isn't much assortment at all. Jodi Kahn has an apparent love affair with fabric transfers! A fairly large chunk of her ideas revolve around printing pics of everyday things like a soup labels or name tags and iron them onto items. I did think the Soup can was cute since my girls would love plush little cans of soup for their play kitchen.
With the exception of the illusive wonder apron you can find the how to on nearly every other goodie in this book online. Shrinky dinks for charms, notebooks and gift tags from cereal or candy boxes, fabric covered cards and photo frames, recycling towels into bags or quilts. All fairly elementary to the experienced sewers and crafters but certainly a cute gathering of ideas for those who like it wrapped up in a colorful book. I could see providing this book to up and coming crafters or those with no creative imagination. The step by step instructions are good but again I love the internets wealth of step by step "photo" tutorials and everyones feedback after they've tried to conquer a craft.

Jodi Kahn is a very sweet and crafty lady, I've enjoyed her on Martha Stewart and her Simply sublime blog occasional peaks my interest with this or that. Her book although in my opinion leaves not much more than the sixty other craft books already residing on the Barnes & Noble overstuffed shelves. This being said that darn apron had me! If you're the crafty type who can independently create your own apron or garment without instructions do so and don't forget the parchment paper, wonder bread wrappers, and your ironing board! Yea it is that simple! One other thing I learned but could of found right here on the web was Freezer Paper is the key to making your very own printable fabric.
You can buy Simply Sublime HERE on Amazon. Buy it! Don't Buy it! Or wait for it to hit the used book table.
I purchased this book on my own accord and was not paid, asked, or swayed by the Author or Publisher as to my opinion of this book.

Proto backback... tutorial later

So much to do and so little time but for starters there has been a battle over the one and only toddler backpack in the house. Jocelyn and Ariana want to carry it around but you know how that goes. Sharing is not a strong quality for them as of yet. So I set about to create a new backpack for Ariana. The original  probably came from something like Weekly Reader or Highlights and was the perfect size. Sitting on the living room floor with my measuring tape, pen & paper I drafted a general pattern from it. All the while the girls kept running off with the measuring tape, scribbling on my measurements, and still fighting over who gets to wear it next. I managed to get a rough pattern made. I just used what I had on hand since this would be an extremely rough run. I hate wasting fabric and supplies on proto types. I had some medium weight canvas like stuff that fit the bill just fine. I thought I had some piping but must of been dreaming. I did however have some cheap shoe laces and bias tape, combined they fill in for piping.
I hadn't bothered using a proper zipper foot in years but heard it was a good idea for piping and I had to put in a zipper too. So I learned with only a little mumbled cursing how to use it...OMG that was easy. Then the trick was how to get all the pieces together in a fashion that would not require me to tear it apart a zillion times because of poor planning. The very unique backpack was finished after numerous interruptions of "mommy, more crackers, I gotta potty, She has my book!, Bellas crying mommy," blah blah blah.
Keep in mind this was only a test run so I didn't bother with being neat or using proper hardware or fancy straps. Just cut and dry basics.
Here's the original I'm trying to replicate....

And here is what I came up with....Ignore the sloppy sewing, trial run remember!

When I get it "tweaked" to my liking I want to use adjustable hardware for the straps with nice thick shoulder straps. I like the gusset pocket but have to perfect the flap and closure. I only used the make shift piping on the back seam but it could be used for the front too. I certainly think it could be either way although it does give it a more finished look and helps hold the form of the pack itself.
Sometime in September Ill try to get around to making another with the right supplies and maybe do a step by step tutorial. Who won't love to have a cute personalized backpack!