Friday, December 31, 2010

Bye Bye 2010!!

Well gang, this is it! The last post of 2010!!! I have to say, thank you to those who take the time to read my little piece of the internet. I hope you find the tutorials helpful, the stories interesting or uplifting, and I appreciate all the friends I've made this year!

The online world can seem so big yet I managed to find some great friends along the way!! :)

I hope you all have a great weekend and 2010 has been a good year for you. I have to say it's been a fairly good year for me, albeit a busy one, and I can't believe it's over! Here's to a good new year!! :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Year of Living Frugally--Update

Time for an update gang!

Well my Adventures in Couponing is 2 months in. I can't really say whether it's totally paid off yet, although I do obviously see the savings at the register. For instance my bill yesterday at Walmart went from 318 to 272 with coupons! Mind you, this was a BIG shop but included hardly no was the "coupons are expiring shop". :) I now have a plentiful supply of bath and body/cleaning/personal products. Our teeth shall always be clean in our house!!

But that is one of the points from CouponMom, you should NEVER run out of stuff like toothpaste, tissues, toilet paper, etc, if you shop with coupons and when it's on sale. Those are also items to combine savings at drugstores on and save them for easy donations. For example, a .97 Secret deodorant with a .50 coupon means for .47c you can donate that deodorant to your nearest women's shelter for a woman who has quite possibly escaped with only the clothes on her back. Will you save her life? No, not literally, but you could provide her with a little comfort and nicety in a difficult time for her.

Also, please don't forget the military. Military families on bases can use coupons past their expiration date. So NEVER throw out those coupons! You can find info on the Military program here. PLEASE follow the rules and do not waste time sending coupons that are over 6 mos expired. Remember you also don't have to wait til their expired. As you go through your coupons, if you will not EVER use the product, put it in your folder for military ones!

I will say, I have not hardly bought any meat since the first of November! I went then and purchased boneless, skinless chicken breasts, ground meat, bacon and lunchmeat from Sam's Club. I also snagged 3 turkeys when they were on sale for Thanksgiving, and 2 Roasts when they were on sale in November. Since then I have only had to buy 2 ground meats (and really only because they were on deep sale, I didn't "need" them.) and 1 bag of chicken leq quarters (which at 6 bucks a bag, makes 5-6 meals in my house, so that's a good price!).

So only time will tell if all this stockpiling is really going to save me money. I suspect that I will not actually SPEND less but I will get FAR more. I have an extra stock pile of non perishables in the garage, and have been able to splurge on some sodas and a few things for the boys that I don't normally because I saved money in the food dept. I'll be reevaluating my spending in January as that will be the 3 mo mark of starting my adventure, and we'll tally it up and see if I REALLY got more for my money :)

The main lesson I've learned is, if you'll REALLY use it, and the coupon makes it cheaper than the store brand...go for it!!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Rest in Peace, Mom.

Ten years ago today I lost my mother. I was only 21 years old. She was ill for much of my life, off and on, and to say we had an interesting, not quite healthy relationship is an understatement. She had many issues, we had our ups and downs, and she was a bit of a mess at times....but she was always my mom. I always knew she loved me, cared for me and wanted the best for me.

She died just when my husband and I were finally truly "together" (after years of 'will they, won't they?' drama!) I suspect she knew I was grown, safe and she could safely go without totally screwing me up. It was a rough, rough month the last month before she died. A lot of drama, a lot of disappointment on behalf of the medical establishments and my own family. But I was there for her, and helped took care of her the best a 21 year old college student could.

My only regret is I was not actually at the hospital the day she died. They had called that morning and said she wasn't well, but it was not a dire situation. I went to church as she would have wanted me to, and was 30 miles away when my brother called to say she wasn't doing good. Before I could get home, she had passed. I'll never forget hearing that news. Ever.

Mothers are a tricky substance....we love 'em, we hate 'em, but we need them. I wish I'd had mine a lot longer. I know she'd be happy for me now. Loving husband, beautiful boys, college graduate, I don't think I'd be a disappointment to her. I think she'd be proud.

2000-2001 was a rough year for me. I lost my mother December 23rd, 2000, and my grandmother December 14th 2001 (the SAME exact day I graduated for college. She died 20 minutes after hearing I had graduated...her only grandchild at that point to graduate college.) It was a long, long year and years to come.

My point in all this personal drama is that, if you're lucky enough to still have your mother, hug her, call her, write her, love her. If she's gone...know you're not alone....there are lots of others who miss their moms every single day.

My goal in life is to be the best mother I can be to my own two boys....they say we learn from our parents by the mistakes they made with hopefully, I have learned enough and I do right by my boys.

Mama would want it that way. Miss you mom.


I don't have many pictures of her on is in her 20's I believe.
Me, being goofy at my niece's wedding a year ago. I do see the similarities :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Impatient Craftaholic Series--Non Skid Socks

Hey gang! This one is UBER easy.

Know those nifty socks you see for sale for kids that have the little non skid things so your toddler doesn't slip and bust his teeth as he's careening through the house? Well they're cute but something you CAN make yourself.

Puffy Fabric Paint (found at just about any big box store, craft store or online. I happened to have Tulip brand on hand)
Toddler/Kids socks
Work Surface

Lay your socks so the bottom of the sock is flat on your work surface so you can easily draw with your puffy paint. (excuse my dirty socks, I just used existing socks!)

Then just dot and draw whatever you want on the bottom of your socks!

Let the paint dry 24 hours or so and that's it! Follow the instructions on the paint for washing and drying, but generally they suggest turning the item inside out when washing and drying.

Then let your child loose on a tile floor and let them run like crazy....with less slip ups!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Best Local Gifts--New Orleans

Thank you for including Mama's Little Monkeys in your gift list :)

Best Local Gifts Made by Moms
Monday, 06 December 2010
The nolaParent Mompreneur Community is creating, writing, designing, developing, educating, baking, blogging, crafting, drafting, publishing,...
© 2010 -

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sock Monkey Workshops

This is too awesome not to repost from Miss Malaprop's site!


Okay, this is just awesome. Thanks to Humid Beings, I just found out about the Razzamataz Sock Monkey project that has been going on since 1999. Amazingly enough, I am actually still free on the dates they’ll be making sock monkeys this year, and the place where they’ll be doing it is really close to where I live. Who wants to join me?

Basically a bunch of people get together, spend the day making sock monkeys, and then they get delivered to disadvantaged kids in the New Orleans area. Awesome, right? They will be hosting a sock monkey building weekend workshop that is FREE and open to the public at Razzamataz Production Studios, 4820 Banks Street (Mid-City) in New Orleans (big red warehouse with a long driveway). The workshops will take place on Saturday, December 18th and Sunday, December 19th, from 10am – 6pm both days.
Don’t live in New Orleans? You can also make a tax-deductible donation of money or craft supplies, or make a sock monkey (instructions how to make one here) and send it to the Sock Monkey Project. For more info, contact Dr. Razzamataz at 504-301-8201 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              504-301-8201      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, visit, or email ryan (at)


Thanks Mallory for sharing!!! :) I hope to make it tot he Sunday one! I actually have a stash of red heel monkeys that need making!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving and Black Friday Deals!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! I hope you have a great day with your family and friends and enjoy the day to reflect on what blessings you have in your life!!

We'll be enjoying our food, watching the Saints kick the Cowboys butt (hurry and enter my giveway!!) and just relaxing.

Will you be going out on Black Friday? I can't because my husband works and I sure do not drag kids out shopping at 4 am.. LOL. Nor do I WANT To fight the crowds..I prefer to shop online! So in honor of that, here are my special coupon codes and deals you can try out! :)

Shop: Mama's Little Monkeys on Etsy
Code: blackfriday
Sale: 15% off any order (ends 11/29/10)

Code: handmadelouisiana
Sale: 15% off any order (ends 12/10/10)

Shop: Badge Reels on Etsy
Code: blackfriday10
Sale: 20% off any order (ends 11/29/10)

Code: handmadelouisiana or cafemomteam
Sale: 15% off any order (ends 12/10/10)

Shop: MicroMops on Etsy
Code: handmadelouisiana or cafemomteam
Sale: 15% off any order (ends 12/10/10)

Code: blackfriday20
Sale: 20% off any order (ends 11/29/10)

Shop: Mama's Little Monkeys on Artfire
Code: blackfriday2010
Sale: Free Shipping on Orders over 5.00 (11/25/10--11/30/10)

Shop: Badge Reels on Artfire 15% off sale Through Monday also!
Code: cafemomteam
Sale: 15% off

Shop: Micro Mops on Artfire
Code: cafemomteam
Sale: 15% off

I hope that's all of them!! Happy Shopping! Be sure to check and for more deals from great sellers!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Year of Living Frugally--Update

So how goes your frugality!? Finding any good deals? Learning new ways to save money??

My next major post on frugality will be on how to use social networking to help save you some dimes, but I wanted to check in and share this week's major savings!

Walgreens has Coffee Mate buy 1 get 1 free (liquids 2.49 value). I used this coupon and you can find more here. So I snagged 2 Coffee Mate liquid creamers (french vanilla was all they had, but hey!) for .49c!! Can you beat that?????

I also snagged up the Reynold's Aluminum Foil for .89...the ad was for 20 sq feet but they didn't have any, just the 25 sq feet, so I snagged up 3 of them for .89c each! :) That goes in my extra stock pile in the garage along with other non perishable items!!

I'm enjoying the challenge of saving money and hope you are finding some good deals too!


Pssst, don't forget to enter my giveaway to win a badge reel or ponytails!! Hurry before Thanksgiving, because once the Saints/Cowboys game is over, the giveaway is over!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Shops on Semi-Vacation for a bit!

I know, it seems like I just did this! But ever since my real vacation back in September, I've been longing for the days when I did NOT run multiple shops. Yes, I am aware the opening of a gazillion shops is all my own doing. And I do love doing it! But some days I long for the days I sat on the sofa, played with my little boys and watched Oprah.

Well some things have changed...I no longer care to watch Oprah, and one boy is in school. But Eli will be starting Preschool Early Intervention in late January and then he'll be gone 4 hours a day! So I want to spend some time with him while he's here and then when he's in school...spend that time enjoying and creating for ME and my loved ones!

Some of my shops will remain open, here's the lowdown:

Taking a Break from:

Mama's Little Monkeys on Etsy: Will go on vacay 12/21/10. I will reopen it....eventually. I honestly don't know. It depends on how the other shops keep me busy!

Destash City on Etsy: Will go on vacay 12/21/10. Again, not sure when I'll reopen it. The inventory for that shop varies due to how much overage in supplies I buy. I've been on a mission to use more and buy less, so naturally my inventory for that is lesser than usual.

Nap Mat Covers: Will go on vacay 12/21/10. I will likely reopen in February, but whether custom nap mat covers will come back, will depend on how busy I am at that time. While I do love creating custom nap mat covers, I also have to manage my time!

Fleur De Ink: Will remain closed. It's been that way for several months and will likely stay that way...there are just not enough hours in the day! You can still learn how to make my flower pens by checking out my tutorial over yonder on the left side <------.

MicroMops on Etsy: Will go on vacation 12/21/10 or possibly sooner! Dee (the other half of Micro Mops) is due to have her 3rd child in early March, so we will reopen when we have our inventory settled and our stock up enough so she can enjoy her maternity leave in peace! Her crochet items will not be available while she's on leave, so snatch those up now!

Staying Open:

Amelia Amos Soaps: Will remain open until the stock runs out. I planned to only open Amelia Amos for a very short time. The southern heat does not do great when making/shipping soaps so I will only be open for the winter months while supplies last. Once what's made is gone, it's gone. So grab it while you can if you want them!!

Badge Reels on Etsy and Artfire: Staying open! :) Making badge reels is something I really, really enjoy. I find the button making very therapeutic and I love making someone's work day a little brighter! Keep an eye on the Artfire shop for some Black Friday deals!

MicroMops on Artfire: Will stay open with some inventory adjustments when it's time for Dee to take her maternity leave. As long as I can stay on top of things while she babymoons, it will stay open! :)

Mama's Little Monkeys on Artfire: Will stay open, although custom items like vendor aprons may disappear for a bit. :) Keep an eye on this shop also for Black Friday deals!

Destash City on Artfire: Will remain open unless things get crazy! :)

Now WHY am I rearranging/closing/going on vacation some things? I realize I've done this "reevaluating" before and I usually reopen soon because I can't help it....I start jonesing to create. But this time I plan to create---just not for the shops! And for these reasons:

1. I am a mommy first. And I never want to neglect my family or home to run shops. I love what I do, when I'm creating...because it is creating. I love having that little piece of me, that time for ME! So if cutting back on things allows me to keep my fave shops open and still create and be a mommy, then I'm happy.

2. Dee is the other half of MicroMops....she'll be having that baby before we know it, and I'll be on my own running that shop! So obviously...I need to prioritize...

3. I have a to do list of stuff to do for me, my house and my kids that is a mile long. I can't get that stuff done if I'm constantly creating, taking pics, listing, promoting, advertising, packaging, shipping for the shops. A lot of people start handmade thinking it'll be easy peasy. Um, no. You are the creator, administration, accountant, order fulfillment center, packaging and shipping department, customer service dept, branding and photography dept and more! To say its time consuming is a huge understatement!

4. I have other obligations! I run Handmade Louisiana, I'd like to volunteer more at my child's school, I'd like to volunteer more with the special needs non profit in my area, I occasionally substitute at local schools, and I run other blogs than this one....all that takes time!

That is the beauty of running your own online can take a break, come back when you want, and quit when you want! I realize how fast time is flying and I need to do what I can, when I can...and that is why!

I hope this makes sense and doesn't seem wishy washy. Trust me, I'm not going anywhere....I'm just cutting back which my friends have told me to do for a year now! I'm just finally listening....


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thanksgiving Showdown Giveaway

In case you are unaware, this Thanksgiving's football game will be the Cowboys (Thanksgiving Tradition) against the Saints.

This is huge for my house. On top of the usual food, family and unbuckled husband is a *cough* Cowboys fan. (Yes, I STILL married him...) I, of course, am not. Considering we live on what is called the Northshore of New's a wee bit embarassing that he loves the Cowgirls. So, naturally I'm praying for a spanking of epic Black and Gold proportions.

So, I thought a little contest was in order! Your mission, should you choose to accept it...predict the winner of the Dallas Cowboys vs. New Orleans Saints game on Thanksgiving Day. I promise NOT to hold it against you if you choose the Cowboys. I promise....

Just leave a comment here with your prediction of winner and you'll receive your choice of one of the following:

Dallas Cowboys ID Badge Holder or Keychain:

or an even more awesome, New Orleans Saints ID Badge Holder or Keychain
(with mylar buttons made by Gypsy Goods!)

If you really don't need a ID holder, You can also choose a set of ponytails such as my black and gold ponytails (with embroidery by AuntiFranni!)

You could also have a set of Dallas Cowboys ponytails, but I don't have a photo of those because well....I haven't had the heart to make a pair offends my black and gold sensibilities.... :)

So get ready to get your game on...enjoy some turkey and be sure to leave your guess in a comment on THIS post! I'll use to choose the winner and announce it over the weekend!!

Be sure to check out Badge Reels and my other shops (see links below my blog header) particularly on Black Friday for some special deals!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Y ear of Living Frugally--Be Entertained....

Ahh, we continue the year of living frugally. I've been diligently cutting coupons, scouring the net for deals and tricks. I have to say I think it's going fairly well. I am now stockpiled with enough meats to get through our family dinners for several weeks or more!

So carrying on with my little shall we entertain ourselves on the cheap?

This is one area where we don’t need much help because we rarely do anything! We are the family that has no problem using a TV we got for free until it literally falls apart, we rarely go to the movies, we take walks, play games, read books....we're rather low key.

Here’s what we’ve done so far that helps:

MUSIC: This is a free music service you can use on your PC (and I’m guessing it has other mobile apps, but that’s obviously something I don’t waste money on). You create custom radio stations based on your fave artists, songs, music genres and viola---free music! I believe you are only allowed 30 free hours a month, so use it wisely. It took some time but I have trained myself: I pause the music or turn it off when I’ll be out of the room for any length of time. It automatically stops the music for you in some time if you are not ‘active’ on the site for some time. It has nifty features like song lyrics, the ability to buy a song, and social networking connections. You have to listen to a few ads every so often, but who cares? I buy CD’s only for the artists I REALLLLLLLY love.

Movies/DVD’s: Okay seriously, we RARELY buy or even go see movies. We don’t even belong to anything like Netflix. But if we did, it would probably be Netflix where you can stream videos on your computer or with your Wii! We just aren’t huge movie people. We buy the ones we REALLY love that we want to keep forever, and the few that the kids want (and we do so on sale or with discounts!). With as much is on television these days, we don’t have time or need for buying/watching movies.

Redbox is also a great way to get movies. There are tons located around the country and for 1.00 you can check out a movie. Return it the next day and you have spent 1.00 and tax (and a little gas) for a movie! You can use to pay, hold movies and if you sign up for the emails, they usually send freebie coupons every so often!

Television: We currently use Dish Network. It was cheaper than DirectTV and WAY cheaper than our local cable company.  We have the 2nd cheapest plan meaning, for us, we get the channels we want for the most part and a DVR for under 50 a month. Your plan will vary for your families needs. For us, the DVR is priceless, because instead of buying my kids movies, I simply record their fave tv shows and viola…30 minutes of peace. Dish Network also regularly previews other channels not included in your package so if you see a show you like on that preview channel…just DVR a whole mess of them. That is how I have my stash of Golden Girls episodes. Don’t be hatin…you know you love the girls.
Dish even showed a marathon of all the "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" episodes that were off air when Dish and Fox had their little spat over money and airing their Fox shows. I find their customer service to be superb over DirecTV. is also a great resource for FREE television. You can also watch many of your fave shows on the website for their network, for example, you can watch ABC Primetime shows on

Books: Seriously, do I even NEED to spout the benefits of going to the library???? REALLY? Books for free. DUH. Videos too! If you simply MUST purchase books and you do it on a regularly basis try your local bookstore chains rewards program. Some cost, some don’t. But if you buy books enough, the cost of the program should be far less than the savings you’ll receive. If you do NOT save more than you spend on the program, um, duh, drop it. Amazon and Ebay are great places to get good priced books as well. There are also various swap websites and trading websites for books, but I don't have experience with them. For that you shall google.

And get your behind to the aforementioned library.

Black Friday and this time of year is the time to stock up on family board games also! One Black Friday (when my oldest was a newborn and I was up before dawn ANYWAYS) I stocked up on several of the traditional kids games (Candy Land, etc) for 5.00 each a game!

Memberships for Local Activities: These things will vary based on your area. Generally speaking, if you are even a small family and you visit your local museum, zoo, aquarium, etc more than a few times a year....joining the membership is worth it. For us, we also go more since we are members. We may still only go to the zoo 6x a year or so...but if we even go 3x we have paid for our membership. We are blessed to have access to the Audubon Institute were we can go to the zoo, aquarium and get discounts at the IMAX and the Insectarium. Keep an eye out and scope around for deals on local activity memberships on the cheap!

I hope these were helpful tips and saves you some moola! Do you have any tips you can share with us!!??

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Freebie Shop Banners

Hey gang. I'm no expert banner maker here, but I thought I'd share a few I had done. Again, I'm super easy peasy, made from free digital scrapbooking images, feel free to use, share (for free!) or save for another day! :)

All banners are 760x100.
To add your shop name/url to any banner open it up in a paint program (like and after choosing a font from Dafont, you can add your text as a layer on top of the banner.

Enjoy! :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fall Back...into Hell...

The seasons they are a-changing. I LOVE this time of year....the falling back, the cooler weather, warm slippers, long pj's on tiny humans, sweaters, hot chocolate, football, fires, no hurricanes, pumpkins, turkeys, mommy wanting to drink because her child has lost his ever loving mind....

er what?

Yes, perhaps you mommies of children with Autism or other special needs are aware of this phenomenon. I do NOT have any data to back this up, but my son's therapists have told me he's not unique that when the weather changes, seasons change or even if a bad storm is approaching, their children on the spectrum go NUTS.  Children who were making fine progress may regress, others may have rampant mood swings, others may stim a lot more than before, and overall it just drives parents/therapists/the poor old lady at walmart INSANE.

Eli has taken the rampant mood swing route. If I did not know he was a nearly 3 yr old boy, I'd swear he was PMS'ing. We LITERALLY had this exchange this morning...

"HI MOMMY!" (happy as can be)
"Hi Eli!" (returning happiness)
"I...want...jerky" (fruit strips from target)
"Okay buddy!"

Mommy gets out jerky, unwraps it, hands it to Eli..

Commence meltdown of Chernobyl proportions. I take jerky away. Screams. I give back. Screams.

Socks on. Screams.
Socks off. Screams.
Needs Diaper changed. Screams.
Clean diaper on..Screams.

God bless naps and daddy being home on Sunday...

Let's just pray he adjusts to the temp/season changes soon...we're stuck home ALL DAY tomorrow awaiting a UPS package I have to sign for. Oh the suspense...


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Living Frugally Weekly Confessional

So I'm actively attempting to save money and thought I'd share this week's adventures! :)

I checked out the ads in the free paper they throw around my neighborhood and it has the weekly ads in it. I knew Toy Story 3 was coming out, and that I had to get my son's blood work done on Tuesday, when the movie came out (nifty coincidence so that could be his reward!)

So I saw the CVS ad and noticed if you bought 25.00 worth of certain items you got the movie for 3.99. Usually I disregard those type of ads because they are lures and it's not really worth the savings. The movie itself is 15 bucks at Walmart or Target usually, so spending to save doesn't make sense to me usually!

But this time I did the math. I looked at the items on sale that qualified for the deal. I looked through my coupons. Lo and behold I had a coupon for every single item I would have normally bought in that deal! So that's how I ended up with:

20 count Charmin Toilet Paper for 9.97
8 rolls of Bounty Paper Towels for 6.97
10pk Duracell batteries (x2) for 5.97 eac
Crest Pro Health Toothpaste (x2) for 2.75 each
Dawn dishwashing soap for .97c
Puffs Tissues for .97.

So that meant I got the movie for 3.99.

So in the end I spent 39 and got all that stuff plus the movie. I could have not gotten for example, the batteries, but everything I bought was stuff we use on a normal basis. Everything I got was on sale and had a coupon, not too shabby considering the movie itself (with its fancy useless to me blue ray disc) is 30 something alone in some stores.

And I have plenty of toilet paper...can't complain about that....


Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Year of Living Frugally--Introduction

So I've been dabbling in this world of saving money..(what? People DO that?) and I'm rather enjoying it. November 1st starts my true Year of Living Frugally. I hope to chronicle how it goes, share the tips and tricks, and STICK WITH IT! A little backstory:

We are a one income family and have been for nearly 4 years. We could absolutely benefit from me working full time, but at this point it's not a viable option. After I paid for daycare and other work costs, the profit would not be much and having a child with Autism at home, it's an even less a viable option. You don't just put your child with special needs in just any daycare. Both boys will be in full time school within 2-3 years so we can certainly reexamine the situation then (or if a sudden opportunity comes up before then).

Right now we are blessed with me being able to stay home with Eli. However that doesn't mean we don't need to pinch pennies! It seems everywhere I turn in my life, friends are suffering from illness, job loss, and needing to save money or just weather the storm. (I'll refrain from discussing the political angle of this for now) I can't help but wonder, how long before I'm next?

So I've been experimenting for some time now with saving money. Thus far, here are some things that have worked for me in the area of running your day to day household chores.

*Making my own laundry soap. The materials are fairly inexpensive, and the costs vary. I purchase cold process soap from CosmicCleanBody and the rest of the materials from local stores. Just google "How to make laundry detergent" and you'll find a ton of resources!

*Line Drying Clothes: This is a less oft used solution for me because living in the deep south leads to great humidity which apparently does not do great for line dried clothes. But as we are FINALLY getting cooler I plan to start drying on the line again .When I do tumble dry clothes, I do several loads at once so once the dryer has heated up once, it doesn't have to work so hard at drying the next few loads.

*CrockPot Cooking: I have no data to back this up, but I highly suspect that crock pot cooking saves money. Not only do you generally make a meal that lasts for days, and gives you leftovers to freeze, you aren't running your stove/oven for hours. So I've got no actual cents on this one, but I think it saves money. It definitely saves time!!

*Planning your Menu  This seems like a no brainer to me but I am shocked to hear how many people do not plan their menu. Now this is not to say I stick to it religiously. There are plenty of days where I forget to thaw meat or something, so I shift to another days schedule..but because I have a menu and I purchased my groceries based on that, I have the items there to make the planned meals. I combine this with coupon clipping, looking at the grocery ads (that they throw in the free sample paper 1-2x a week), and basing the menu off whats already in the freezer/pantry. And while we're at it: Keep your freezer/fridge Full: This keeps the air circulating just so and your appliance doesn't have to work so hard to pump out cold air. Just don't pack it TOO full or it'll not be able to move the air freely.

*Cleaning: This is an area of our lives that people probably waste a lot of money in. Quite honestly there isn't much in this world that can't be cleaned with vinegar, baking soda and a lemon. But just assuming that's not your thing, here are some ways we save money cleaning. 
  • Reusable Cloths: I do buy paper towels for some things but for cleaning, I try to keep with reusable cloths. Now, I sew, so I have in my possession, a wide variety of fabrics. I make my own cloth flannel wipes, reusable Swiffer Wet Jet Pads, grocery bag holders, laundry bags, etc. I so firmly believe in this lifestyle change that I run Micro Mops with my fellow penny pincher, Dee :) You can keep a stack of cloths in your drawer and just throw them in with your regular laundry. Don't sew? Check out my shop or head to Sam's or another big box store and buy a giant pack of terry cloth el-cheapo towels.
  • Refilling Cleaning Solutions: Chances are you can use far less of the amount listed on cleaning solutions. Or you can refill them when you think you can't. Use a Swiffer WetJet? Well when the solution runs out, simply hold the bottle upside down so the top is submerged in very hot-boiling water for just a minute. This loosens the glue so you can remove the cap and refill with your fave cleaning solution. Continue this until the bottle is too grimy to use anymore! If you use liquid hand soap, look into buying in bulk, or the larger refill bags, you can reuse the same container and just refill with the liquid when it runs out. 
  • Washing Items in Cold Water: You REALLY don't need to wash much in Hot water unless its really dirty (like soiled towels/sheets) or the care label specifically says to wash in hot. Save your money and energy and wash in cold, with homemade laundry soap and then line dry! Laundry on the cheap! 
  •  Clean from the Top Down: Dust from the top down...wipe from the top down...pick up from the top get the idea. It's just silly to clean something you already cleaned. Let your solutions do their work by spraying and letting them drip down mirrors, tubs, etc.
  •  Stick to Cleaning Solutions You Trust: I do spend the extra bucks for some items. I personally love Mr Bubbles bathroom scrubbing bubbles cleaning sprays/solutions. I find they work extremely well, I spray, let sit for a few minutes and let it do it's magic...and viola, I can WIPE the tub/sinks/toilets/etc out without killing my back. It's beautiful.

Routines are my friend. I try to stick to routines and when I get off base from them I find myself easily distracted and things don't get done. Of course I am an easily distractable person, so routines are against my better nature, but if I don't force myself to stick to lists and routines, I'll put off EVERYTHING and then get stressed trying to do it all at once.

Of course I'm blessed that both my husband and I are realistic that we don't want or need to live in a Martha Stewart house. Children do not remember how clean the house was, how fine their things were, but they remember the time spent with them. So that is what I aim for every day, a healthy balance of kids, house, spouse, fun and time for me.

I'll be back soon to share more of my tips and tricks and some experiments. I'll conclude with an ongoing list of what I want to accomplish to save money/time.

*Cut down on paper usage: towels/napkins/paper plates
*Line dry 3-4x per week
*Cut more Coupons--while analyzing if they're really worthwhile!
*Plan menu based on the sale papers, not on what we want...perfect this plan
*Utilize the things we have memberships to: Audubon Zoo, Children's Museum, etc.
*Keep track of daily money going out that I alone spend. Strictly limit that
*NO fabric/supply purchases unless necessary for a pending order!

Do you have frugal tips? Feel free to share them!!

~~Mama Amy

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Semi Wordless Wednesday--Support Fleurty Girl!

In honor of the fact that a bully is trying to shut down local businesses over use of the words "WHO DAT" when those word clearly belong to the fans of the New Orleans Saints...I have one thing to say to Mr. Steve Monistere

I bought my little piece of WHO DAT from FLEURTY GIRL not you Steve!

Go to to get yours!!

(Northerners and those not familiar with the Who Dat controversy, it's okay, I still love you.)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Plurkies Unite! Where to find lovely items from lovely people...

On a little social networking site called Plurk. It's like Twitter's really cool cousin from college.

If you are a plurkie, feel free to leave your URL in the comments section of this blog! I'll be adding a widget you can steal to share this great list, but in the mean time, just link back to this blog post, or copy it and keep your own list up for all the world to see! 

In No Particular Order:

Mama's Little Monkeys and Other Personalities

Sunny Days Embroidery/Aunti Franni:

28Sides Designs

Designs of Avalon:


Butterfly Crafts:
Simply Smiss

C Turtlez Oddz n Endz


Stitches in Cotton

SewHappy Designs

Positively Charming Things


The Beaded Branch


Pegasus Soaps

Rose Garden Fibers


Elfling Creations


Social Networking Break Review

Day One:
So, when you read this I'll have completed my social networking break.

I'm already somewhat failing! Due to checking my email once a day (I do have businesses to run here!) I see Facebook I HAD to reply to one on my page about Amos Lee's new album coming out Jan. 25th..I mean come on...AMOS! I'd have that man's babies for crying out loud.

But I digress....I have mostly avoided social networking today....just that quick facebook check, one quick plurk and done. It was easy this morning....I was running errands with my father! It's not so easy now with the computer RIGHT THERE and kid asleep. BUT I am on a mission. I must reconnect with myself, my disorganized house, my pile of fabric and naturally my children.

Etsy team chat tonite for my Handmade Louisiana team so I shall pop in there for a bit (I am the boss after all..) I have to admit...this is harder than you realize. You don't realize how much you depend on the internet and social networking until you don't have it. As a stay at home mother many of my friends are far away and the net is the only way for us to communicate. But, I grew up without social networking, I can do it again!!!

Cheerio my friends, thanks to my SN boycott I will hopefully get the following things accomplished this week:
* Girls night in with a friend
* Trip to children's museum with Eli
* Sewing and craft show prep done
* Purging the children's ever multiplying toys
* Visiting local antique/craft show this weekend

So I'm off to listen to Pandora (Lionel Richie/Neil Diamond station...I AM that awesome...) and get some cleaning done!!!

Day Two:
I had to substitute so I didn't really have time to worry about the net...although I did cheat and check facebook while the kids were sleeping.... But I kept busy that afternoon and night cleaning, creating, etc! Success!

Day Three:
Ran errands with my dad....cheated and checked plurk daily (had to to keep my karma up right!??) Only checked Facebook when I got an email from them...darn emails. Kept up with the shops...started to feel the distance.

It's weird but social networking really does help you feel connected....I really don't think I could stay home all day with out. I mean, I'm no party animal, and I do like my hermit times, but I am generally a people person and like to run my mouth...a facebook, plurk, twitter, etc helps me do that and not feel alone while at home with a 2 yr old!

Day Four:
Caved....couldn't take it anymore....Had cool stuff to show my friends and gave in...but I made it 4 days on a semi break and I could do it again. I did learn that what you need is not allow online time to overshadow human time....never push people away because you want to check facebook just ONE MORE TIME....

Read a book while you wait in your kid's car line, chit chat with a stranger at the store instead of talking on the phone. Social networking and technology has it's uses and we enjoy it, but don't forget the real good stuff in life too!
~~Mama Amy

Saturday, October 16, 2010

(Mostly) Internet Free's break time again!

Wow, over 300 posts on this blog! I'm impressed with myself!

It is that time where I take a social networking break. It won't be a total internet break because I do have to tend to my shops and business doo dads...but I will not be on plurk, facebook, twitter, etc for a bit. Hopefully I can make a week...not sure if my perserverance is that strong! I like to step away, refocus on thoughts, create, read, etc and take a break from the little addiction known as the internet...

Soooooo, I hope you all have a lovely few days...I shall hopefully be spending time, reading, creating, rearranging shops and focusing on the upcoming craft fair. I also have to do some much needed cleaning, purging, and things to do for the children!
I will still check email once a day so you can catch me there! :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Impatient Craftaholic Series---Upcycle Baby Shirt Pillows

Helloooooooooo I'm back! It's time for another Impatient Craftaholic tutorial! This is a super fast craft for anyone with even simple sewing skills!

Let's make this little fella!

Old baby/kids shirt or onesie.
Sewing Machine (not required)
Thread (coordinating or contrasting the neck hem color)
Hand Sewing Needle

(Helpful links are found within the steps.)

Step One:
Lay out your shirt on your cutting mat. If it's a onesie, you can cut a straight cut at the bottom of the shirt to open the onesie snap seam. Smooth and flatten the shirt so you can line it up as you wish.

Step Two:
Turn the shirt inside out and again smooth it so the design is centered (if you'd like).  Pin along the bottom seam so you can keep things even. Don't be frightened if the fabric is a stretchy knit. Tips for sewing knits at the bottom.

Step Three:
Straight stitch (or serge if you have a serger) along the bottom seam. Since this is a finished piece of clothing, you can use the hem stitches already there as a guide if you'd like!

Step Four:
Sew a straight stitch (or serge) along the open ends of the sleeves. You are sewing up all openings EXCEPT the neck. So now you have an inside out, nearly sewn up pillow!

Step Five:
Flip your shirt right side out and push out your corners and seams.

Step Six:
Head for the stuffing!! I love Morning Glory Polyester Fiberfill, but you can use whichever you like.

Begin stuffing the shirt through the open neckhole.

Step Seven:
Continue stuffing the "body" of the shirt with fiberfill, filling to the size you want...whether you want a thin vs. thick pillow. Be sure to sort of fluff the fiberfill before you shove it in the shirt or it will bind up and make little balls. Stuff and fluff to the desired size of your pillow. Be sure to stuff the little arms too!

Step Eight:
So now you have a stuffed pillow with an open neckhole. Here is where you need to hand sew the opening closed. Thread your needle. Hand sew your neckhole, shoving the fiberfill in so it doesn't catch in the needle and thread as you sew. You can grasp the neckhole closed with your hand, or by pinning it. The type of stitch you use is up to you. I used a blanket stitch. You can find more stitches here.

I used a contrasting thread that matched the body of the shirt but added some color to the neckhole. You choose your thread!

That's it, you're done!! You've just sewn a baby shirt pillow in no time flat! Even with hand sewing and stuffing I made this pillow in less than 30 minutes!

This pillow was a onesie with long sleeves! I cut off the longer sleeves and cut a straight line at the bottom for my hem!

The good thing about this pillow is it doesn't need to be perfect! When sewing with knits here are some tips:
*Pin or clip frequently.
*Use a microtex or ball point needle
*Use a walking foot if the fabric is really thick.

Enjoy!! Feel free to share this tutorial!


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