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....



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