Friday, March 30, 2012

Goodwill Shopping - Office Supplies

I love office supplies. I almost would rather go shopping for office supplies than new clothes. I'm trouble as soon as I walk into an office supply store. I can easily spend $50 without blinking an eye.

In order to save money and yet still fill my appetite for office supplies I head to Goodwill.

Goodwill is great for finding treasures.

Here is what I purchased on my last trip:

A portable file box and file stand

a desk file sorter and a spiral notebook.

To purchase all of these items at a regular office supply store I would have spent at least $35 to $40. I spent $1.99 for each item, bringing my total to less than $8.

Here are other office supplies that I have found for very reasonable prices at Goodwill:
2-Hole Punch
Large box of white envelopes
New boxes of specialty paper
New boxes of file folders
and so much more!

So here's a money-saving tip for the day. Look at your local Goodwill first before you go spend the big bucks on office supplies!

Coming up I'll be showing how I use these purchases to clean up my disaster of a desk!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Feature Photo Frame - Part 1

We are in a rental and in our living room we have a nice big fireplace that is essentially non-functional. Above the mantel we have this large wall space for which to decorate. We've had this beautiful fall-ish painting hanging there for the longest time. With spring arriving I felt the need for a pop of color and I wanted to see my beautiful children's faces.

So I took down the large painting and framed off a nice large square with painter's tape. I then took out my measuring tape and made sure that it was equally measured on all sides. I painted it a lovely turquoise blue. One of my favorite colors.

Once the paint had dried I then hung up the photo of my kids. It's looks cute, but it needs some finishing touches those are soon to come. Stay tuned!

I'm linking up here:
Organize and Decorate Everything


I love to make gifts for the grandparents from my kiddos. I love putting their handprints on things and passing them out for birthday's and special occassions. Recently I realized that I wasn't saving these handprints for me!

I want to be able to look at my baby's hands and see how little she used to be and watch as she grows.

Now, I am a Goodwill shopper, I've found so many awesome deals at that store. A huge chunk of the furniture I own comes from Goodwill. A couple months ago while shopping there I found a brand new pack of small artists canvas' for about $5.  I immediately knew what I wanted to do with them. I picked out some bright paint colors from my stash of acrylic paint and painted the canvas' different colors. After those had dried I had each of my kids come up and place their hand prints in a different color on top. The little bug couldn't keep her hands open very well so we also did her feet.

I then took a sharpie and labeled their names and date in the corner. It's not fancy but I've placed them on my office wall and I love looking at them to remind me what every day is for.

It was a great simple, inexpensive way to capture a moment in time.

I'm linking up here:
Organize and Decorate Everything

Monday, March 26, 2012

Disneyland - the extras

So we've planned a couple fun things for our kiddos for this trip.

At first the idea was to have them wear the same brightly colored shirts so that we could notice them. So we picked out a set of 3 bright orange shirts for the older kids and then I got one and my husband got one. The baby is getting an orange outfit. Then the kids wanted to personalize them so we got Mickey Mouse appliques at the fabric store

Here's my son in his shirt.

After that we got drawn in by all the cute clothing they have for little girls. So we ended up buying lots of matching outfits for the 3 little girls and my son is getting his fill of Phineas and Ferb and Angry Birds shirts.

The two older girls will have Rapunzel mini back packs and my son will have a Cars mini back pack. These will hold snacks and activities for the plane ride first. Second we will use these through out our trip for the kids to store their snacks and treasures. They might just end up in the stroller, we'll see how well they hold on to them.

Water Bottle Holders
Please forgive my horrible sewing skills, but I did make each child over 1 a water bottle holder as seen in this picture.

 I found the tutorial at she has lots of great tutorials for all sorts of creative things. I had made these two Christmases ago for some kid's friends that go hiking a lot. She told me that they loved them and so I knew that these were a must have for this trip. Hopefully this will help them to stay hydrated on the trip.

I'm thinking that these little extras will make the trip that much more special and fun! I can't wait!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Organizing Disneyland Part 2

We're in the countdown phase...3 weeks from today and we fly to Southern California for some much needed sunshine and a visit with the man himself, Mickey!

I seriously love traveling, and I know I can blame this gene on my father. His love for traveling has left me itching to take my family places! I hate sitting still, it's just not something I can do!

I have more tips to share and again these are all pre-trip phase. When I return I will report on how good my tips really were.

For tips # 1 - 3 see Organizing Disneyland Part 1

Tip #4  Shop around!
Since we are flying into Los Angeles we needed to rent a car. Having lived in the area before we are confident into our ability to navigate the area (large amounts of patience is needed!). I looked at so many different travel sites and car rental sites and I was surprised that and their travel section had such good prices. We were able to rent a minivan for under $300 for an entire week (Sunday - Sunday)! I also considered another site, but it seemed too difficult to actually get the minivan from the airport. So I picked one that was not only well priced but conveniently located. I mean come on, we'll have 3 extremely excited children with us and a busy baby girl!

Tip #5 Budget (this probably should have been Tip #1)
There are a lot of things that you need to consider when planning any vacation. Before getting all excited and just starting booking things, budget what you are going to need. I did not want to come home to piles of debt and stress, I really wanted this to be a vacation. Where we came home and did not feel the stress of the finances for months afterwards. Don't forget to plan for hotel, airfare, car rental, gas, food, spending, activities and emergencies (i.e. forgot sunscreen, etc).  Once you figure out your budget, reasonably figure out a time frame in which to save up the money for the vacation and where the money is going to come from. Do you have the additional money available in your budget, do you need to pick up some part time work, or are you using your tax refund? Just remember to plan!

Tip #6 Food Budget - save where you can
I think food is one of those items that you can WAY overspend on. Trust me, you must feed me or I am a big grump. My poor hubby learned that the hard way when we were dating. He still married me!
So here is my plan. One of the other reasons we picked our hotel is that it comes with a complimentary breakfast. Not just one of those rolls and juice breakfast, but a full on choice of waffles, juices, cereals, muffins and more. This should help us save money, since we will be pigging out every morning before we leave the hotel. My middle child is a BIG breakfast eater, so this should help her attitude before we even leave.  We will be buying inexpensive snacks for the kids to eat at Walmart or Albertsons once we get there. I'm going to let the kids get a special treat when we are at Disnelyand, but I want inexpensive snacks to calm their constant snackiness. Then we are planning to eat at restaurants where we can split larger portioned size meals to save money.

Okay so those are my money saving and budgeting tips. Next time I'm going to show you some of the fun things we've been doing to get ourselves ready for this trip.

Organizing Disneyland Part 1

Our family has been working hard and saving for our upcoming trip to Disneyland! We are so excited to go and I can't wait to share all the things we've learned for our trip.

I've been before but as a child with my own parents and then again with my husband and our very young son. Now I'm going not only with my husband but with my 3 children (ages 7, 5 and 11 months) as well as with my niece (age 3). It's going to be an adventure.

I love to plan trips, I love to organize and prepare things to do. Oh how I love spreadsheets, they make my brain do happy flips on a trampoline!

So here are some of the things I have done with planning for this trip. We are on a budget, a tight budget mind you.  We debated driving, it's definitely cheaper with a family of 5, but after considering that we would spend an additional 4 days driving (2 days each way), plus then the cost of a hotel and additional food, we looked into flying.

Tip #1 - Look for smaller airlines and airports.
We found that by driving two hours south to a smaller airport and flying a smaller airline we could save over $400! That made the price of flying comparable to driving with the cost of gas, hotel and food factored in. Not to mention that we were saving our sanity! 4 children under the age of 8 for two days in car (oh the horror!)

Tip #2 - Start saving that change!
We got a large empty water jug and started putting our extra dollars and change into it. We encourage the kiddos to put their money into it, and everytime they got a little extra cash from Grandma or Grandpa, or for doing an extra chore they would put their money into it. Lo and behold after several months we had $150 saved up. That is going to be the kids spending money.

Tip #3 - Ask!
I had no idea where to book a hotel. We can't afford a fancy place like the resort hotels. So I used my best friend for finding tips, Facebook!  I posted the question to my friends, where was nice, inexpensive place to stay in Anaheim close to Disneyland. The reccommendation that I got was for the Days Inn on Harbor Blvd. My friend told me that they stayed there and thought that the place was comfortable, clean and the staff was friendly. I checked it out through and I got the place for $75 a night. I thought very reasonable for a family of 5 with 2 queen beds.

Well more to come next post...I have lots more planning tips to share!