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Fun Tips

More Changes, More Freshness

Yesterday was my day out.  I really look forward to Tuesdays and the refreshing it brings me.   A whole day out by myself…I realize how lucky I am to have this weekly event, and I’m so very thankful.  I usually don’t have a set plan (which is totally unlike me).  I just kind of go with what feels fun and refreshing for that day.  Well, I guess some more changing and refreshing needed to happen besides this blog, because I stopped in a nearby salon and decided to get my hair cut.  It’s not quite as spontaneous as it sounds.  I’ve been talking about getting my hair cut for weeks.  It’s a process I go through every single time I need a haircut.  And my husband loves it. 🙂  I’m so glad I did it.  A good cut just feels good.  Refreshing, you know?

before
Before the chop…
after
…and after.

itty bitty toys

After pampering and lots of reading time, I headed home, excited to find my recent Amazon order had arrived!  And why does this fit into the freshness category, you might ask?  Because of that sweet book on the bottom, Itty Bitty Toys by Susan B. Anderson.  Although I’m loving my afghan, this little gem is going to bring some freshness to my knitting!  I can’t wait!  Emma G and I have already perused it, talking about what should be on the needles first!  (Oh, just a side note, do you know about Swagbucks?  I earned $15 in Amazon gift cards through searching the internet and used them to buy this lot of books!  I’m saving up to buy more cooking and knitting books!)

Fun Tips

A New Look…Changes Bring Freshness

I hope when you clicked over here yesterday, you felt a breath of fresh air!  It was getting kind of stuffy in these parts, and change was needed!  I’ve wanted to change my layout for a while to one that offered a bigger post section, so my photos could be bigger.  In order not to be overwhelmed, I started looking at blog templates a couple of months ago as I had time.  About a month ago, I picked Typography off of B Templates.  I tend to like the adapted from wordpress templates, and I tend to like something simple and classic.

After picking a template, I downloaded my old one (just in case, you know), copied and saved lots codes so I wouldn’t have to redo everything, and got to work on my header.  I’m not really a fan of photo editing only because of the time it takes and also because Photoshop is currently only on Jeremy’s computer.  So I went searching for some free online photo editing programs.  I came across Pixlr and I have to say I’m quite impressed with what this free little site does.  Here’s what I like about it…

  • it works in layers, similar to Photoshop
  • it’s free and I didn’t even have to sign up to use it
  • I can save the edited photo directly to my computer

Really the only negative thing I have to say about it is that it doesn’t do text very well, at least it didn’t seem like it did.  You can put text on the photo but I couldn’t for the life of me find where I could change the font or the size.  (Update on the Pixlr text…in the comment section you will see a comment from the Pixlr blog, so it is possible.  That little box didn’t show the text options when I tried it, but I just went back on and it was there!)  That said, here are the photos I started with…

i believe in love

I love this picture of the kids.  It’s just such a sweet moment between them, but I didn’t like the washed out sky and felt the picture overall needed a color boost.  So…I cross processed the picture and then used the magic wand to get rid of the sky and inserted this sky in there (after it was cropped and cross processed).

driving down the road

I was almost satisfied.  I decided to flip the picture and ended up with this…

header2

I cropped a little more and used Piknik to add some text and ended up with what you see at the top.  And after all that, I am pleased!

While you’re here, feel free to pick up my new badge…


And if you head over to my store, you’ll notice a few changes over there.  The biggest one being my new store badge…


Thanks so much, friends, for coming to this space and for your comments!  My desire continues to be that this spot would be fun and life giving all at the same time!

Tips

I Love A Good Deal!

My husband may call it being frugal or cheap, but I just love a good deal.  And since I’m in the states, I’m taking full advantage of coupon clipping and money saving deals.  I get so excited when I find deals on items I would already buy.  Like this…

groceries

$4.97 for two jugs of laundry detergent (I’m not picky on the brand)
2 bottles of Tabasco (Jeremy loves that stuff)
a loaf of bread
2 packs of Mentos gum (home schooling prizes for the kids)
2 sticks of deodorant in my favorite scent and brand
2 packs of Carefree pantyliners
2 packages of Revlon emery boards

Who can’t say that isn’t a good deal?  This just happened to be a great shopping trip.  There are some things I can’t bring myself to buy no matter how good the deal is.  Like margarine or canned veggies or frozen dinners.  That would go against everything I value in offering healthy food to my family.  But when something comes along that’s a good deal on something I would already buy…well, that’s a bonus that gets me so excited!

There are some services you can pay for to find out the good money saving deals, but someone pointed me in the direction of several blogs that offer the information for free.  I buy my Sunday paper, $5 for a double coupon edition, and visit the following sites…

Southern Savers
Saving With Shellie
My Dallas Mommy
Couponing 101
Totally Target

A lot of grocery stores will double and triple some coupons, so if you shop the sales combined with coupons, you can get some great deals.  Walgreen‘s often offers rewards back on certain items making them free and sometimes even a money maker combined with coupons. 

I’ve also learned that Target sometimes offers gift cards for certain purchases.  Who doesn’t love Target?  Check out this great deal I got for Jeremy and myself the other day…

shirts

Jeremy got a sweater for $1.98 and I got a T-shirt for $.48 (both items clearance combined with a Target coupon printed from their site)!  The deals are out there if you’re willing to search for them!

And I leave you with last night’s great deal.  May’s free Lego Make and Take…a rose!  Makes Joshua’s heart happy!

lego rose

One more thing, don’t forget to visit here to see how you can be a part of the adoption process for the Reeves family!  You might even win a beautiful cross in the process!

Crafts Tips

Tutorial :: How To Make A Chalkboard

our chalkboard

I’ve always thought it would be fun to make my own chalkboards and frame them out with cool looking old frames. But sometimes, as with projects, time isn’t always on your side. When Jeremy suggested we make a HUGE chalkboard to hang in the kitchen, my response was an enthusiastic YES! It was so simple. Although I forgot to take photos of the process, I hope you will find the step-by-step instructions helpful!

Supply List
  • plywood                           
  • primer
  • chalkboard paint
  • paint roller
  • trim
  • stain
  • varnish
  • chalk
writing on the board
    1. Take measurements of how big you want your board to be. We actually measured the wall and then took off several inches. We wanted this board to take up most of the space!
    2. Go to your local hardware store and gather your supplies. Pick out a smooth piece of plywood. Give them your measurements and they should cut it for you. We used the leftover plywood to make smaller boards.
    3. Screw your board into the wall.    writing on the board 
    4. Get ready to paint your board!  Prime it, giving adequate time for it to dry.  After it is dry, paint it with the chalkboard paint.  I’ve seen recipes out there to make your own custom color chalkboard paint.  We chose to just buy the black chalkboard paint at the store.  We painted about 3 coats on the board.
    5. After it is dry, you will need to prep the board by taking a piece of chalk, and with the long side against the board, color the whole board. stain
    6. If you want, you can trim out your board.  If you want to do this, stain your trim first and make sure it is dry.  I used the red stain from Ikea.  Then, nail the trim around your board.
    7. Start using it!  Because it is wood, don’t clean it with water.  I just dust out my eraser.

    Fun Tips

    I Love Freebies!

    make and take chicks

    I love getting great things for free!  Don’t you?  On the first Tuesday of the month, Lego stores have a Make and Take for free!  (Check online for a store near you and to view their calendar.)  So we made a family outing out of it and took the kids to Dallas.  I guess we don’t take them to Dallas much, because Joshua asked if we were in New York! 🙂  There was a quite a line when we arrived promptly at 5 PM.  I guess lots of kids like to get free legos, and it’s only while supplies last.

    #79
    listening to instructions
    making the chick

    Joshua followed instructions and built his like a pro, but little sister was too scared…even when offered candy.  So her daddy built it for her.  It’s really a smart idea this make and take, because it gets kids in the store.  Joshua in a lego store is like a kid in a candy shop.  Luckily, he had some birthday money to pick one out!

    kid in candy store
    lego atlantis

    There’s also been some photo freebies that I’ve been enjoying!  I have a wall in my living room with frames hanging on it only there are no pictures in them (I’ll show it to you when we continue Price Tour Of Homes…hopefully by then the frames will be filled).  I’m so glad I’ve held out!  Snapfish has been celebrating their 10th birthday with great deals everyday from April 1st – 10th.  You can also spin the wheel to win prizes and if you don’t win, they give you a code for 10 free prints!  Today’s deal is 10 free 5 X 7’s with purchase with code APR7BD.

    Walgreens is also having 7 days of deals through the 10th.  And there’s some great deals.  Today you can get 20 free 4 x 6 prints with code PRINTS20.  Check back on their site everyday for the deal of the day.  I do believe there’s a free 8 X 10 code coming up!