Monday, November 15, 2010

In the works...

    In these past couple of weeks I have been exceedingly busy! Working around my home organizing, working with my daughters on different Thanksgiving projects, and planning and now executing a Wedding on a small budget!  I have also been doing some much needed deep cleaning and working on our home face-lift project. So all stay tuned for some exciting upcoming posts!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Kleenex Haunted House

 My daugther and I saw this idea in a magazine and decided to give it a shot! My daughter was able to collect three empty Kleenex Tissue boxes from school. We then took Aleene's Hobby glue and lots of black construction paper to make the house.  The first step is glueing the the boxes together. Next one side at a time glue the construction paper on. My daughter then decided we needed a few windows (0f course :)) and a door and a pumpkin sitting outside. Its a great project for an elementary school student but they will need adult help! A great inexpensive or FREE project for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What not to buy at Target....

 Yahoo has done it again... Another of their lists! This time its of things to buy or not to buy at my FAVORITE store Target! Yahoo made some really good points so let me give you their buy and don't buy lists.

Don't Buy-
1. Furniture
2. Movies and Music
3. Exercise equipment
4. Shower curtains and some toys

Do Buy-
1. The Kindle
2. Green Cleaning Products
3. Groceries
4. Cosmetics

  I agree for the most part with the things NOT to buy at Target. Although they are a mass retail company they shouldn't be expected to be at the forefront as far as furniture and exercise equipment. As far as shower curtains and toys. It depends on the item and coupons to me. But with movies and music I think that you can find some truly great sales! Think about all of their $5 movies!
  Yahoo's list of things TO BUY are a little askew. Why a Kindle at the top of their list!? Here is my list:

1. Household cleaning items (with coupons!)
2. Clothes and Shoes- GREAT quality, great prices, and super cute clothes!!!
3. Hygiene/Cosmetics- this is with coupons also. But between coupons and sales you can SCORE BIG!!
4. Groceries- on sale and with coupons

I LOVE Target! I can go in with $10 to spend or $100 and I always feel like I got my moneys worth. I know that when I match sales and coupons for my trip I can have a HUGE amount of savings and feel even more satisfied with the money spent! Good luck Target Shoppers :)

Operation Christmas Child

This is a fantastic charity that is also known as the Shoebox Ministry. Through the organization children from 2-14 are able to get gifts and necessities at Christmas time. If you are a couponer like me then you may want to begin shopping now! You can put together 1 or 30 but each one will be a great gift for a child who otherwise couldn't or wouldn't have anything. With the school sales going on you can get GREAT buys on art supplies and even clothes... Shop the dollar store for other items and use coupons with sales for free tooth paste, toothbrushes, and bar soaps. I believe 100% that our small contributions can make a HUGE impact on an impoverished child in another country! If you need more information contact me and I would be delighted to explain more! :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Making a Home Schedule

Whether you are a stay-at-home-mom, a working parent, single, a student or a mixture of some of these like our family a schedule is a huge help! Between my hubby's ever changing work schedule, our daughters activities, school, outings, family affairs, date night, dinner and house work... It's can become so overwhelming that you feel lost! I know the feeling. Most of our days are full to the brim and now that school is back in session its gotten that much busier. I am an organization freak. I feel like if I have everything organized and planned I have a method for the madness. Here is how we are able to better plan our weeks out...

1st of all have a calender at the ready; this can be a planner, and wall calender, one on your cell phone, or even the computer. The main point is it needs to be something that you will check daily. This calender should have birthday's, anniversaries, upcoming events, and weekly occurrences (such as church, clubs, etc.).

2nd plan out your meals ahead of time. If Thursday's your daughter has a music lesson and your son has soccer you will want to have an easier meal planned ahead of time so that McDonald's doesn't become your go to. Also working a menu ahead helps with special occasions. The biggest thing for our family is the knowing! We know what we are having for the next week or week and a half which is great!! Also I am able to better make meals from our pantry and make a grocery list based on exactly what we need. We are able to save quite a bit on groceries because of planning ahead and coupon shopping. We aim to spend $70 a week on groceries at the very most! (We have anywhere from 4-7 people eating at each meal) It may sound crazy but we are frugal and make our food money stretch a lot with coupons.

3rd know schedules. School schedules, activities, work, etc. You will much more easily be able to work a reasonable Master schedule when you factor in all the smaller ones.

4th write down what areas of your home need to be cleaned and how often. In our home I clean top to bottom twice a week. With a dog and kids not to mention the adults our house needs a good cleaning at least that often. Then there are touch ups on areas throughout the week. And monthly maintenance, which includes; closet and drawer organization, base boards, taking inventory of our personal care and food items, and a donation bag to name a few.

Fifth your bill and pay days. Have a current bill schedule and work pay to add to your monthly schedules.

Now that you have all of the above mentioned items your ready to make your schedule. I use my phone to plan out my week. I have our bill due dates, pay days, and a loose schedule all planned into the calender on my phone. In addition I have our uncoming events and anything else I might need to remember. My day looks something like this during the week:

6am- Wake up and Exercise
6:45- Wake up girls and get ready
7:20- Take Adeline to school
8:15- Back home begin daily chores
              cleaning done
              laundry (Monday/Thursday)
11- Reading and Art time with Sarai
12pm- Lunch
12:30- Nap time (Blog work)
2:15- Pick up Adeline from School
3- Homework time and Snack
4- Play time
6- Dinner
8- Quiet time (reading)
9-Bed time for the kids (work time for me)

    Leave room for unexpected items... And don't beat yourself up if you don't get to everything everyday! Take it one day at a time and make sure to spend lots of time loving the kids :)!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Birthday Wishes

Every year we try to do small things to make our children's birthday. I LOVE the window we have at the top of the stairs (on our second story) its perfect for decorating! A little ribbon, a birthday sign and some construction paper... And you have a great thing for a little girl to wake up to on her birthday! :) Each year its different but always a suprise. It's always great to have a early birthday wish especially when she's having to get up and ready for school really early!

What do you do for your kids special day?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fall is coming...

 I LOVE FALL! I love the leaves falling from the trees. I love the cooler weather which makes my infatuation with scarves ok. I love pumpkins and tea and soup. I love everything about fall! I am so eager to begin wearing my fall wardrobe and making more fall (cool weather) food. I CANNOT wait to decorate my house too! Call me a bit obsessed but I loev decorating the house! Most big holidays merit a big home overhaul... Every year its a bit different... Some years I go a little crazier than others but I think with my urge to decorate... Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are going to be huge here! Which reminds me CHRISTMAS is headed our way quick! EEECK!!!

I will post pictures of the activities and decorations I do... Some with my daughters and some just me :). Hopefully for some who have lost their fall inspiration I will stir up a couple of ideas!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Her 1st day....

I'm sure our house is a lot like everyone else's the first day of school is scary! We try to make it a litte less nerve racking for our daughter by doing little things... a note in her lunch, a new outfit and lots of love and kisses! One thing that I have done in the past and have ready for this year is a sign for her as she walks down the stairs for breakfast... Also we take a picture under the sign to mark this new adeventure! It makes her feel special and excited to get to school :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

15 things that should always be free or darn close...

 I read an article on Yahoo this morning about "15 things you should never pay for". Now I agree with some of what they had to say but I have a few changes for a truly frugal person :)

1.  Exercise- Never pay a gym membership again! We have everything we need for a great wokout at home! If you have a good pair of tennis shoes then you are ready to go.
2. Tax Preparations- You truly don't need to go to all the trouble of spending a great amount of time and money on a tax prep service! We have used they are great! They give step by step instructions and even better they make sure before you submit that your chances of acceptance the first time around is really high.
3. Shipping- If you make online purchases then I would suggest checking for codes to your favorite sites.
4. Credit reports- As a quick FYI you should get an up to date credit repr annually, but you shouldn't have to pay for it! With you get a report from all three agencies for free! Limited to once per year.
5. Anti-virus protecion- there are a ton of websites that offer fantastic ani-virus for free! We have Mc Afee and it works great for us... plus its free!
6. Books- with the price of a new book being SO high I encourage you to not pay it! Instead go to the library or Half Price Book Stores. You can either get greatly reduced or free books that way!
7. Budgeting- I know I have mentioned it before but is amazing! I use it weekly or more to check our accouts next to our budget. We also are able to set up goals and know where we are on our debt freedom plan!
8. Cell phones- I don't necessarily think that getting a phone for completely free is a possibility but definitely check out your options! We were able to get a Blackberry for me and an Android phone for him two for the price of one! It was a great deal in my opinion!
9. Checking account- Why pay a bank to hold your money!? You can easily find banks that offer free checking, savings, online banking, and mobile banking too! Don't settle for a monthly fee.
10. Water- I have a hard time with drinking bottled water all the time when you can either drink tap water or buy a water filtration system for a fraction of what you would spend on bottles.
11. Pets- I know that not everyone agrees but why buy a full breed this or that when you can adopt an animal in need of a good family at the local pound?
12. Coupons- I personally think that the two dollars we spend each Sunday for our two newspapers is completely worth it considering the huge amounts of money those coupons save us! There are also other options too:,,, as well as many others and besides that there are many products that have coupons right on their website for us to print out! Savings Galore!
13. Health and Body items- with coupons and sales you should never pay more than a dollar or two for any body wash, shampoo, tooth paste etc.!
14. Activities- with a few bucks and an imagination you can do tons for cheap! Try learning about the area you live in, go to the park, the beach, the pool, but where ever you go have a great time!
15. Beauty treatments- You can mak trades with your hair dresser for cuts, ask a friend or husband to help color your locks, go to a beaty school, have a mani/pedi girls night, or even do your own... There are so many options to look good feel good and not pay a ton!

I may sound a little biased but honestly when you have a limited budget you have to learn how to stretch it to the fullest.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I personally have found that with a little extra time and a few coupons in hand I can save my family A LOT of money every month! It isn't even a huge amount of time once you get the hang of it either!

The Basic rules are:
* Match Coupons with your stores sale prices for a truly great deal!
* Use Store Coupons in addition to manufatures coupons for an AWESOME price!
* Don't Get overwhelmed
* Shop around- A little

Here is a breakdown of the stores I frequent and what I purchase at each:
CVS- I LOVE CVS!!! I get our families hygiene products almost exclusively at CVS. Also medicines and diapers/pull-ups.
The reason CVS is such a huge savings is because of their Extra Care Bucks! For qualifying items each week you earn Easy Care Bucks or ECB these will print out at the bottom of your reciept and you can use them like cash on your next visit! The goal, however, is to keep buying items that give you ECB's so that you can roll over your current bucks! So between coupons, CVS store coupons (printed from the wonderful little machine) and ECB you can keep your OUT OF POCKET cost extremely low! We are able to spend on average 10-15 a week and save more that 75%!!!
Target- I love that Target is reasonable in general, add in the fact that you can use their online coupons and stack them with manufactures coupons means you can save a ton! Target is great for cleaning supplies, Laundry supplies, some food items (with sales and coupons) and also clothes!

Safeway- I only get things on sale. But you can get a great bargain sometimes!
Winco- The prices are lower and I LOVE that! We buy a good majority of our food at Winco and are able to spend a very small price for a basket full of food! (Our weekly food budget is $60)
99cent store- I love going and finding items here... A lot of times they have great food products, household items, Dove soaps etc. for just .99 cents!
Dollar Tree- I find things here all the time! We get tons of art projects, decorations, party decor and much more and you CAN'T beat the price!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Need a way to keep your coupons organized???


         I wanted to find a way to organize my coupons so that I could easily find them when was making my grocery and store shopping lists here is what I have found. This works great for my family and I am able to quickly add coupons on Sunday's from the newspaper and through out the week as I may get them as well.

 I used a plastic shoe box that we had at home and then I labeled legal sized envelopes and cut index card into strips and labeled them with the following...

Air Freshners/Candles (typically for Glade and Air wick)
Automotive (including the auto stores we go to)
Body Wash/Soap/Lotion
Bverages (juices, juice boxes, water)
Canned Foods
Cereal (we ALWAYS have a ton of cereal coupons so I decided it needed its own envelope)
Cleaners (household)
Food Storage/Batteries (ziploc bags, aluminum foil, plastic containers, etc.)
Hygiene -dental (tooth paste, tooth brushes, mouth wash)
Hygiene- other (razors, femine care, etc.)
Office Supplies
Paper products (toilet paper, paper towels, tissues)
Pasta/ Rice
Salad Dressing/Sauce/Seasoning

Then a few envelopes for the most often shopped stores-

At the back I have two envelopes for-

 This system makes going through the cutting out and putting them away a snap! I also can easily go through and throw away unused/expired coupons too!

Organizing chaos....

  I personally feel that I cannot properly operate if I have a chaotic home, car, or life. I am one having everything nice and orderly. Good or bad that's me, I have been trying to get every area of our house back in order and cleaning out items that we simply don't need or use. In this I have found such a great feeling of release! In organizing and cleaning out our unused things even in a time where we are struggling God looks down and blesses us every step of the way! We have made a conscience effort as a family to donate one huge bag of items each month. We go through difficult times but we know all of our needs are always met so we need to help others meet their needs too!  We as a family are convicted to ALWAYS help others and this is one of the ways we outreach.

  I am sure that if everyone took a few days over the next few weeks to go through closets, toy boxes and drawers we could all donate A TON to help others! One persons unused items are another persons treasures, right!? So my challenge to all of you is this... Go through your things and donate so that another person can be a little closer to thriving!

Friday, August 6, 2010

I ♥ CVS!

 Ok... I have to tell you every trip to CVS and I am in completely shock at just how much I save our family! TODAY I bought:
4 pasta sauce
2 peanut butter
2 mouth wash
2 tooth paste
and a tooth brush

And you want to know how much I paid.... 7.35!!!! The total before coupons was nearly $50! I saved more than $40! Plus I made $13 ECB for my next trip!

What a great trip!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Operation Christmas Child

This is a fantastic charity that is also known as the Shoebox Ministry. Through the organization children from 2-14 are able to get gifts and necessities at Christmas time. If you are a couponer like me then you may want to begin shopping now! You can put together 1 or 30 but each one will be a great gift for a child who otherwise couldn't or wouldn't have anything.  With the school sales going on you can get GREAT buys on art supplies and even clothes... Shop the dollar store for other items and use coupons with sales for free tooth paste, toothbrushes, and bar soaps. I believe 100% that our small contributions can make a HUGE impact on an impoverished child in another country! If you need more information contact me and I would be delighted to explain more! :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Museum of Modern Art (FREE EVENT!!!)

Today we went to a FREE event in SF sponsored by Target! There were different events throughout the Country. There were actually about 6 different museums within a few blocks participating in San Francisco! Not only did we get COMPLETELY FREE entrance our older daughter also recieved a really neat bag of activities and free future admission! They also had different hands-on art projects just for kids! We had a great time admiring work from Freida, Andy Worhal and many, many others! THANKS TARGET for a great afternoon on a budget!

Friday, July 16, 2010

An absolutely wonderful event!!!!

This weekend July 16-18 Target is sponsoring FREE events throughout the Country! In the Bay Area there a bunch of fabulous Arts an Musical outings!

Asian Art Museum, San Francisco Bay Target Arts & Wonder
Saturday 7/17/2010 from 10am to 5pm

Asian Art Museum, San Francisco Bay Target Free First Sundays
1st Sunday of the month

Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco Bay Target Arts & Wonder
Sunday 7/18/2010 from 11am to 4pm

de Young Museum, San Francisco Target Arts & Wonder
Friday 7/16/2010 from 5 to 8:45pm

Museum of African Diaspora, San Francisco Target Arts & Wonder
7/18/2010 from 11am to 4pm

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art , San Francisco Target Arts & Wonder
Sunday 7/18/2010 from 11am to 4pm

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, San Francisco Target Arts & Wonder
Sunday 7/18/2010 from 11am to 3pm

ZEUM, San Francisco Target Arts & Wonder
Sunday 7/18/2010 from 11am to 4pm

These are a few I found... What a great way to spend a weekend... OUT with family enjoying events in our own backyards!!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Party Planning on a BUDGET

I know that most of you think that in order to have a birthday party or other event you have to accept the fact that there is going to be big money involved. Well I am here to tell you not exactly. You can plan a great party on a small budget and make it GREAT!

1. My biggest advice is to plan ahead! Not a week or two BUT a month or two! Allowing yourself the time to plan and watch sales and go to more than one store will payoff BIG in the end!

2. Set a budget... AND stick to it! Whether its $50-100 or $300 know how much you intend to spend prior to shopping. Also if your child is dead set on a specific theme such as Disney Princesses, Toy Story etc. that is going to be a lot more expensive than a tea party or truck or luau theme. This is another thing that needs to be taken into account when deciding on a theme.

3. Decide who your inviting. Are you having a small family affair you are able to be more laid back. You won't necessarily need invitations and you can easily have a potluck without offending anyone.
If you have decided to have a larger party or a party with your children's friends you'll want to choose a time. If you are wanting to save some money while still having a larger party choose a time before or after a meal time so you can serve either just cake or cake and small snack items.

4. Don't buy party items at the Grocery Store. You are going to end up paying WAY more! Consider the Dollar Store and 99 Cent Store, party store's when you can catch a sale, also shop online! There are great deals out there!

5. Think outside the box! If you are wanting a tea party and need tea cups check thrift stores. You can get great deals on items that you will only use once!

6. Lastly... Don't spend more on things no one will notice anyhow. Ultimately everyone will be more interested in conversation and eachothers company to care if you have every one of the clings, balloons, and party plates that perfectly match a theme. Mix and match and stay with what you can afford!

Enjoy a fantastic party and don't stress out! Just prepare for a great day! :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Back-to-School Blues

UPDATE :) We are done with our back to school shopping! A month ahead of time and spending just $15!!!! That includes everything for our daughter and for a lss fortunate child as well! I am SO excited to have one thing checked off our list! Now we just need to finish buying back to school clothes.

Well I don't know about all of you but for my family this time of year can become nearly as expensive as Christmas. Back-to-School is a huge amount of time and money for us... At least it has been in the past. This year, however, we have made a conscience effort to make it less stressful and more importantly less expensive! Before we would easily spend 150-200 on school supplies, homework supplies, back packs, lunch boxes,and donations for the class not to mention the unavoidable back-to-school clothes needed! Our goal for this year is to spend no more than $50 for all supples, donations, and a new back pack and lunch box. We also intend to buy double of everything for a child that cannot afford their own school supplies. So now you are asking how we are planning on achieving this seemingly impossible mission right!? Coupons, and sales!!! Think we are still crazy well hear me out...

This week alone there are fanastic deals!

Rose Art Markers or Colored Pencils $.50!!!
Glue Sticks (2 pack) $.20!!!

2 pocket folders with fastners $.01!!! (max of 10) and with a $5 purchase
8 pack of #2 pencils $.01!!! (max of 2) and with $5 purchase

For $1 each you can get...
* BIC Atlantis BallPoint Pens 4 pack
* Staples Mini Stapler
* Staples Pencil Box
* Staples Hypel Grip Highlighters 6 pack
* Westcott 5 inch Scissors 2 pack
* Staples Glue Sticks 4 pack
* Post-It Novelty Shaped Notes 2 pack (these are my favorite…they are super cute)
* RoseArt Colored Pencils 15 pack
* Scotch Magic Tape
* Quartet 8.5″ x 11″ Dry Erase Board
* Staples Pull & Seal Envelopes 25 pack
* Staples Photo Supreme 8.5″ x 11″ Paper 50 pack $14.99-$13.99 easy rebate = $1

Bic pens- $.99 with .99ecb making them FREE!!! (limit 1)
Caliber 5" scissors $.99 with >99ecb making them FREE!!! (limit 1)

ALSO... Children's Place is currently having a great sale! For those of you who like to purchase clothes ahead of time and put them away until school begins like me. :)

With prices like these our goal of $50 is defintely attainable!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Our Staycation

For those of you who don't know what a staycation is let me explain... With the economy as it is presently a lot of families are opting out of huge vacations where they are forced to stay in a hotel and pay enormous amounts of money for their family time. Instead the trend is to stay near home and experience our local area. For our family that meant staying home not doing chores and making bag lunches for our daily outings with simple easy dinners waiting for us when we got back.

Day 1:

We had a bbq that we attended and then a swim in our community pool followed by dinner at a yummy mexican resturant.

Day 2:

We went to San Francisco Zoo. Our almost 2 year old was so intriqued by the animals. She LOVED the petting zoo and was simply in awe the whole day. Sarai (our little one) absolutely freaked out in the bug house but loved just about everything else... Seeing it through her eyes was so neat.While our older daughter Adeline is always eager to see the penquins. One of the biggest highlights was seeing a bird egg hatch before our eyes. How cool is that! After a long day of walking through the zoo we came home and played games for the evening and prepared for the next day.
Day 3:

We went to the Tech Museum in San Jose a place none of us had ever been to and it was interesting to see all the neat hands on projects. Adeline had a blast and Daniel and Iwere able to watch her experiment with different activities. We walked through 3 stories of energy saving ideas, internet teaching (and pop quiz), an entire area for space and deep sea also a mock street corner that you could stand on and feel a huge earthquake hit. Overall so interesting.

We decided to end the day with Toy Story 3 and The Prince of Perisa at the drive in. Adeline's very first drive in! We brought snacks and drinks and blankets too... And sat out on the truck bed and enjoyed the movie. What a great evening!

Day 4:

We relaxed! After days packed with adventures and driving we decided to really stay close to home. We got a yummy Jamba Juice for lunch did some light shopping and had our final staycation dinner at Chipotle.

This was our very first staycation and it was absoutely great! We had SO much fun spending quality time together without breaking the bank our budget was just $120 and we stayed below that amount. We have decided that we will be doing another staycation next year and have actually already began thinking of places to attend. I think sometimes we get too caught up in the day to day grind to enjoy both the area where we live and eachother! But... with a few days and thankfully a small amount of money we were able to make memories that will last us a lifetime! :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Home Management Binder

I don't know about you but when I know where everything is I feel at peace. Today I would like to show you my HOME MANAGEMENT BINDER. In our home there is chaos and confusion at times and this binder has been a life saver! Within mine I have a few sections:
1. Calender- When you open the binder the first thing you see is a calender I made and printed out. The calender has dates that our bills are due, birthdays, events and any other pertinent info that we will need accessible at a moments notice. Obviously the current month is first and I have each month through the rest of the year, this way I can add something months ahead of time easily :)
2. Current week- The first Category is for our current week. I have our menu plan, my daily schedule and any important papers I may need associated with the day right there.
3. Chore chart- Next I have chore charts printed and ready for use. The top one is for the current week. My older daughter knows that when she has had a good week of behavior and chores she gets a reward so she is all to eager to make sure everything is done.
4. Upcoming week- basically the same as current week except they are printed copies. This way if something comes up I can add it ahead of time.
5. School- I keep information from my daughters school schedules here along with permission slips, party schedules, PTO information etc.
6. Cleaning- I have a weekly guide that I can look at to make sure our home is tidy and orderly. I know that each area is cleaned every week because I can simply check it off! I don't get everything done every week. Other things come up especially being with my family but this way I know what was done and what needs to be done. I also have a list of home maintenance broken down so that is can be done quarterly. These are things that need to be done but we wouldn't remember to do them unless there was a list.
7. Finances- This is the biggest category the first page is or current monthes weekly budget with a breakdown of incoming and outgoing money. Next is our overall budget broken down so we can easily see what we have set aside to spend in each area... for example $200 for groceries, and $200 for your car insurance and auto repairs. Next is a list of our debt so we know where we stand and what we can snowball next. NEXT I have subcategories that are sleeves labeled; paystubs, bank statements, insurance, bills, and debt.
(also we use its a great and FREE resource!)
8. Projects/ wish list- Here we have blank paper where we can add projects that need to be done and a place where we can add to our wish list easily.
I know that this is a lot of information so if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask :)