Friday, October 28, 2016

Outdoor Fairy Garden

I don't know what it is about fairy gardens, but I find them so cute and fun! You can find a variety of them along with their accessories at different craft stores and garden centers. In fact, one of the first places we spotted our very first one was at a local garden center in our area several years ago...this particular garden area also offers workshops on how to create one. Although we've never done this before, it did plant some ideas of how we could create one of these at home.

After searching thru some pictures online and remembering what the ones from the garden center looked like, I starterd with the basics and looked around our home to see if there were any items we already had that we could use for the garden...because, let's face it, accessories can add up in cost!
My best advice to how you can stay under-budget is to shop your house and yard.

Please don't mind the shoes on the wrong feet. At this point I'm pretty convinced she does it on purpose. ;) Personality, this one!

Here is the breakdown of items we had combined with items we purchased:

We had the following items:
1. wooden bird house ($1) painted. Bought at a craft store.
2. rocks/pebbles (free)
3. blue gems (several years old) Used in our wedding which is a fun little fact!
4. dirt (probably an obvious one and free)
5. seashells (free)
6. popsicle sticks

Purchased these following items:
1. drain pan ($1) from Dollar Tree!
2. small figurines (from a previous project and about $4)
3. pumpkins (2 for $1) from Dollar Tree
4. Bridge ($1) Dollar Tree

We also added some seeds to the dirt in hopes that we would be able to grow some grass/greenery...along with some acorns my daughter found at a park one day. :)

Overall, this project cost about $10!!! I'd say that is pretty darn good. The girls and I would also like to buy a little fairy figurine for the garden, so we hope to do that soon. :)

In the meantime, the girls are having fun adding a few more pebbles here and there that they find on the road and they also enjoy playing with the little bunny (who is sadly missing his ears because my son broke them off) and a mushroom figurine in the garden. :) We are still waiting for some grass to grow as well. It's been a fun little lesson in plant growth for the girls and myself since I do not have a green-thumb!

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Beginnings of a Fairy Garden

Now that a lot of our indoor spaces are decorated, I'm trying to move on to the outdoors.

There is a little spot on our porch where I wanted to put a fairy garden. After seeing some pictures of them online and reading just a little bit about them, I knew it was possible to make one on a budget.

I plan on getting to all of that later in the week, but for now, we are having fun decorating ours and figuring out what goes where. :)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Modesty and Shopping

**Disclaimer: I originally wrote this post 6 months ago and just forgot to publish it's definitely a summer post, but something maybe worth sharing.**


I wasn't sure what to title this post, so I just went with what quickly came to mind...."Modesty and Shopping." Makes sense, right? In a way I can already see how the two go hand-in-hand, but then I look at that title and think it doesn't make any sense.

Regardless, I wanted to write about my experience bathing suit shopping with my two little girls. Now can you see where the word "modesty" might come in, right? ;)

So I thought this would be somewhat of an easy process. I take my 4 year old and 3 year old to one department store, they see a cute bathing suit (preferably one piece) we buy it and go home.

Well, it wasn't that easy. It wasn't a painful process either...don't get me wrong. I find it quite fun shopping with my two girls...most of the time. However, I was a little surprised at the selection of bathing suits some of these stores were offering and a little sticker shocked at their price tag.

Let's see...we looked for swim suits at several stores for about 2 weeks. Now this isn't to say I shopped every day during the week...because I didn't, but some of the stores we looked at included Target, Kohls, Gymboree, and Old Navy (which was the last place we looked and the place that had the best price and selection).

Now if your kids are like mine, they are instantly drawn to certain characters- like Disney princesses or Minnie Mouse (she seems to always be a favorite around here). My oldest went so far as asking me for a bathing suit she saw at Target one day with ponies on it from a show she had never even seen before. That was fun- trying to explain to her why I wasn't going to get that particular one for her. :) And some stores are more into the characters than others. I'm sure it's a branding thing, but that was interesting to observe.

And the overall price range for most of these bathing suits fell anywhere between $20 to almost $40. You might be thinking that the lower end of that scale isn't really all that much to pay for, but honestly, I knew that my girls would outgrow these things quickly, so I wasn't going to drop more than $40 total for something they would only wear a few times.

Is that cheap of me?


But I like to think of it as being practical. :)

Call it what you will, we just kept looking around at different places until finding what we were looking for.

One day while browsing some stores in the mall, I spotted Old Navy and thought, why not check them out? Besides, their commercial jingles are always pretty catchy and they pride themselves on being a good bargain. So we entered the store and headed straight to the back where they keep the bathing suits. I actually found that they had a pretty good selection of girls bathing suits. And they were character-less...which was something I was shooting for! (My girls already own a ton of character-based clothes, so I wanted them to get something a little different this time).

Old Navy was also having a good sale so we got each bathing suit they picked out for under $12!!! Now that was a good deal to me!

But let's back-track a bit...when shopping at a couple of the stores early on, I was a bit surprised by the number of skimpy 2 piece bathing suits they sell for little for kids 5 and under. I mean we're talking triangle piece tops for little girls with small bottoms- some even had "extra" things attached like dangling beads and floppy ruffles. I realize everyone out there won't agree with me about this, but what are we teaching our little girls about themselves with suits like that? I know I really need to be careful here because there is a fine line to walk with this kind of topic, but I was just a little taken aback by some of the designs on these things.

After looking around at the options we were finding, I was beginning to get a bit discouraged. I even briefly looked online for some suits that I thought would be appropriate, but not knowing if the sizes online would be a good fit for my girls, I decided to keep looking.

Eventually we ended up at Old Navy where I picked out several bathing suit options for my girls to try on and made the mistake (if you will) of picking out a 2 piece. Remember, I was originally thinking we would just get them a one piece? Of course, my 4 year old gravitated toward the 2 piece, or tankini as they call it, and that was it! Once she saw it, there was no selling her on anything else!! My 3 year old saw this cute one piece with a floral arrangement on the front and loved it- so that was a win for her and a pretty easy decision for me to make on buying it. But my oldest daughter was set on the 2-piece. Now in the end, I'm not against young girls wearing 2 -pieces- don't get me wrong. There are some really cute and modest ones out there....and the one my 4 year old wanted (which is the one we ended up buying) is actually cute and covers well...I guess that is the point of a tankini. I just knew I wasn't going to buy her a triangle piece top with a separate bottom that had beads and ruffles dangling off the sides. No matter how badly she may have wanted something like that.

Oh and as soon as we got home from running some other errands that day, my girls had to wear their bathing suits around the house before bed time. :) It was cute watching them dance around the house in their new swim wear. My 3 year old kept putting her hands on her hips and smiling because she loved her new suit so much. Haha! It's the little things that get them excited sometimes. In the end, I'm just glad there are still bathing suits out there that cover up a decent amount without being too trendy and/or expensive.

Anyone else have a similar experience with their kids? I know I was only suit shopping for my girls and not my son, but I wonder if shopping for boys can be a challenge too...or maybe not?

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Great Deal on a Rug

If you aren't familiar with the site, it's worth taking a look. We have purchased a couple of rugs from them in the past and have been very pleased with what we got. Our very first rug purchase from them was this jute rug. We also ordered an Oriental style rug from them as well and have had it for 3's pictured below.

I had been on the lookout for a rug for our family room and wanted something soft with a little bit of color, but still neutral based.
Not too long ago, I spied this light blue wool rug that happened to be on sale at 90% off on their site and knew that if we didn't get it, I'd be slightly disappointed.
Because of this crazy sale they had going on, we just couldn't pass it up!

We received it a few days ago and are so very pleased with it. It's amazing!! It's soft, beautiful, and well-made. I never thought we'd be able to get a wool rug like this...and for the price we paid, I feel like we got it for more than a steal!

I will add this piece of information: Since our last rug was jute, it did hide spills well. So I do have a new rule for not just the kids, but for my husband and I eating on the rug. Our last rug had seen lots of spilled juice, melted chocolate, cheese, snacks, you name it. And it did get kind of gross. 
Hopefully we can keep this one somewhat clean so it lasts longer.

Also, since this is a wool rug, it is supposed to clean up well. We have already had 2 milk spills on it (even with the new rule "enforced"...haha). But we're gonna try to take care of this one. ;) 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

How Hard is it to Decorate on a Budget?

When people come to our house, they are surprised to learn that most of the things we own come from a thrift store. They often sit down in a chair that came from a thrift store (don't worry, we made sure to clean it real good!) or eat at our kitchen table (which was purchased for a whopping $10) at, you guessed it, a thrift store. 
And since I'm a lover of paint and refurbishing things, that's pretty much the treatment that these thrifted items get. It's really amazing how you can transform something once you give it a little T.L.C.
We don't own a single new sofa, sitting chair, or coffee table, and we have bought many more items at these discount stores.

In fact, the only real "splurge" (if you will) we made years ago was on our bedroom furniture and dining table. We did this well before we had kids.  But now with 3 little ones and a dog (cause he counts too), we don't always have the funds to buy new everything. And I actually prefer it that way. It's given me ways to express my creativity and hunt for thrifty finds (even if there isn't much time for it these days).

If you are curious to try thrift shopping and want to know where to begin, here are some things to keep an eye out for:

1. Furniture- this includes items like dressers, tables, chairs, and even kitchen counter stools.

Dresser Turned Writing Desk


2. Clothes- this one is pretty obvious for most people. Just make sure to check it over before you purchase anything.

Not the best picture, but this is a $4 sweater. And it came from Target originally. Sometimes you just gotta look carefully (you might even find that some clothes still have tags on them!)

3. Mirrors- Lots of people like to give these away...but we've bought a handful of these over the years and painted them to replace some of the boring/generic ones that come in most bathrooms these days.


4. Pillows- I once bought 4 feathered down pillows. The total cost for all of them was about $10!! It's hard to beat that. Just recover them and you have new, comfortable pillows.

 5. Outdoor- Wicker/bamboo chairs (I painted some and put them on our porch), step stools (great for plant holders).

6. Miscellaneous items- Examples of this we have purchased include a wooden rocking horse, globe, wooden child rocking chairs, vases, candle stick holders, and frames. Love buying frames at the thrift store! Endless possibilities with those things and a lot of the times they are so cheap!


7. Lighting- As long as it works, you can use it! We have one hanging in our kitchen that we bought for about $5...just paint it if it doesn't go with your style!

Now I know some people wouldn't set foot in a thrift store because of some preconceived notions about them and that's fine. But if you're thinking about ways to save and have the time to browse and look around, you might be surprised at what you find.

And I should add that while we do a lot of shopping at thrift stores, we also give a fair amount away. I think that is important, especially if you are always adding more to your home. Having clutter is never a good situation!

So in the end, is it hard to decorate on a budget? I definitely don't think so...especially if you buy second-hand. :)