Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fall Leaves Vase

Sunday September 22 is the autumnal equinox, or also known as the first day of FALL! My most favorite time of the year!!!!

With a homemade pumpkin spice latte in my hand, I began decorating the house with the beautiful fall décor I have made and collected. As well as planning out some crafts for new things.

Last year I purchased several bags of artificial fall leaves at my local Dollar Tree; not really having a purpose for them yet. So this year, they became a beautiful (and CHEAP!) piece of fall décor that is now adorning my living room.  

We all have those clear vases from flowers we get on special occasions, right? Mother’s Day, Birthdays, Valentine’s day…. Well, my craft room has been overflowing with them for a few years now.

I dusted one off, filled it with the artificial fall leaves, tied on a bit of tulle and I had myself a lovely decoration.


So, free vase, approximately $3.00 total for the fall leaves and tulle I had on hand. Super cheap fall décor!

Check out some of the crafty fall items I made last year:
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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Once a month shopping: one year later

Well folks! We have officially been on the once a month shopping/making everything from scratch switch for a FULL YEAR!!

And it has been a fabulous year. During this past year we have changed and “perfected” our shopping and cooking. We have tried lots of new recipes, found even better ways to shop and save that doesn’t involve clipping scads of coupons, we have lived stress free from weekly shopping trips and penny counting.

This year we were able to save enough money from our new shopping and eating habits to actually go on a week’s vacation! And we spend much more time together since we aren’t rushing off to the store to get this or that, or trying to hear one another over the table at a crowded (and expensive) restaurant. And the words “let’s just get take out” have not crossed our lips. Now our taste buds call out for nice home cooked meals.

And the icing on the cake: Hubs and I lost almost 100 pounds together by switching to mostly homemade foods!!!! Hubs lost 60 pounds and I’ve lost 35 pounds! NO EXERCISE ROUTINES. Simply eating what we wanted, in moderation, and making it homemade instead of pre-boxed meals with lots of salt, preservatives, and chemicals. And you have all heard that stress causes weight gain, right? Well, our new method of shopping and money saving has lessened the amount of stress, aiding in our weight loss too.

While the weight loss is fabulous, it was not the driving force to making this change in shopping and eating. It was for the money. Well, it was to save money. Or spending less money on food and still getting what we NEED. And we did just that. I don’t spend each day checking the bank account to see if I can get food items at the store because the money was already set aside, the food has already been purchased and I know there is left over money in the bank because we have all that we need. There is no reason to go back to the store.

During this year, I posted on social media sites to my friends and family about our triumphs along the way. Several people asked how we were going about once a month shopping and saving money and losing all that weight. After referring them to this very blog and other blogs I drew inspiration from, a handful of my friends tried the switch too. Some were very successful, some didn’t find it appealing, and some took bits and pieces of the idea and made it their own.

With their permission, and excluding names, I have decided to post what it was they liked or disliked about once a month shopping/ making everything homemade.  Let’s name them Friend A, B, C and D.

When asked, “How did once a month shopping work for you?”

Friend A:

“Shopping trips are much easier and faster and I don't have the question of ‘what's for supper?’ anymore! A major time and money saver. I will never go back to the old way again! I now know how to do it and can stick to a grocery budget!!”

Friend A is a full time working mom and has three small children. Her family lives on a full working farm. So added to her already busy work load, the farm requires A LOT of attention. Now, she has lots of time to spend with her family outside of her career and farm work since she doesn’t have to use that extra time to go grocery shopping.

Friend B:

“While I wasn't successful it did cause me to rethink my shopping habits. I actually make fewer trips to places like Target and Wal-Mart, too, because my week does not revolve around a shopping trip and errands.”

Friend B is a stay at home mom of two. She has dietary restrictions that call for lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. When stored correctly, most fruits and vegetables can last a whole month; however there are some that cannot, like some berries, and bananas. So a weekly visit to the store or farmer’s market is needed. But as you read it, Friend B changed her shopping habits in other areas.

Friend C:

 “Instead of a whole months worth of shopping, I take it two weeks at a time. I live in a small apartment and do not have to storage space for a month’s worth of food and household items. I spend one Sunday making up frozen meals for a few dinners, planning out menus for the rest of the nights and pre-packing a few lunch items for the week for my kids. We also just began making our own breads (loaf breads, tortillas, rolls) My kids love helping me make them! And it has saved me so much time and energy trying to make it to the store every week. We also eat out less because I am not so exhausted from working all day, going to the store and trying to make it home to cook dinner and help the kids with their homework. On nights like that I fell into the temptation of ordering pizzas or grabbing drive thru burgers. Now I just grab a meal out of the freezer that I premade and help the kids with homework while it cooks.”

Friend C is a full time working, single mom of 2. Space is a big factor to consider for once a month shopping, especially if you have a larger family or live in a smaller home. Friend C has also seen the impact of preplanning changing her eating habits. Think of the money saved from not buying fast food. And think of the health benefits!

Friend D:

“This has been a life saver for my family. And a money saver as well. Since I don’t make multiple trips to the store each week, I am not picking up extra items that we really don’t need and saving so much money. And I love impressing my friends by making homemade goodies that taste better than store bought.”

Friend D is a stay at home mom of 2. Her husband’s job has down time during the cold months, so saving money the rest of the year is very important when paychecks are thin. And speaking of thin, Friend D has lost 20 pounds since she made the switch to mostly homemade food as well.


When other friends or family members say “Well, I just don’t have time to sit down and plan a month’s worth of menus” or “I don’t have time to bake everything from scratch, it’s faster to buy the boxed version.” HERE YOU GO FOLKS!! Whether you are a stay at home mom (or dad even!) or you work 40 plus hours a week. It is possible to do. And even Friend B, who couldn’t work once a month shopping in to her strict dietary needs, changed her shopping habits in other areas of household needs.

So check it out y’all. Give it a try! And let me know what you think.

Check out the previous posts I wrote here:

We have changed a few things.

**We get bulk cooking items at Costco and get our regular food items at two stores; Aldi and Kroger. On occasion I will get things at Wal-mart instead of Kroger. Usually that happens only if I need an out of the ordinary item. (like the month we had to buy school supplies.)

**We make all our breads from scratch. Biscuits, tortillas, rolls, buns, sandwich bread.

**We also had a small garden this year and that cut down on our fresh vegetable costs. We also canned some of our overages before they spoiled.

**We will soon be trying our hand at making and drying our own pastas.

**We are also going to try to make homemade mozzarella and ricotta cheeses.


Do you have any ways of shopping or cooking mostly from scratch that you want to share? Did once a month shopping work for you?


God Bless!
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Scrap wood sign

A while back we gave the little farmhouse bathroom a long overdue makeover. New fixtures, flooring, fresh coat of paint, and new baseboards. When hubs was cleaning up after our project was finished, I had him save some of the scrap pieces of baseboards. I had a plan!
I absolutely love all the worn, weathered and antique signs you see everywhere nowadays. Especially some of the ones found on Etsy. Not wanting to pay a small fortune for some of them, I decided to make one of our own. Hubs and I LOVE coffee, so it seemed appropriate to make it the theme for my first try at making a wood sign.

 In Microsoft Word, I created my stencil. I centered the word “coffee” and inserted the same clipart image of a coffee cup on either side of the word. Printed it out, rubbed a pencil on the back and transferred it to my scrap piece of wood.

I chose lime and turquoise for my colors, since that is the soon to be colors in our kitchen (We still haven’t painted yet!) I outlined the images in brown to make them stand out against the white background.

Once the paint was dry, I took a piece of sand paper and roughed up the scrap wood a little to give it just a little weathered look.

I hammered in the saw-tooth hanger on the back and voila! Done.

Here is the finished project.


Super easy!
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