Thursday, February 25, 2010


So we made a trip to the DI. I found lots of good deals. Here are two of my re-do's.

I found this AWESOME lamp and it was nice to begin with, but the color isn't what we are going for for our bedroom. It was $10, but it is so heavy and in such good condition that I thought it was worth that price. I love how tall it is. Here is the before Pic

I painted it black with tole paint. After it had dried I sanded the edges for a distressed look. It is gonna look SO COOL in our bedroom. I am using the original lamp shade. We just cleaned it up.

You can't tell, but this lamp is quite tall.
My other fab find was this little trunk. It is a sewing basket and made of hard plastic. I saw this little trunk and it called out to me - "BUY ME" I paid $4 for this.
I painted it with black tole and sanded the edges. This little trunk looks fabulous in our bedroom. BONUS: Hidden storage too!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Totally Awesome and EASY Crockpot Creamy Potato Soup

I make this about four hours before. It is so easy and good. I leave out the leeks(what's a leek?), the chives, and I use 2 cans of cream of chicken soup instead of cream of mushroom and cream of celery. I do this because I always have cream of chicken soup in the house. Next time I am going to use 1 can of cheddar soup, to make it a cheesy soup. There are lots of possibilities - you can add ham, clams, corn - whatever you like, because is is so creamy, so easy, so good. If you make it let me know what you think!!!

6 potatoes
2 leeks
2 onions
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
4 c. water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 tbsp. parsley flakes
2 tbsp. butter
13 oz. can evaporated milk
Chopped chives
Cut all to bite-size. Put all ingredients except milk and chives, in the crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Stir in evaporated milk during the last hour. Serve with chopped chives.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Favs - Ways to save money(oh yeah)

There are so many things that I like and the first is A GOOD DEAL. I like to search for and find the best deal out there. Whenever I need something, I usually can find a good deal. For instance when my son needed new church shoes. I went to were the black shoes I wanted for $2!!!!!I was so thrilled I bought his size now, and his next size too. My total came to a little over $6 with tax, since I paid $.97 each to have them shipped. But what a good deal. I always looks for the best rates when planning a party, or a trip to Disneyland, or for making color copies. Here are some of my favorite sites.
This it the best website ever for saving on prescription glasses. You must have a current prescription from you eye doctor, but glasses here start at $8 each. I always buy our glasses here. We get the $8 pair and then add $5 for the anti-glare(if you wear them outside) I only wear mine at night so I only spent $8 for mine, I ordered 3 pair!!! Shipping is only like $5 for the whole order. LOVE IT!!!!
Some things are good deals, others are not. I usually compare with amazon,com or to make sure, but I have found some fabulous deals. Another ting that I love about this site it is is so safe to buy because of the protection of PayPal. In the rare instance that I don't receive an item, Paypal issues me a refund. I always make sure the price I want to pay includes the shipping costs. I always look for themed toy lots when I do a party. Last year when I did the star wars party I found little 1.5" star wars characters to go on the cupcakes. I spent about the same ($4) as I would have if I had bought the cupcake rings-and each child got to have a toy to take home with them. (They looked new, but I ran them threw the dishwasher just to be safe. Ebay is place where you find unusual item that you won't find elsewhere.
I check it nightly for deals. Here is one of my good deals. I was wanting to buy the new book "The Undaunted." It retails about $25 new. I found it on Craigslist for $10 brand new- and just in time to give it to myself for Christmas!!!! I also have sold things as well and IT'S FREE!!

This is available in most areas. It is a yahoo group that you join in your area. Then you offer things that you no longer need, and then once you have made an offer, you can get things for free that others are giving away. I usually post really nice things that I don't need, but would rather not send to the DI, because then I no someone who truly needs it can have it. The downside to this would be that making arrangements and waiting for people to come and get it can be more time consuming then just taking it to the DI. But, when I received a nice email thanking me,from someone I have just given a bag of nice winter jackets-it makes it worth it.

Deseret Industries
This is the goodwill thrift store in our area. Sometimes they have AWESOME DEALS!!! The one here in my hometown is the most overpriced one I know. They try to sell cheap pictures in large frames(the cheesy kind you see in cheap motels)for $75. I am sure it didn't cost that much brand new. BUT sometimes (and most the time in larger cities) they have fabulous deals. I like go here to buy things to re-use. Like when I a making a personalized games(see other posting for these) I look for games that have a box that I can use. I look for ceramics that can be re-painted, clothes and hats for costumes, furniture that can be repainted, etc. My best deal was a snowsuit for my son for $4. It was brand new with the tags on it for $30. Although it was a size to big-it fit perfect the next year.
I love this site so much I dedicated and entire post for it. The best place for getting a good deal on fresh fruits and vegetables. Check it out.
I love this site because you can get fun gift or things to decorate your home with a relatively great price.
This is the first place I head when looking to plan a themed party. People from all over share their ideas of what they did and what the kids liked. They have hundreds of themes and most individual themes have several ideas posted. I usually take the ones I like most and "borrow" several ideas to make it my own.
I used to buy my printer ink from - they have a great selection, great prices, & low shipping. BUT for my printer, I found a better deal here AND it is the same as I got before only much cheaper. I pay $23.95 for a 10 pack of ink (4 black, 2 magenta, 2 blue, and 2 yellow) I have never had a problem and I PRINT ALOT!!!
This is curriculum for pre-school. It is so AWESOME!!! Me and 4 other mothers do a rotating pre-school for our children. This program provides EVERYTHING you need to teach the kids and comes with all supplies too. The only things we need to have on hand are scissors, crayons, etc-All the things you normally have at home. It is a good price too. We each pay about $14 a month!! We each teach once a week, and our kids get pre-school 4 times a week. It comes with LOTS of teacher supplies-To name a few:posters, a CD of songs, newsletters for the parents, a weather puppet, a calendar, and tons more. We just put everything in the box and pass it on to the moms who teach. The crafts are all high-quality materials-things you normally couldn't get very cheap-and most of the things are pre-cut so there is little preparation for the teacher. SOOOOOO COOL!
When I make history books or family photo books I do a lot of double-sided printing. The printing places in my hometown charge $ .49 a copy for single sided! So I did lots of online research and found this place. It is in my same state of Utah. It costs me $ .34 a copy for DOUBLE-SIDED copies and includes free-shipping to my home. It saves me MORE THAN HALF of what I used to spend!!! And there are so nice to work with!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Scrapbook for Dummies

Many people spend hours and lots of money on scrapbooking supplies. I am just not that creative. I wish, but, *sigh* I am not. But as a mom, I have TONS of pictures that I needed to find out what to do with. I started by gluing them on a piece of cardstock, labeling them, and adding stickers. This was my extent of scrapbooking. I did make a binder covered with material and lace, and threw my pages into plastic sheets. I now have about 25 THICK, scrapbooks. They take up so much space--- AND then I got a digital camera. I HATED printing them at Walmart, cutting them out, gluing them, and labeling them. SO I looked at my options and came across scrapbook max. Now I think I am pretty computer illiterate, but this was sooooo EASY. They have a trial period and I fell in love with it that first night, and purchased it the next day. I LOOOVVVVEEE IT. It comes with predone templates, and lots of cute embellishments. I do everything with it, not just my scrapbook pages, but invitations, primary handouts, bulletin boards, gift certificates, games, ---anything I can think of.

They offer free upgrades, and they give tons of freebies for new templates, embellishments, etc. Here are some things I have done with it.

Birthday Invites

Baby Shower Advice Card:

Light Switch Cover:

Oganization Ideas

I live in a tiny house, so I have to have EVERYTHING, in it's own place at all times, otherwise it would literally overflow my space. Here are a few things I have done to make life easier.

The coat closet (AAAAGGGGHHHH) I hate it when I open the door and little mittens. hats, and scarfs come down on your head. So I put an end to it. I took a shoe organizer, a cheap cardboard one and put it on the top shelf.

I now have a place for everything! I labeled each cubby-kids gloves, mom;s gloves, scarves, baseball hats, umbrellas, etc- It is so easy to put them away now.

Another big mess are my medicine/toiletries/whatever closet. I wanted to keep my adult meds up high, but other things that my kids need continually,(like band aids) down low. I bought a shoe organizer that hangs on the door, and now I am able to put TONS of stuff in the little pockets for quick and easy organiztion. I loved it so much I bought one for my coat closet too. It makes an easy place for extra toothbrushes, travel soaps & other supplies, band aids, razors, etc. I printed labels too so my hubby and kids can find things easily.

Cheap Fruits & Veggies

So a lady at my hubby's work told him about this AWESOME local place to get fruits and veggies at a great price.
They have sites in Arizona, Utah, Idaho & Washington. You pay online and then you pick up your food at a local place, usually a business, in your area. It cost $18 for the first time, and then is $15 each time thereafter. I cannot believe how much food you get!!! This is what we got one time.

As you can see there is a LOT of food.
*8 Apples
*6 Oranges
*3 mango
*a squash
*3 avocados
*11 Kiwi
*2 broccoli
*1 cauliflower
*20 red potatoes
*6 corn on the cob
*6 Bananas
*1 romaine lettuce
*1 cantaloupe

Each time the fruits & veggies that you get are different, but everytime I am amazed how much there is. It had gotten so popular that since I have been getting it they have added 2 more sites to my area. There are also options of other food you can add to your basket, such as breads. I think it is totally awesome!

Star Wars Bedroom Makeover

So my son is getting older(8 years old now!!!) and he doesn't want his "little brother always getting into his things", so we decide it is time for his own room. Their room was done in Spiderman, until I was informed that, "I no longer like Spiderman" and it was time for a new theme AND his own room. His new interest is Star Wars so I started out by painting all the molding and baseboards black. I used tole paint(eek, I was not sure if that was ok or not, but it looks so cool, flat black, and it dries super fast) I had bought these craft boxes at the $ store for 2 for a $, and I have used them in my sons room since he was a baby. They were painted red, but now are spray painted black. My hubby hung them up right next to each other to create a long shelf.

EASY SHELVING: (Craft boxes painted and hung-up-super Easy)See the cute and different ways you use the craft boxes?
It is not shown here, but we have star wars figures on these sheleves.

I ordered some cute vinyl lettering Star wars sayings. They turned out so cute!

MORE SHELVES-WALL DECOR-I bought some wood shelves at the DI and Painted them black. I found 2 light-up light sabers and spray-painted them red and blue and hung them on the wall. They make a clanging noise and light-up when you push a button.

I found the swords at the $store.

I made these pictures on SCRAPBOOK MAX. It was suggested that we have a picture of a temple in each child's room, so I made the a picture with the St. George temple and a galaxy. It says, "May the force be with you." I thought that saying went perfect with the temple.

I lucked out and won this whole set for $6 with shipping. I haven't had much luck getting anything else for cheap, which is why my others shelves are so bare at the moment. I found a Darth Maul figure at the DI and keep checking for more things.


For the light switches and plugs, I found some cute pictures of the star wars characters, printed them to the right size, and mod-podged them to the light and plug covers. They turned out sooooo cute. I made my dresser knobs the same way. I bought some wooden knobs(cheap on EBay) and mod-podged the pics onto them. You can't see them very well in the pictures though. I painted the dresser black as well. You would think that all this black is too much, but it works.

His bed fram was red, so I painted it black. I chose to spray paint these. I bought a headboard at the DI for $10 and painted it black too. His bed was real short so we bought bed raisers at Walmart for $10. (REAL Cool- now I store my canned food storage under there) My mom sewed a cute bedskirt from black fabric that had tiny stars that looked like a galaxy. She also made fleece black throw pillows(about 6-my son LOVES his pillows.) They are not shown here. My mom found this cute, super soft star wars throw at Walmart. She sewed black fleece around the sides to make it fit a twin bed. Not the best pic, I know.

His closet does not have doors, so we found some great, heavy duty, black fabric at Walmart in the clearance bin and my mother-in-law sewed some great floor-length curtains. I found a great planet curtain with hanging glo-in-the dark stars at the DI. It fit my window perfect, but I had 2 windows-so my dear mother found matching material and made a second one. The window curtains provide the only color in the room as the planets are brightly colored.
 Everything else in black and white and I am loving how it turned out.

I made a door sign on SCRAPBOOK MAX, my favorite scrapbook program. I bought a wooden plaque at Walmart and painted it black, then mod-podged the picture onto it for a cute door sign.
My favorite part of the room-and something that really pulled together the Star Wars theme- is the ceiling. You can see a little of it with the vinyl lettering picture, but I could never get a great full-shot picture. What we did was take black butcher paper and stapled it-YEP STAPLED IT- to the ceiling. This was much faster than painting, and will be easily taken down when my son decides "he no longer likes Star Wars." I bought glo-in-the-dark stars from Ebay, and we stuck them all over the ceiling, creating a beautiful nighttime galaxy.
Overall the whole room make-over turned out great!!
Thanks for looking, Momma!

Bakugan/Pokemon Party Ideas

I LOOOOOVVVVE planning parties. I usually find a theme a month or 2 in advance and then I plan, plan, plan. Here is what we did for my son's 8th birthday party. The kids loved it.

My son wanted a Bakugan party so we headed to for ideas. We read the Pokemon VS. Bakugan idea and that’s what we decided to do, with a little tweaking. I used some of her ideas, but I needed more. However, once I got planning, I didn't know how to use both themes, but I had already mentioned it to my son, and there was no changing his mind to do just Bakugan. I found lots of ideas and I was able to incorporate both, but this party could be changed to fit ONLY Bakugan or Pokemon. I also purchased Bakugan party ideas from a lady on eBay. She had lots of ideas that I borrowed too, and they could be used for any theme.

For the invitation, I created a circle front that said “Birthday Brawlers, Let’s have a Ball” It was a picture from online. Underneath it said, Pokemon VS. Bakugan. (I used pictures that said Pokemon with the ball under it and the Bakugan Logo with Dan throwing a ball) I made another circle for the back. The top said “Let the battle begin” It had a picture of the Pokemon characters and then all the party details. I printed the front circle and the back circle on sticker paper and cut them out. I cut larger circles on yellow card stock on stuck the front and back circle on it. I used Blue CD sleeves for the envelope, so the front was showing through and I printed a round, “You’re invited” seal to close the envelope.


OBJECT OF THE PARTY:Explain to the kids that they need to get all 6 Badges to complete the training. The kids are all training to defeat the bad guys and to send the bad guys to the dimension doom. To begin, show them the Infinity Core and say we have this, but we need the Silent Core. For the cores, I used two snake magnets. I wrapped them individually, put them inside a small cardboard tube, and labeled them Infinity Core and Silent Core.
I put the Silent Core into the piñata. Once the training is completed and they have earned all of their badges and all the bads guys are sent to DD(Dimension Doom), a star shaped bakugan(PINATA) is returned from the DD and the kids must open it to find Silent Core and reunite it with the Infinity Core and restore balance. (The Doom Dimension is an alternate dimension from the real world, possibly also in Vestroia. It is known that no Bakugan has ever returned from there until the brawlers and their Bakugan were released from here by the legendary soldiers. Bakugan Vestroia is a vast dimension comprised of 6 attribute worlds: Fire, Earth, Light, Darkness, Water and Wind.)The kids earn badges. Team Bakugan earns the 6 attribute worlds. I just found pictures off the internet of wind, fire, darkness, light, water, & earth. Team Pokemon earns 6 pokemon badges. I made Team Pokemon and Team Bakugan Badges for the kids. I printed the badges on circle label sticker paper. )

These are the badges I made.

BAKUGAN BADGES- I found these pics of the internet of the energy attributes-wind, water, light, earth, fire, and darknessTEAM BADGES


I used my son's Pokemon and Bakugan cards hanging from the ceiling with streamers. I also had blue and red Helium balloons that were tied to crepe streamers and then tied to string that we had strung between two poles. Then there were the large character cards that were taped to the floor.
When the kids got there, I had them sign up for door prizes and choose a Team. Each child gets Trainer card(this is where they put their badges), a Team Sticker Badge, and Ziploc Gallon size bag(this is for prizes earned and piñata candy) with their name written on it. Explain about the training they need to complete to win the battle and that they are trying to save the world from the bad guys, find the Infinity Core and reunite it with the Silent Core to restore balance. I chose not to have the teams compete against each other, but instead complete each game(training) for their badges.
GAMES: ( Training Exercises)

1. Balloon Stomp: For this game I inflated about 60 balloons and hid Pokemon and Bakugan stickers inside them. (Enough so that there is 1 sticker for every child, but some balloons had nothing) The children have to pop the balloons and each child has to find their team sticker. When they find one, they earn a BADGE. They put their sticker in their Ziploc bag.
2. Pokemon/ Bakugan Character Walk :
We had 10 Pokemon characters, 10 Bakugan characters, and enough blank cards taped onto the floor. ( I printed them onto cardstock. I had enough so that every child could be standing on one. I had 20 kids there). This is used for a game of musical cards(character walk) to the Pokemon theme song. When the music stops, whatever Character they are on, they get that character card (if it is the one they need.) I printed small pictures of each of the characters onto cardstock. They were about 1½ in. The object is for each child to collect all 5 of their team characters once they collect all 5 they receive their BADGE. They put the 5 characters cards in their Ziploc bag. I chose to have the first one (from each team) to get all 5 win a prize. The kids loved this game!
3. Metal Gate Card Game:I put 3 Bakugan Metal Gate Cards and 3 Pokemon Cards on the floor (I created these cards on my ScrapbookMax Program, just using the logos with the characters, printed them on cardstock, and taped them to the ground.) I had the kids line up according to their team. (3 people from each team played at once.) The kids on each team one each got 10 pennies to toss(other team gets 10 dimes to show difference, if their toss is wayward) and they try to get the coins to land on their card. Go until all kids have a turn. They all will receive their BADGE.
4. Stretchy Bakugan Card Find:
In this game the kids are told about the cards falling from the sky and that they need to collect them to play the game and improve strategy in battle. The kids are arranged in a circle. They are each given a large stretchy sticky hand (I got mine at Walmart for $1 each.) The cards are placed in the middle of the circle and they all try to get their Team Card using their stretchy hand. They must retrieve the cards with only the aid of the stretchy hand. I made Bakugan Cards Fronts, Pokemon card fronts, and Try Again cards. All the cards were blank on the other side) Each child took a turn to slap at the cards with the sticky hand. Once they got their corresponding team card, they won their Badge. We continued until every child won a badge. This game went very fast.
5. PokeBall/ BakuBall Game:I bought a bag of 100 Soft balls for a ball pit from Walmart.($7) I chose the give Team Bakugan the Blue and Yellow Balls and Team Bakugan the Red and Green Balls. A line in the middle of playing area divides the two teams. The game is started and the kids throw balls back and forth trying to keep the opposite team's balls out of their area. After an allotted amount of time the team with the least amount of enemy balls wins. Every-one gets a BADGE. Kids love throwing balls at each other.
6. Electricity Zap:
I bought an 8 pack of water guns at Walmart for $3, but then I chose to use water bottles instead and just bought 4 for $1 each. I printed pictures of the bad guys onto sticker paper and stuck them onto red and blue helium filled balloons. We tied them to tissue paper crepe streamers, and them tied them to a string we had strung between 2 posts. I used red balloons for Bakugan and Blue for Pokemon. I made sure we had enough balloons for each child. Each team shoots the water ("electricity" or "fire") at the tissue paper, until it comes apart, and the enemy balloons are released into the sky (DD-doom dimension) (We had the party during the winter, but luckily it was warm enough for this game. If weather is bad, just let kids release their balloons.) Everyone gets their BADGE. This game was by far the hit of the party. The kids kept saying how cool it was.

-At this point they should all have their badges and the Star bakugan(piñata) has been released from the DD. My husband lowered it down it the party area, while we were outside. -
7. Pinata- We bought a star piñata from Walmart that looked like a Pointy Bakugan. We told the kids we had to break it open to release the Silent Core (It was inside the piñata.) After it was broken we let the birthday boy open it and he put them together and they snap together.(Since they are snake magnets) We all cheered and said that the Infinity Core is now reunited with the Silent Core and world is saved.
PRESENTS: Open presents
TREATS: We had Cake, Ice Cream, Soda, Treat Bags.
We made 2 round cakes using a bowl with rounded bottoms to make 2 circle cakes. Once was a BakuBall and one was a Pokeball. We used a fondant icing to decorate them to look like the pokeball and one to look like my son’s favorite Bakugan. We put them on a round platter and decorated around each ball with bakugans from my son’s collection and a cheap lot of pokemon characters that I got off of Ebay and sent through the dishwasher.
GOODY BAGS: I bought Pokemon treat bags and Bakugan treat bags and filled them with candy, 1 new Pokemon card, little poky balls, silver mirror ball on string, a pencil, 3 stickers, pop-it, and sticky hands. They also get to keep the 5 character cards and sticker from the games.