Friday, September 6, 2013

Why every mother needs MOPS

Dont skip over this post, its not about housework!

I love MOPS, so much in fact that I run our local group!

MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers, but its sort of a misnomer.  Open to any woman, pregnant or adopting, all the way through until her youngest finishes kindergarten! 

The mission of MOPS across the country is to encourage, equip, and develop every mother of preschoolers to realize her potential as a woman, mother, and leader in the name of Jesus Christ. We do this by meeting moms “where they are” in their stage of mothering and in their spiritual walk. MOPS exists as a ministry that supports and encourages the moms right in our own church family to help them become who God designed them to be as women, moms, and wives. We also exist as a ministry to reach out to moms who may not have a relationship with Jesus, providing a group they can come to for support and encouragement in an environment that fosters growth and spiritual development.

Sounds pretty fabulous right??  I know!

Each year MOPS International develops a theme to help with building and planning for the MOPS year. This years MOPS theme is A Beautiful Mess, Embrace Your Story. The theme verse is Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Our leadership team gathered together to brainstorm for the year and come up with some awesome table center pieces and I wanted to share with you what we created!

We always strive to have our center pieces be calm and relaxing .. our homes are messy and colorful enough!  While browsing Pinterest we stumbled upon these beauties!

We just knew they would be perfect for our "Embrace Your Store" theme!  

Last night the 7 of us gathered to paint, glue, create, chit chat and bond .. for 4 hours!

And these are what we created!

We followed her instructions for the bases but used yard sale picture frames for the tops.  Each one is different!  We left them empty, sort of a "your story is still being written" sort of thing. Since they looked "antique" ish .. we tried our hands at making quill pens!  These are store bought goose feathers, which just so happen to be hollow on the ends.  we just stripped the ink and roller ball tip from some pans and shoved them inside the feathers!  A dab of glue and they look fabulous!  

Another mom on the leadership team just happened to have a collection of vintage hard back Grace Livingston Hill books that look amazing stacked under our empty frames. 

We had so many frames left over that we are hanging them around our MOPS room with lace bows.  

I will post more pictures after our first meeting next week!  And watch for lots of MOPS stuff to come, we have 18 awesome meetings to get through between now and May!

If you are not part of a MOPS group, you should be!  Please visit to learn more about MOPS and find a local group in your area, you wont be sorry!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Simply gorgeous kitchen table make-over!

Shes done .. shes gorgeous  ... shes everything I hoped she would be and then some! 

Lets refresh our memory of what she looked like when she came to live with me shall we?

Yuck!  No wonder she was just $25.00!

I sanded the top.

Then stained it a rich dark walnut.

Painted all the wood a nice bright shiny white.

Then I recovered the chairs in this beautiful outdoor fabric!  No pictures .. whoops!   I choose outdoor fabric because its sort of shiny and wipe-able, great for a kitchen!

And here she is!

Price breakdown - 
$25 for the table, benches and chairs at a yard sale
$18 for fabric
$16 stain and polyurethane
$70 primer, new paint brushes, spray paint
$0 white glossy paint, already owned
= $129

Other then the table and fabric .. I can use all the supplies over again on other projects .. but I figured the cost into this project.  The purdy paint brushes were not cheap .. but they are pretty amazing.

I wanted to sell the table ... because really I cant use it, its to small.  But since I loved it soooooooo much I planned on pricing it high .. so maybe it would not sell and maybe I could make room for it in my house! I listed it for $300 on Craigs List Buffalo.  And my girlfriend called me right away and said .. WAY under priced!  She insisted I raise the price to at least $500!  People can always offer less, and since I was not desperate for the money I could sit on it a while (no pun intended!).  She had some good points.  So I edited my listing to say $500. And it sold, that day, for $500 bucks. Maybe I should offer her a finders fee??

$500 selling price
-$129 in supplies
= $371 profit

Are you kidding me?!?!  I am super excited to be sticking that money right back into my "house fun money" Dave Ramsey envelope!  Maybe I will pick up these gorgeous broken glass looking lamps from Target I have been eyeballing for weeks for our bedroom makeover!

My table was featured at The Dedicated House and Crafts a la mode!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

My new white coat

I knew from the start that I would paint the table base and benches white.  Although this set is not quite "farm house" -ish, its close.  I was thinking something like this Pottery Barn table which sells for way over a grand!

I am going to use just basic off the shelf white high gloss paint.  The high gloss will give it great wipe-ability and with the darker stain top and bright fabric .. well its going to be gorgeous!

I gathered my supplies and headed outside on a beautiful 75 degree day!

I read lots and lots of tips on painting wooden furniture, I loved this one from Centsational Girl. So I followed it as best as I could!

You can tell here that there used to be a corner piece to this bench. 

Since I was going to paint it white I just used wood filler to fill the holes and painted right over. 

I use Zinsser primer, because everyone swears by it, and because it meant NO MORE SANDING!

I primed the benches and table legs with a roller and brush.

I used a spray can for the chairs. 

I let the paint cure for a while.  2 months actually (hey, life happens!)

Then I painted the bench and table legs glossy white with brush and roller. 

And sprayed the chairs again.

The set looks amazing!  Bright white .. clean .. shiny .. I love it!

Up next, the big reveal! 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Front Door Eye Candy

I have needed a new wreath for my front door for a while now, I was still sporting my spring one. 

I have seen several of these cute burlap bubble wreaths popping up all over blog land recently and thought maybe they would be perfect for these last few weeks of summer and right into fall.

I followed directions I found here 

Except that I am even cheaper a better shopper then Allison and I bought my burlap at Walmart for $3.00 bucks a yard. 

1 yard of burlap $2.97 at Walmart
Pins $2.97 
Wreath $2.39 on sale
Craft paint $.33 on sale
Wooden Cross $1.00
Flowers $4.19 on sale
Cat Tails $4.19 on sale
Total $18.00 bucks!

I cut a ton of squares that were about 4x4 .. I did not measure.  I used all 72 squares that I cut.

Pinch 2 ends together

Then bring in the other two ends

Then pin it to the wreath.  You want to make sure you buy pins with a large head or the burlap just slips out!

I bought tiny pins .. I ended up twisting the pin in the burlap to help them stay!

It took about 2 hours to pin them all on. 

Then I took the cat tails and pinned 3 sets with grass on.  After I liked the placement I just smothered the stems in hot glue.

I ran my finger nails down a new pieces of grass to make them curly.

Then I tore apart the stem of flowers and just glued some here and there and added some of the leaves.

After it was finished I simply glued in this pretty wooden cross I found for just a buck!  Its painted robins egg  blue.  I loved the sweet pop of color .. AND .. I am thinking of painting my front door blue!  I live in a ... take a guess .. BRICK house and think a pretty blue/teal/aqua ish door would be awesome!

Then I simply hung it on a nail already on my door!  I love that there are strings and seams in the burlap showing too .. sort of rustic .. looks used and not brand new. 


My girlfriend and I did our wreaths together .. I wanted to share hers too!

Whats hanging on your front door??

Monday, August 12, 2013

Easy Vinyl Sign

Its wedding season!  Yeah!!

I love a good wedding .. but I don't get to go to many, most of my friends are married already! 

In just 2 short weeks my sweet friend Jen is getting married!  She was a brides maid in my wedding and I can't wait to see her get married and live happily ever after this crazy little thing called love. 

I have always loved the verse in Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12 " Two are better than one, because they have good return for their labor.  If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.  Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.  But how can one keep warm alone?  Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

Being that my family and I are all born again believers marriage is very important to us .. and living our faith in marriage is huge!  One of the things I love about this verse is the last line "a cord of three strands is not quickly broken"  Notice it says 3?  I believe marriage takes 3, me, my husband and God. 

I wanted Jen and Jay to have this verse to hang on to.  Having been married just 6 short years I know what a rough/amazing road marriage is!

I picked up this wooden shape at Hob Lob on sale 40% off for just $1.79 (oh, Jen.. this is the part you stop reading.. no fair knowing how much your priceless gift really cost!)

After a few quick coats of a white spray paint it was ready to go!

I used my eClips to cut out the vinyl wording.  Using their eCal software I created this file. 

Then I simply cut it out in black vinyl which I already owned.  I removed all but the vinyl I wanted and grabbed a sheet of transfer paper.  Ok I lied, its not transfer paper, its contact paper from the dollar store!  Way cheaper and works just as well!

You lay out your contact paper sticky side down and make sure you rub really well and attach the vinyl. 

Once you peel the contact paper back up you should have your vinyl stuck to it, sticky side expose and be ready to stick it to your wood.  Stick it down .. give it another good rub .. peel it back and admire your work!! 

Your easy vinyl sign is done!  I attached 2 command strips to the back for easy hanging.  I also wrote out the rest of the verse and signed the back for sentimental reasons. 

Since I already owned the vinyl and spray paint this project cost less then $2.00.  (Please don't think I am cheap .. there was plenty of budget left to fork over some cash to the love birds .. its what they really wanted anyway!) 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Budget friendly back to school clothes for Middle School

One thing I like to think about when shopping is the "cost per wear" or CPW.  Meaning, if I pay 100 bucks for an outfit that I wear once, well my CPW is 100 bucks.  But if I spend that same 100 bucks on some jeans and a tee that I can wear, say 10 times, my CPW drops to 10.00 bucks!  Lets assume my daughters each wear an outfit 10 times (that's every 2 weeks for 6 months, give or take) I will show you the cost of the outfit and the CPW for it, the lower the cost, the better value on my clothing!

So what did I buy for my $161.98??  Here are 12 of my daughters favorite outfits!  (Her sister is away at camp this week or she would share her favs too!)

Old Navy Boot Cut Jeans $1.50
Old Navy Tee $1.00
CPW .$.25

Same Old Navy Jeans $1.50
Ralph Lauren (!!) sweater $1.00
CPW .$.25

Same Old Navy Jeans $1.50
B Wear layered shirt $.87 cents
CPW .$.23

Same Old Navy Jeans $1.50
H&M Top (!!) $1.00
CPW: $.25

Justice Jeans $1.00
Circo Top $1.00
CPW: $.10

Target tank $.50
Cherokee Skirt $1.00
CPW: $.15

Lands' End dress $1.50
CPW: $.15

GAP Kids shirt $.87
LL Bean skirt $1.00
CPW: $.18

Shes already called dibs on this as her first day of school outfit!
Justice top and jeans $1.50 each
CPW: $.30

Gap Jeans $1.00
Temped Girl shirt $1.00
CPW: $ .20

Circo top and leggings $.50 each
CPW: $ .10

Forever 21 tank $1.00
Circo shorts $1.00
CPW: $.20

The best part .. she picked out each of these outfits!  So I know she will wear them!  

Shes happy, I'm  happy. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

School Clothes on a budget!

Its that time of year again .. the time when our nation as an average spends $688 bucks PER child PER year on school clothing!  Really? That is outrageous in my opinion .. maybe because its way out of our budget as a family .... maybe because honestly its a bit much .. excessive actually.  But I guess .. if you have it, spend it.

We have 5 children and this fall I will have 4 in school.  7th grade, 6th grade, Kindergarten and PreK.  I will admit Kindergarten and PreK  ... not a lot of shopping will happen for those two - they have clothing, it looks nice .. done.

My older girls need cloths ... and cute ones to boot.  Typically I am the mom who would say "this is what you have, wear it" but I would rather pay for the clothes they want now then pay for therapy in a few years because I forced them to wear sweaters all winter.

So from now until September I am on a mission to fill their closet with something in style, fashionable, modest, cute and CHEAP. 

My goal this year is to spent just $200 bucks, not counting shoes on my two middle school girls .. $200 bucks total.  Not each.  It works out good that they both wear the same size .. but it will still be a challenge! 

School clothes shopping on a budget is a long process.  I cant just head to the mall and do it all in one day.  But what I can do is hit all the summer sales at my favorite consignment sales, hunt yard sales and visit Goodwill each Monday. 

My first stop was Once Upon A Child.  They were holding a clearance sale and after 6pm everything marked with a red line was 75% off!
I spent just $36.28 and saved $187.99 off their marked prices!

A few weeks later I stopped at a VIP sale at one of my favorite consignment shops! Shes on Facebook and once a year the first 10 to comment get to come shop her $1.00 sale a day early!  This is the 2nd year I have made it to this preview sale!  Remember everything I bought was just a buck!  I will list her selling price to see how much I saved!
In the end I paid just $27.78 including tax!
Forget retail .. even if I had paid her prices it would have cost me $384.44!  A savings of 84%!!

For 4 weeks straight we stopped by Goodwill on Monday Mornings.  In NY our Goodwill's have a points program, each dollar spent is 1 point, 100 points is $5.00 your next trip.  Monday's are double points!
Each week we stopped at Goodwill I only bought the color tag that was 50% off.  My daughters size are normally $3.00 each so I bought them on sale for $1.50 a piece plus tax. I ended up spending $97.84 at Goodwill over the course of 4 weeks. Even if each item retails for $5.00 I would have spent $300.00 at Goodwill (and I am pretty sure $5.00 is a low-ball estimate!)

In the end here is what I ended up with:

12 skirts
8 dresses
13 jeans
10 other pants
7 leggings
9 long sleeved shirts
27 short sleeved shirts
5 hoodies
4 shorts

95 items! (average price of $1.70 each)

I spent $161.90 and saved at least $872.43 that's 82%

I think we are done!  Both girls have at least a weeks worth of outfits before I have to do laundry again!  Good enough for me!  They also still a lot from last year that still fits!  In a few weeks I plan on showing you how I change over closets and weed out what needs to be donated!

Click Here to see a few of the outfits we put together!