Category Archives: All Things Thrifty

The Beginning. Our Classroom 2013-2014

I was SO excited when we moved into our current home to make this huge garage a room. Music lessons, school, sleepovers, parties….I was giddy really. HUGE project and not much funds to do it. Challenge accepted.

About 60% in to completion and we are now moving to Missouri. I think somewhere inside myself I may have had a tantrum that I could never finish this room, but really what’s a girl to do? Silver lining? Every single home I have looked at in Missouri has big fat giant basements, so lets just say I am 60% ahead of the game when I get there and call it a day. I have a great start and am excited to finish it.

Proverbs 16:9.

So, should I point out what I was going to do? Hmmm, I think I shall not for the sake of potentially sounding like a whiner. It’ll be like a where’s waldo game blog post. Find the unfinished projects, the empty spots, the burned out lightbulb, the calendars dated October when it is November, etc. o.k.? o.k.? I commit to not talk about how I was going to decorate the chalkboards cutely, get fresh flowers, wait for correct lighting, vacuum, and all of the other things swirling in my head to make these pictures cute. I won’t do it. I won’t, I tell you. ūüėČ So, enough chatting. Let us go on a photo tour…..focus on the beginnings and the fabulous deals God gave me in this project because there was alot.

I had a VERY clean and finished walls with a bay window to begin with. A huge step in the right direction at the starting line.



moving day…one of the last times the big garage door would be opened.


fabulous school room red front door? yes please.

first step, carpet! a huge change already.



vintage theatre seating ($20), school desk($40), and zebra rugs($10) from Craig’s.



This room is comfy cozy, I tell ya. We LOVE it! It is big enough we can all be in here during the day on not be totally on top of each other. It is my favorite space we have had so far in our homeschool days.



I am a firm believer in class pets. If you can kinda tell there hanging in the window is a parrot. She is from Ikea. She received a coat of gold spray paint upon purchase and she is super well behaved.


I used tissue pom pons to hide the garage door opener. Long lengths of material from a fabric outlet, trimmed out with fabulous tassels and feathers and such from Hobby Lobby.


o.k. the story on this art box. We had a fridge that we didn’t want to part with just yet and didn’t want to look at it either, so I came up with the idea to make a box for chalk boards and magnet walls and hide the fridge inside. I asked my neighbor and look what he did? Oh yeah, did it all. So, much better than what was in my head. So fun, right? We use it all the time.

He’s a superhero type of guy.


Big bulb Christmas lights, maps, white boards, and posters line the wood wall. The wood wall is actually covering the garage door, which is still functional but hidden because we want to pretend we are not in a garage.


I purchase 4 4×8 panels from Lowe’s. They were already this color and were kinda a splurge, but an important one. $160 for an 8 foot tall and 16 foot wide distraction.


Files for each student, calendars, president charts, and spelling lists…


The shell chandelier was on clearance 80 percent off at Pier One. It plugs nicely into the ceiling where a plug was present for the garage door. I purchased a remote control for $15 at Lowes so we can turn it on and off without climbing a ladder. I should have purchased a clapper because that would have been more fun. #claponclapofftheclapper

This cutesy white shelf reminded me of one in the fabulous Ms Amy’s darling room and I picked it up off of Craigs for $50. I filled it with some fun little trinkets including that fabulous vintage camera that Cara surprised me with when I started my photography business.




Cutest clock in the world? yup. $20 at Ikea. $10 for the sticker and $10 for the actual clock. Those evil genius’ did it again.

The chicken wire made its way back in to this room. Floor to ceiling to hold lots of art projects and important things.


I am mildly obsessed with black and white stripes and Good Will pictures for as low as .49 cents.



Red couch? Craigs came through again. $50. In perfect shape.




true antique typewriters, little girl doodles, and chalkboard painted lockers for the win.


Be Still and know that I am God.

It was the only vinyl that I could find to fit in this space. God sure knew that I would need to hear that a lot this year.

Happy Homeschooling…

Pin It

Little Man


I have always wondered who decides what is going to be popular. Let’s take mustaches for instance. Are there people that sit in board rooms across America and go, “yeah, mustaches. Let’s make THAT trendy this year.” I mean, really? If there is, I want that job…bad.


Mustaches, no offense men, are kinda hideous all by themselves. BUT, I go with it. BECAUSE Little man. Oh, little man. Those two little words make my heart pitter patter. So ridiculously cute, right?

So a Little Man Baby Shower was born. I had the opportunity to throw a shindig for my girl, Moni.


While I would enjoy throwing David Tutera style parties, budget does absolutely not allow. One way I try to save cost is to pick something with a color that comes in basics. For example, white cups. Super cheap because they are well, white. Add some black mustache stickers from the mexican fiesta party line and you have a dang cute cup for not much dinero. Then repeat on some balloons because you saw that idea on Pinterest and you are set. Pick just one expensive piece from the expensive party line, like the plates,  and you get just as much bang for way more buck.


Grandma {of our upcoming little man} took care the game. It is so funny that grown women get together and play these games. My kids asked why we do this. “I really don’t know”, I reply. Tasting food in diapers, measuring prego bellys, and all of the other weirdness we do. Then we reward the winners with presents. No shower would be quite complete without it, right? I personally hadn’t see this particular game. Cracked me up. Draw a baby, on a plate, on your head. Complete it with a little man mustache sticker. Look at the concentration. Ha. #gograndma


We had a chocolate fondue party. I emailed a few of the guests before the party to ask if they could help and bring different things to dip. I had them bring the items ahead of time to avoid a potluck feel to our party. Chocolate fountains are temperamental but well worth it when you get them going. You have to do it just right, or they look like this and you might have to video it and send it to the friend you borrowed it from and ask her how to fix it. She will tell you and it will be fine. Don’t panic.


¬†Any potential disaster is worth it because really, who doesn’t like to stand and hold bite size dessert items under dripping chocolate? Best of the night had to be the glazed donut holes. Just regular glazed donut holes from the donut store. Ridiculously good.


*Bake My Day provided these freaking adorable mustache favors. 


I  get the blessing of photographing this sweet baby when he comes and I seriously can not wait. This whole family rocks. They are beautiful inside and out.shower4 Collage

*mom and daughters on the right! Beautiful.

I recently had the opportunity to do a four generation session with them. Go take a peek.


Can not wait to meet you Will. Get here safely little man.

Pin It

Holiday Potpourri

Usually this time of year calls for a day of baking. We pack up the plates full of all of our holiday favorite recipes and deliver them to all of our friends. After all of our efforts for healthy eating around here, that just seemed unnecessary. We still baked but just picked our 2 or 3 favorites instead.

I looked and looked for an alternative and I found it, Holiday Potpourri. I tried out this recipe and my family loves it. It is definitely going to be in our home at the holidays from now on. It’s super easy and can be packaged up in so many cute ways for neighbors, teachers, and friends.

Holiday Potpourri

one whole orange (quartered)

1/2 cup cranberries

1Tbsp whole cloves

3 sticks of cinnamon

dash of nutmeg

Quarter the orange and place all of the ingredients into a pot with some water. Leave on the lowest setting and refill the pot when needed.

The mixture will turn dark but continues to smell ridiculously marvelous. You can use one mix for the entire season.


…come follow me on Instagram! justanightowl


This morning, I took my lovelies out for a little photo session. It was a comedy of errors from start, even before start, to finish. We had wardrobe errors, weather issues, location issues, and some crabbiness, but ho ho ho! A photo is just a moment in time, right?

But look what I snagged of my little monster? Oh, how I love him.

Pin It

Fabulous People

I am not really much of a Halloween girl, despite my love for dressing up in costume on any occasion {especially if a wig is involved}. I don’t really do creepy. I prefer twinkly and sparkly. I find it magical to watch the stores take down the ghosts, goblins, and talking disfigured fake people only to replace them with things that make my baby say “woah, woah, woah”, even if it is a flamingo with a Santa Hat {what up, Target?}. Bottom line is everywhere I look its beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Facebook is all a buzz with the news of the arrival of the red cup and there was snowflakes on my grocery bag this morning. I’m more than pleased.

But back to the goblins, I rarely even get pictures of the actual Halloween night. I managed to remember to snap a few this year. My kids love it, but it definitely is not a favorite holiday of mine. However, next year my mama already found my whole families costumes at the 90% off sale at Target. My costume may inspire me. We shall see.

Speaking of my mama and her sales, my dad travels the grand state of Ca quite extensively for his business and his trusty sidekick is my mama. He frequently has meetings, which leaves my mom with some free time. This has helped develop her into quite the clearance shopping diva. She’s got mad skills. She puts these skills to use and shops all year at 70%-90% off. THEN she and her little elf, aka my dad, turn their garage into a real life toy factory and box up their treasures. 604 children will receive the fruits of their labor of love. So proud of those two. Operation Christmas Child is an amazing ministry. If you haven’t heard about it check it out and consider stashing all year. Do like Bob and Bobbie do. {Yes, my parents actual names, fun huh?}¬†Maybe not 604, but every little bit adds up!

So, in school today we were learning about famous American songs and where they came from. The patriotic ones, such as, Yankee Doodle Dandy. Who knew that 2nd grade history could be so interesting, or that Emma’s Sing A Ma Jig would actually serve a purpose. Yes, my friends, this creepy toy sings Yankee Doodle Dandy. Fabulous, eh? It spared my daughter from one less rendition by her mother and actually made me sound quite fabulous by comparison.

My promised long over due hair cut on my teacher in service day was cancelled due to an emergency on my hair dressers part. I am so excited that tomorrow I have a date with her magical chair. I am feeling festive and no doubt my hair will reflect that when I leave. I am also feeling crafty so Michaels is likely going to suck me in while I am out. It can’t be helped.

While I am gone primping, my husband is taking my four children to the dentist. You know in a marriage you each have things you do? A division of work, if you will. For example, in times of sickness? I take anything that exits from the top end and he takes the bottom. That kind of thing? The dentist is his. I can not deal well with teeth issues. Pulling teeth, wiggling teeth, all of it. It creeps me out. I confess. He’s a champ and steps in every six months. It’s not that I “won’t” or “can’t”. I have taken my five year old ¬†in for oral surgery and we both lived to tell about it. I’m just thinking it’s a good bonding time for daddy and the kids, right?

Every once in a while this mama needs a break and my husband is more than capable of handling the teeth and fabulous enough to do so. My kids are excited for him to take them and the foils are calling my name, so we are good all around.

Have an awesome weekend, my friends! I have one major thing on my agenda…


It’s almost that day!

Pin It


We keep it pretty party simple around here. One guest for each year of life. The theme is usually not what’s popular or in right now because what was popular or in two years ago, is usually on sale for ridiculous cheap prices. This year our party was Hannah Montana. My mom found about a gajillion party necessities for like .10 cents, I kid you not. She gave me a brown grocery bag full of goodies: favors, plates, color your own pillowcases, cups, and I was half expecting to pull out Hannah herself. I mean there really was everything. I think she paid like $10 for the whole bag. Most items were over 90% off.

This, added to the press on nails, make up, and mirror kits she found for like a half a cent earlier on in the year, made for a glam party that was perfectly perfect.

Poor Hannah. Her party theme value is no more. However, we scored. Thanks grandma.

The girls had a great time. They played Just Dance, ate pizza, cake, made pillowcases and had their hair/makeup and nails done by my older daughter and our sweet neighbor friend. It was loud and giggly and chaotic and tiring, exactly how I like it.

I pinned this cake a while ago and was super excited when Emma requested it for her party. It’s adorable and incredibly easy. I will be making it again!

I love birthday cake, birthday blowing out the candles, birthday song sung with no regard for pitch. It’s all fabulous.

Happy Birthday my sweet and quirky Emma Rose.

Have an awesome weekend, my friends.






Pin It

Yabba Dabba Do

I believe there is a spiritual gift of clearance shopping. O.k. maybe not really, but perhaps there should be. Very rarely do I pay full price for anything. There is a sea of coupons, sales, and clearance items ready to be scooped up and made fabulous. Shop the end caps at Target and look for those red stickers!


Stay one year behind. “That was SOOO last year.” My words to live by.

That’s right. It’s cheaper there.

In 2011 my mom was able to pick up some costumes for me at 90% off from good ‘ol Target. My kids just know that they will be what was available. They have never really known much different and it definitely does not make trick or treating less fun because I saved oh about five million dollars by not paying full price for costumes they wear for about 2 hours.

My little guys favorite thing to say is Yabba Dabba. We are trying to teach him to add the do on the end. It seemed only fitting that he be Fred. Plus, Fred cost me $5.00 to make and took less than an hour. It was destiny.

I love dressing up and love costumes. However, living on a frugal cash only budget? Things just gotta go sometimes. It would be so super easy to spend about $150 for the four of my kids to get cute and all. Not to mention costumes for me and my hubby. But why would I when you can score deals like this! These costumes were $2-3 a piece and when you add in the splurge of $5 Fred you bring my grand total up to about $12. I can live with that!

P.S. I posted yesterday at Hip Homeschool Moms. I struggle sometimes with living in the moment and I wrote about it.

P.S.S. According to my phone it looks as if the weather is starting to recognize it is fall. HAL-LE-LU-JAH!


P.S.S.S. My husband falls asleep faster than any human on the planet. Not that I have tested this theory, however, it’s about .0002 of a second. I’m SO jealous.

Enjoy today!



Pin It

School Paper Organization

If you have a child in school, YOU NEED THIS PROJECT. Everyone needs somewhere to store those mounds of adorable projects, papers, and awards.

I found various versions of this project on Pinterest. There is this one and this one.

I love this project and the options out there to make it unbelievable cute are plenty. Here’s the thing, the price tag can get up there quickly. I have four children and needed a super frugal option. I went with price tag and function over cute this time.

Did I JUST type that?

When I took the basics and added these cute labels, it suddenly turned frugal into a vintage chalkboard inspired theme.

The best of both worlds.


The plastic tubs are AWESOME. Boring perhaps? A little. However, they are just $13 for two at Costco and they are very, very, durable. This project needs to last for like at least eighty years, so I need me some durability. You need one box per child.

The green hanging folders were just $5 for a box of 25 at Staples. You need one for each year of school per child. There is hanging file folders of every color in the rainbow and they are C U T E. However, the price tag reflects that. I went with the cheapest ones I could get my hands on.

 The tab folders are a recycled folder from Staples as well. 100 of them for just about $10. You need one for each year of school per child.

I purchased the labels for the front of the files at Staples as well, for about $10. You need one for each file folder.

I purchased the tab file folder labels on clearance at Target for $5.

The black photo corners I purchased at Target for just $3.

Overall total for this project for my four children is about $65. I bought it piece by piece over the last few months.


So, basically the goal of this project is that ALL school memorabilia gets saved in the box. ALL of it.

How do you decide what goes in the box?

1. ALL awards, certificates, and those types of things.

2. Report cards

3. A sample of work from the beginning of the year and from the end.

4. Anything that makes me smile.

Yes, that is my official process. I save up papers for the whole year. Then I sit down and look through them. If it is in category 1-3, it automatically gets saved. If it isn’t, it has to past the smile test. If it makes me smile, it gets saved. If it doesn’t, it goes.

The bottom line is this, YOU CAN’T SAVE EVERYTHING. Too much of anything is never a good thing. So, be ruthless and save the spectacular.

I have tried to do traditional scrapbooking of school projects. I had started a couple of albums for the older kids and let me tell you, it is a hot mess. It just wasn’t easy to look through. I love being able to pick up their crafts and handle them. When trying to shove them all into pocket style photo albums, it became a nightmare. Not too mention there are only so many hours in a day and I have plenty of other stuff I would rather scrapbook. So, I aborted and landed with these. They are MUCH quicker.

Amazing, right? Yay for brilliant ideas. Yay for SUPER EASY. Yay for ORGANIZED. I am dangerously close to breaking out the pom pons, so I will stop now.

One nice little box for each of my lovelies. Even my one year old. In the blink of an eye, he will be in school and well yes, the boxes all need to match, right?

Have a happy weekend!!!

Pin It

Big Spender

I spent $8.23 this weekend.

Friday morning I got up around ten {thank you hubs} and decided to go for a walk. All additional 5 family members and the dog joined me. I passed a garage sale in the neighborhood and found some unbelievable cuteness. {Thankfully my 13 year old was along with his cash in pocket because I left the house with nothing but my phone and some water.}

Janie and Jack shorts {on average about $30}, Children’s Place Jacket, and Sprockets Jacket. I paid $1.50 for the three items which all look brand new.

Janie and Jack overalls with a crab on them? Yes please {average about $45}. Pediped shoes {average about $30}. I paid $.50 and splurged on the shoes at $3.00. Both of these items were definitely unworn.

So, in case you lost track thats about $150 worth of cuteness for just $5.

I’m Giddy.

Ever since Christmas, I have had a wall that has been begging for attention. You see at Christmas, most of the house decor gets traded out for the Christmas decor and nothing ever returns to its prior place. I found a plant and a couple of pictures in the garage in my pile of I can’t get rid of you yet items. Then I swiped three plates out of the pantry and hung them on the wall.

There might be a time when one has too much chicken wire in their home and I am dangerously close. However, there was a roll of extra after my classroom wall of chicken wire, so I stapled a couple of strips on the wall. I took some clothes pins and covered them with scrapbook paper and hung up some pictures.

Next, I hit Lowes where I bought a couple of fence boards for $3.23. The nice young man cut them to size and I brought them home to stain. I now have a huge area to hang whatever fun things I want. Since this space is over my littlest guy’s toy land, family pictures definitely fit the bill. I need to get a couple of other fun things to hang in the mix. Maybe this¬†or this.

A little robbing Peter to pay Paul can get you places.

All in all, I am out $8.23 and I am one happy girl.


Pin It

Baby Wipes

What toddler does not love spending time pulling wipe, by wipe, by wipe, out of the baby wipe container?

Greyson is no different. He will spot, hunt down, and go all kinds of crazy intent on pulling those little suckers out as fast as he can before I catch him.

Thanks to Pinterest and this blog, I have the B E S T Christmas present for my little man.

It cost me $4.76 and took me 10 minutes to make.

Eight pieces of flannel fabric purchased at Joanns, cut into rectangles, and stuffed into an empty wipe container.  Who knew that toddler bliss would come at such an easy price?

If you are a sewing type, then you would have tons of fabric scraps laying around and could do this for free. You could use different textures and patterns. You could even cut thinner strips and knot it together in one longer piece. The possibilities…..

Oh, the fun to be had. Can’t wait to see how he likes it!

Pin It

Greyson’s One Year Monster Party.

Very early on I knew I needed to do a Monster Party for Greyson on his first. Completely Necessary. I also needed it very budget friendly. Join me on a little tour…

First ~balloons. Did you know that Walmart sells polka dot balloons for just $1.50? Also, Party city sells their balloons~ by the balloon~ for just .$.19. Blow ’em up yourself and hang upside down and there is no need for expensive helium. Plus, you can choose which ever colors you actually want instead of buying a million of one color or those bags of assorted. It’s like a balloon buffet, really.

 Pinterest led me to some free monster inspiration from this genius woman. She shared her darling monster coloring sheet. I was able to copy it onto a transparency and armed with a sharpie, an overhead projector and some white paper from Lakeshore Learning (all of which I had on hand), I was able to bust out the monster banner for free.

I also made copies of the original sheet and included a couple of crayons with it in the goodie bag. Monster flyers and sparkly bouncy balls were purchased at the Michaels 70% off toy sale and joined them in a clear cellophane bag, which was given to all the munchkins who helped us celebrate.

Back to the dessert table…I made Greyson his very own monster cake to smoosh and eat. First attempt at cake pops. Those little suckers are not as easy to make as they seem.

I served monster marshmallows ~made with marshmallows, coconut and Wilton chocolate.

There were Monster cupcakes for the guests and

A jar of lollipops that I collected from Staples…completely free!

($3.00 off any purchase coupon and the lollipops were .50 each)

The birthday cake dip from Pinterest quickly upstaged the entire table. It has three ingredients. THREE. It took approximately 46 seconds to make.

Try it. Don’t delay.

* Tip~ always make a DOUBLE BATCH!

Some chocolate covered pretzels, caramel corn mix and pixie sticks were all purchased from Target at the 90% off of Halloween sale.

The 50 napkins,  50 plates, and tablecloth were all purchased from Walmart for just $9. Amazing price difference from the pricey party stores.

I purchased the case of short water bottles for just a few dollars at Costco and wrapped them in aqua duct tape.

Then I purchased a couple of  packs of googley eyes from the Dollar Tree to put on the oranges and the water bottles.

My girls and I created a monster banner from construction paper that I had on hand. Again FREE and they loved helping.

We played Pin the Eyeball on the monster. It was made with left over white paper, scrapbook paper, and duct tape from the water bottles.

The highlight of the party was watching a one year old who was given an entire cake to destroy  eat, at will.

My little guy was quite polite and didn’t get too messy.

This little guy was showered with gifts.

I can not believe a whole year has passed since I met him. It hardly seems possible.

Sometimes words just are not enough. They do not do justice in this case. Not. what. so. ever.

Your family loves you Greyson Michael, SO MUCH.

Happy First Birthday ~my sweet sweet little Boy.

The Girl Creative

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Pin It