DIY Nursery Closet Dividers

Hey everyone! I hope your hump day is going well. I got up early to get my workout in and then headed to my nanny fam’s house to pick up the girls and drop them off at their summer camps. I have had the day to myself so I enjoyed some sun by the pool, ate a yummy lunch, and I am working on gathering freezer meal recipes to prep for the baby’s arrival in a couple of months! Things are gearing up. It’s all so exciting!

Since our new townhome won’t be finished until October, I haven’t had the opportunity to nest, so I’m making due with mapping things out, doing a few crafts, and planning what the nursery will be like once we move in. Hopefully we will get to move in and set everything up before baby girl makes her grand entrance, but we will see!

One of the crafts I finished recently were some closet dividers so I can easily organize her clothes that will span from newborn to one year.

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I got the idea from this blog and set out to buy my supplies. I was able to find everything at home, the Dollar Tree, and the dollar spot at Target. I spent a total of $3 on this project.

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Supplies Needed:
– cardboard box (cereal boxes work great!)
– decorative tape (like washi – found this at Target)
– scrapbooking paper or paper stickers
– plain white printer paper for labeling
– markers or pencils for labeling
– something round (like a bowl & spice bottle) to trace your circles

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The first step was to cut the cereal box into flat panels and cover it with the paper. My paper was a sticker on the backside, so I did not need glue. If you use scrapbooking paper, you will need to find a way to secure your paper to the box.

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Once my box was covered, I flipped it to the backside to trace the cirlces I would need to cut out. I used a Pyrex bowl for the larger circle and a cinnamon spice shaker for the smaller one.

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Next I cut along the lines and flipped the cardboard over to the paper-covered side. I picked a spot in the center of the circle to cut vertically for placing on the closet hanging rod.

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I cut some small strips of washi tape next and made a base for where my label would go. I then cut a small piece of the printer paper and labeled it the correct size. I secured the paper onto the washi tape using more washi tape, and voila! It was done!

I repeated the process 3 more times to make a total of 4 dividers. One tip I took from the blogger that posted the original idea was to tape a coin on the backside of the dividers by the vertical slit so they are weighed down properly and won’t spin around the rod. I ended up taping 2 pennies on the backside of each divider. I tested it out afterward and the pennies do the trick!

I’m so excited to get into our house and get the baby’s room all set up, but our closing date is the day before my due date. I’m not betting on her coming early, so I’m hopeful that she will leave us enough time to get everything ready. 🙂 Babies can’t read calendars, though. Ha!

 

Have a great day, friends! See you with a weekly update post soon!

::Katie

 

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Fairy Lights Canopy

Happy Monday, friends! Wherever this post finds you I hope you are well…as well as your budgets! We are halfway through the month so stay strong until the end.

I recently completed a cheap bedroom project that I wanted to share with you. Many of you may live in apartments and are limited on space. We are in that situation ourselves. Our 2 bedroom apartment seems to shrink a little bit more the longer we live here. Nate’s music gear has taken over our bedroom on multiple occasions (especially when we have guests staying in the music/spare room) and we are forced to use every bit of storage space we can find.

When things are back to normal in the apartment, we still have some overflow. We set our bed up so there is a corner pocket behind our headboard which is currently storing boxes of Christmas decor. Our headboard is short and the pile behind it was growing large enough that it was visible when you walked in the room so I needed to find a simple solution to hide the eyesore.

Off to Pinterest I went and got some inspiration for simple canopies that I could do in an apartment home. I tweaked a few ideas to make into my own.

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I needed the following to make what you see above:
– wooden dowels ($.40 @ Michael’s)
– thumbtacks (on hand)
– sheer curtains ($8 on Amazon)
– white fairy lights ($5 on Amazon)

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It was a fairly cheap project and once all my materials were gathered I went to work! Firstly, sliding the curtains onto the 2 wooden dowels I picked up at Michael’s. Next I headed into the bedroom to fasten the curtains & dowels to the ceiling behind the headboard so the curtains could flow down to cover the boxes in the corner. I pushed the tacks through the curtains and straight into the ceiling. I suppose you could skip the dowels if you really wanted to, but they are good support for the curtains and enable you to adjust them how you like.

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The next thing I did was hang the fairy lights behind the curtain. I did a zig-zag pattern using tacks to fasten the lights to the wall behind the curtains.

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When all was said and done, it looked pretty nice. In retrospect, I probably should have done some measuring to make sure everything was even, but sometimes you just don’t have the time or energy for that! Also, I think I may add another string of lights behind the curtains so that the zig-zag pattern is less noticeable and the lights are more dreamy and star-like. But overall, it was a quick & fun project that turned out well! And now I don’t have to look at those hideous boxes behind the bed. 🙂

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Let me know if you have any questions about this project! I’m always happy to hear from you and answer any inquiries. Have a wonderful day!

– Katie

6 Weeks to Christmas!

Friends! How are you? We’re doing pretty good on this end of things. Busy but sticking to our budget and saving away! We had a fun weekend. Nate had a show this weekend with his band Afterlife Parade and it was completely awesome. I’m so glad he has the opportunity to be creative and live out his dreams as a musician.

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This Friday marks 6 weeks until Christmas. I can’t even…6 weeks?! It’s crazy. Which brings me to the Christmas gift budget. Hopefully you have one set up for this year. If not, now is the time to start! If you haven’t set aside a Christmas budget, try to work in some saving for the rest of this month and for December. I’ve heard it said so many times, “Christmas is not an emergency; it comes the same time every year,” which means no going in debt for Christmas expenses. So go ahead and set aside some cash now.

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If you’re struggling to meet the budget, you can find some easy DIY gift ideas here! Many families also opt for doing gift exchanges instead of everyone having to buy a gift for every single person. It helps to cut down on over-spending and, honestly, do our loved ones really need all the gifts we would give them? Tradition has its place, but when your budgets are hurting because of a holiday, I’d recommend keeping it simple. As you can see below, 4 aunts & uncles buying gifts for 10 kids can quickly get overwhelming!

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Once you have your gift list figured out and the amount you can spend per gift, it’s time to shop (the fun part)! Try to be as mindful of sales going on in the store and online as possible. Amazon is one of my holiday store favorites. Black Friday is, of course, a huge sales day, but be smart about your purchases. I, personally, do not think Black Friday is worth it, but some of you do and that is perfectly fine! Good luck to you if you’re braving the lines this year. 🙂

I think the most important thing to remember through this time of year is that it’s all about LOVE. Gifts are great, food is great, decorations are fun, but it’s all in vain if we forget to live our lives rooted in love. Spending time with the people we love should be one of our main goals this holiday season.

What are some other ways you look to save during the holidays? What gift-giving traditions do your family or friends have that are budget-friendly?

See you guys next week!

“Home Sweet Home” is Near!

Can you believe it is NOVEMBER? My heart is both happy and sad that another year is nearly in the books. But 2016 is going to hold some huge stuff for Nate & I so we are excited to keep moving forward.

I wrote an update post back in April that included an announcement of our most recent major purchase; a Mazda CX-7 which we are currently making payments on. We decided that we would continue to make our minimum payments due each month and instead of using all of our overhead to go toward the car, it would go towards saving for a down payment on a house.

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Nashville’s housing market is RIDICULOUS right now. There are people coming to Nashville in droves and houses are selling like hotcakes. The average listing price here is just above $423,000. The median sale price of a home is close to $230,000 and it keeps rising (read more here). So, needless to say, these things were a big factor in our decision to go ahead and save for the house instead of paying off the car. If we wait too much longer we will be forced to move 30-45 minutes out of the city, which is an idea we aren’t really fond of right now.

So back to saving…our goal is to have at least a 10% down payment plus 5% of the house price saved for closing costs. This is what many financial advisors recommend preparing so that is our goal. As things stand right now, we should meet our goal by March or April 2016! It’s such an exciting prospect that we could be searching for our “home sweet home” in just a few more months!

If anyone has any home-buying advice for us, please feel free to leave a comment! We’d love to hear from experienced home buyers. What kinds of features do you feel are a must-have in a home? For us, we really want a 2 car garage, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, central heating/air, and an updated kitchen.

15 Valentine’s Day Dates [on the cheap!]

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Valentine’s Day is coming up quick! Have you and your honey planned a date yet? Nate and I like to keep a simple tradition we started when we had our first Valentine’s Day together. When we moved to Nashville we were extremely poor, so on Valentine’s Day we splurged a bit and bought a Little Caesar’s $5 pizza and ate it by candlelight. Every year since then, we’ve bought a Little Caesar’s pizza and enjoyed it together, remembering that first year in Nashville that was kind of a difficult one that we conquered together.

If you haven’t planned your day yet, I’ve come up with a little list of some fun date ideas that are romantic, fun, and don’t cost much at all. Some of them are completely free!

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+ take a walk in a park together that you’ve never been to before
+ make a blanket fort and watch a movie inside
+ cook a nice dinner at home and light some candles
+ plan your dream vacation together
+ an old classic: breakfast in bed!
+ take a picnic lunch to a park
+ star gaze with a bottle of wine
+ if you have a projector, set up a backyard movie night
+ board game night
+ chocolate fondue & fruit
+ move the furniture and set up a dance floor. Add some lights for a nice romantic glow
+ take a hot bubble bath together 🙂
+ gather some firewood and build a bonfire in the backyard
+ tour a brewery together and taste some craft beer
+ create a bucket list together

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There are tons more ideas to come up with. And Pinterest has a ton of ideas as well. If you need some other ideas, I’d recommend visiting The Dating Divas website. I hope your day I’d memorable and special, no matter what you do.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Dead Battery: A Real Life Budget Story

Hello everyone! I hope your Saturday is going fabulously well and you’re finding rest if you have the day off. If you’re working, I’m sorry. 🙂

It’s a gorgeous, sunny day in Nashville! Earlier this week it was incredibly cold and the temperature dipped down to sub-freezing temps. When we woke up on Thursday around 6:30 it was only 4 degrees out! That is mighty cold for living here.

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I went about my morning routine and prepped myself to have to step outside and be on my way to work. I got into our car and tried to start it up, but all I got was some clicking. No engine turning over at all. Not even trying!

You may be able to guess…the cold killed our car battery. So Nathan drove me to work in his little Geo Metro until we could get the chance to try jumping the car. The first night we tried jumping the car, we didn’t let it charge long enough and it still wouldn’t start. So we thought there may be a bigger issue going on. I enlisted my dad and my aunt’s advise to help us diagnose the issue. They both said to try jumping it again; it’s probably the battery.

So Friday night we got home from work and jumped the car a second time. We let it charge for about 20 minutes this time. When I tried to start the car, it finally did. Yay! Victory! My aunt (who used to be a mechanic) advised driving to get a new battery…pronto!

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I drove to Auto Zone where they do free battery testing and, if need be, will help you replace the battery in your car with a new one. They will install it and everything. I had them test the battery and sure enough, it was no good anymore. So we bought a new one and had them install it for us.

I tell you this story because this kind of unexpected situation is exactly the type that illustrates the importance of having a budget. We were able to quickly take care of the issue and pay for it to be fixed without breaking the bank, because we have a “car repair/tire” fund that was ready and waiting when the need arose.

We try to save about $75 per month for car repairs and tires. It’s not much, but over time that amount really adds up. If you ever need it, the money is there. It is a weight that can be lifted off your shoulders just by putting a few dollars away each month.

Do you have a story about a time your budget got you out of pinch? Do you have a story where you wished you’d had a budget and it inspired you to create one? Please share! 

Financial Goals for 2015

Happy second day of 2015! I hope your Friday is going well.

It’s time to think about the upcoming year and what some realistic goals are for your family and finances. Maybe you want to save up for a vacation. Maybe you want to pay off some debt. Whatever the goal, remember your budget is there to help you.

If you don’t yet have a budget in place and don’t know where to begin, there are plenty of resources you can use (for free) that will help you put one in place. A great one to help you get started is found here on Dave Ramsey’s site. It helps show you the approximate percentage of your take home pay you should spend in the major budget categories.

Some other free budget tools can be found on the following sites:

Mint.com budgeting tool
Suze Orman’s expense tracker tool
Dave Ramsey’s detailed budget forms (printable)

Once you have your budget in place you can begin setting some financial goals. Nate and I revamped our budget just a bit when he got his new job in October. We decided we’d continue living modestly and start putting all of our overhead toward debt. Some of our financial goals for this year are…

1.) Pay off car loan by March
2.) Pay off school debt by May

At this point, if all goes according to plan, we will be debt-free! Which opens up the opportunity for the next goals…

3.) Buy Nate a gently-used car 🙂
4.) Save, save, save our overhead to build up savings/emergency fund.

This is our year to finally finish up our debt and get ready for the next steps in our financial life. We hope to be ready to purchase a house by early 2016.

What are some of the financial goals you have set for this year?