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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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!

Homemade Tortillas

It’s tortilla day in the Hood House and I am very excited about it…

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When Nate & I were headed into that period of time where we needed to be a bit more frugal, I learned to make a few staple items from scratch. Tortillas are something we go through quickly, and buying them can be pretty pricey. So I searched for (and tried) a few different recipes and found one I like. It’s simple and tastes so much better than the store-bought variety. If you’ve never made your own tortillas, I strongly recommend trying it!

Here’s the recipe I’ve found that I like best:

3 cups flour
1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/3 c canola oil
1 cup hot water

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add in the oil next and use your hand to mix. Combine until the mixture is crumbly. Next, add in the hot water. Knead the dough into a ball. Cover the bowl with a wet paper towel and let rest 30 minutes.

When the dough is done resting, divide it into 12 equal balls. I like to put them back in the bowl and cover them with the wet towel again.

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Then it’s time to flour your flat surface. You should also turn on your stovetop and heat your skillet over medium- high heat.

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Take a ball of dough and roll it out in as round of a shape as possible. Mine are often rectangular….

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Once rolled out, place in the skillet and cook for one minute.

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Flip the tortillas over and cook 30 seconds more.

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Repeat the rolling & cooking process 12 times. At the end, you’ll have a nice warm stack of tasty tortillas! You can store them in the freezer if you wish to make them last awhile. I usually store mine in an airtight plastic zip bag and keep them at room temp for a week. They’re always polished off by the weekend. Then it’s time to make another batch!

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What staple foods do you make at home?

Weekend Recap

Hello, friends! Why is it that the weekends fly by so quickly?

I spent most of my time Saturday morning deep-cleaning our apartment. It. Was. Gross. I want to vow to never let it get that out of control again, but I will likely break that vow. So…moving on. 🙂

In the midst of my cleaning I found a water leak that caused a puddle on our carpet outside our main bathroom, so we will be putting in an order to get that fixed.

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As you can see, it’s rather gross under our sink right now. There are some definite mold & rot issues going on. We are renewing our lease in about 2 months so I’m thinking part of the deal will need to be getting that sink unit replaced. Mold, rot, & water leaks are bad news bears.

The rest of Saturday was spent cooking and enjoying my clean house. Isn’t it such an accomplishing feeling to sit down after cleaning EVERYthing and relax?? I made a pot of coffee and propped up my feet!

Sunday morning was a workout session and then volunteering with the kids at church. I work with the 2 year olds and they always provide plenty of entertainment. We learned about Jonah and watched some Veggie Tales while eating whale crackers!

That afternoon, my friend Jaye and I took a quick trip to Michael’s for an art supply haul. I picked up a few things that I will need for some fun little holiday & household projects. Behold the swag…

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…alphabet stickers, 2 colorful Sharpies, a paintbrush, and 2 bottles of chalkboard paint. I got $16 worth of supplies for $12! Coupons, my friends. Michael’s always has great coupons every time I’ve made a visit there. I used the coupons available through the Michael’s app on my phone and I was able to get 50% off any regularly priced item and 40% off a brand of stickers that I bought. I felt really good about my purchase. Stay tuned for TTB thrifty crafts!

Sunday night Nate and I headed out to Chuy’s to celebrate our good friend Zach’s birthday. It was a fun time with awesome friends. Lots of beer, margaritas, chips & salsa, and deeeelicious cupcakes from Gigi’s Cupcakes. I was hyped up on waaaay too much sugar. Needless to say, I crashed pretty hard.

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This morning we woke up to SNOW!! Nashville doesn’t get much snow in the winter and when it does snow, all hell seems to break loose. Today was [surprisingly] not like that. The roads were fine on the way to work and the snow looked beautiful as it quietly fell. It made me want to put Christmas music on, but I will wait until after Thanksgiving.

Some Nashville snow shots for you…

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It was melty and slushy but it was pretty while it lasted. We are heading up to Michigan [where I’m from] for Thanksgiving on Wednesday. I’m kind of hoping there is a bunch on the ground so I can enjoy a bit of winter early… 🙂

Happy Monday! See you later this week.

Meal Planning on a Budget

Now that you know the basics of planning your meals and have some tools to do so, let’s talk about the budget part of shopping. Each budget is different. I am a modest Dave Ramsey fan (I haven’t drank all the kool-aid in my cup yet, just about half 😉 ) and Dave recommends setting aside 5% to 15% of your monthly budget for food, including eating out. I like to maximize our percentage and cook as many meals as possible at home, including taking lunches to work.

Eating out can be one of the biggest budget drainers you will ever know, hands down. But that is why we are exploring this. If you plan to eat all of your meals at home except 2 or 3 a week, you can get a week’s worth of groceries for the same price as 2 nice meals out. Perspective much? I think yes…not to mention how much better for you a home-cooked meal is. Yum!

You could have all of this (about $80 in groceries, some are not pictured)….

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Ooooor this… About $10. It looks great and it was tasty. But mulitply it by a spouse and you’ve got $20. Plus tip. So, $25. $27 if you’re feeling generous… 🙂

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There’s just not much of a way around it. Eating at home is just better. So what can you do to make sure you stay within your budget whenever you venture out to the store?

Number one… MAKE A LIST! I know you’ve probably heard it a thousand times. But the key to the list is sticking to it. Make the list, check it twice…so you can make sure you’re not naughty, but nice! It’s not nice to blow your budget on things you don’t need. So be good and only buy the things you set out to get.

Number two…ties into number one. Don’t go to the store hungry. I’ve done it and ended up buying a LOT of things I didn’t need because my stomach was doing the shopping instead of my head. So eat something! And do it before you walk into the store everything you see looks glorious and you end up buying it all!

Number three…use a calculator to keep track of how much you’re spending. I remember when I was a kid and some of the grocery carts at the store had calculators built onto them. I thought it was the dumbest thing ever. How naive I was. Most of us have cell phones and those cell phones have calculators built in, so you have no excuse to not do this. The prices are funky with our tax not being included and such, so I like to round up. Better to be under budget than over. For example, if an item is $2.29, I’ll go ahead and add it in as a $3 item. At the end of your list, if you’re over, it’s time to take a look at your cart and see what you can put back. If you honestly can’t do without the item, keep it there, but remember next week’s shopping budget will need to be a little less.

Number four…maximize the meals you prepare. Waste nothing. Do your best to use up all the leftovers. They make for fantastic lunches the next day at work. They also work well on lazy weekends when you don’t feel like cooking. Get creative. Search Pinterest for a good idea on how to use up the beans or the fajita filling. Most items go well on a salad, so there’s an idea. 😉

Time for me to run. Instead of eating out tonight, we are cooking up some tasty fall chili and then heading out to see Interstellar. Have a good Saturday evening, friends!

Do you have any tips or tricks for saving money at the store? Feel free to share with the class!