WAHM Wednesday: The Geek Bar

There's this little item on the agenda of BlogHer that has me really curious

The Geek Bar

First and foremost...what in the heck is a Geek Bar??

I sort of envision a trendy bar set up of neat gadgets, geared for bloggers and companies. iPhone's, Blackberries, playbooks, Square....all sorts of apps and gadgets that can help us with our blogs, Etsy shops and things of the sort.

Once I looked it up, I began to understand.

The Geek Bar is all about the geeky aspect of blogging.

Wordpress vs. Blogger


Writing labs

Social media platforms


Video editing

Alot of the subjects from last year seem to be covered in the individual seminars this year, so I'm not sure if I'll get alot out of The Geek Bar this summer. There are things that I would like to learn, for sure, but I think I'd rather go to the individual sessions.

*sigh* I really liked the idea of a geeky gadgets bar!

WAHM Wednesday: Podcasting?

Another seminar on Day1 of BlogHer that I'm excited about is the Podcasting 101 seminar.

My husband and his friend, Mike Arsenault, used to podcast about once a week. Usually about sports, reality TV (their recaps of Survivor and The Bachelor were hilarious!) or they would dissect a movie like Dirty Dancing {manly...right?}

I was always too nervous to get the headset on and be a guest on Mike's podcast. I'd usually just holler in the background about who I thought was trashy on The Bachelor or who I loved on Survivor.

The Podcasting 101 seminar at BlogHer has gripped my interest. I'm obviously not afraid to vlog, so why not podcast? What about the microphone intimidates me?

Do I have anything worthy to say?

Will people giggle at my Canadian accent?

What would I even talk about?

I am so excited to sit in a room and hear about Podcasting...why it's important, and how to do it {and do it properly}.

Maybe it'll even get me over my fear of the microphone!

SWH4T$: Disney Movie Club

Another Thursday, another week of awesome money & time saving tips!

Blog Hop Rules

1) Follow your hostesses, Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's, via GFC or BlogLovin'

2) Post our button on your blog for others to follow along

3) Link up a post that helps you save time, money, frustration...your sanity!

Have fun linking up and reading other mama tips!


Disney Movie Club

I've gotten these flyers in the mail for quite a while now, for the Disney Movie Club.  I kinda blew them off at first, but since Jack has become obsessed with Disney Cars, we bought him the DVD and I realized how freaking expensive those things are!  I remember when I was little we had all the Disney VHS tapes and would watch them all the time.  I wanted the same for Jack, but I'm too cheap to pay $29.95 each for DVD/BluRay.

Enter the DMC.  I surveyed all my mommy friends, and my resident Disney expert, Cousin B.  All of them said that it was a good deal, so I signed up.

The details are that you pick out 5 DVDs or BluRays initially.  You can chose to pay $1.99 each for the first initial 5, or if you pay with your credit card, you get them for $1.00 TOTAL.  Then, you agree to purchase 4 DVDs/BluRays over the course of 2 years at the regular price of $19.95 for DVD and $29.95 for BluRay.

You're probably thinking, what is the big deal if you are going to pay full price for 4 movies?  Well, if you do the math...you're saving a whole lot of money!

We have a BluRay player, so we did the BluRay option (plus, most of those come with DVDs with bonus features, so that's even more bang for your buck).  

For our initial 5, we got Dumbo 70th Anniversary Edition, Toy Story w/ bonus DVD, A Bug's Life w/ bonus DVD, Up w/ bonus DVD and Cars 2 w/ bonus DVD.  We opted for the $1.00 option by giving our credit card.

So, since we will end up purchasing at least a total of 4 BluRays including our initial 5 (for a total of 9), we would have paid $269.55 retail price.  However...since we joined the DMC, we will pay only $119.80, a savings of $149.75!!!

PLUS, each DVD/BluRay comes with a Disney Movie Rewards code, which you can enter on their website and redeem the points for prizes like toys, DVDs, apparel, memorabilia and more!  Winnah Winnah!!!

I feel like Disney movies are timeless, and honestly, I would rather put on a movie that he may not be completely 100% interested in right now, as opposed to Dora or Diego which I feel like rots his brain.  And Disney is wholesome, classic, and brings a lot of good memories back for me, so I want to pass those on to my son :)

SWH4T$: DIY Cake Stands

Happy Thursday everyone! Since I know that you're all probably planning out Easter dinner and brunch menu's, I wanted to blog a little DIY project today that you can do super quick and easy to make your dessert table pop...without breaking the bank!

Blog Hop Rules

1) Follow your hostesses, Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's, via GFC or BlogLovin'

2) Post our button on your blog for others to follow along

3) Link up a post that helps you save time, money, frustration...your sanity!

Have fun linking up and reading other mama tips!


DIY Cake Stands

Planning an Easter dinner or brunch? Have a bevvy of desserts to display? This thrifty little DIY will have your table looking fabulous in no time flat, and with little money spent!

White plastic plates or trays from the dollar store
Glass candle sticks or tumblers from the dollar store


Flip over your plate or tray.

Using a permanent adhesive {I used Epoxy because I had it on hand, but I'm sure that you could use hot glue. Just be warned that hot glue won't give you as permanent or strong a bond between the plate and candle stick or tumbler}, smear about a 2" circle on the bottom side of your plate or tray.

If you're using epoxy, make sure that your room is well ventilated and that you're doing it away from children. Heavily toxic and you don't want it getting on your skin either!

Place the candle stick or tumbler on the adhesive. Since I was using tumblers, I put them end to end...flat surfaces will give you the strongest bond and the most stability in your cake stand.

Place a hardcover book or two on the tumbler. The weight will help the bond become good and strong.

Leave the stand to dry for 24 hours.

After it's dry, place cookies, sweets, treats, cakes...whatever you'd like on display for your guests! you could even tie seasonal ribbon around the base to make it more festive!

Link up your thrifty frugal crafty time and money saving ideas today!

WAHM Wednesday: Road to 30

I am so excited to share this with you all

Two of my BlogHer roomies, Mel and Shaun, are spurring one another on to lose 30lbs each by the time we all meet up in NYC For BlogHer.

Pretty amazing, and truly inspiring I think!

When they started bouncing ideas off of me about how to accomplish it, what to make their button look like (which Mel designed, and I think is adorable!) and things of the sort, I quickly volunteered them a reward for all of their hard work.

As a mom, I know how hard it is to work in time for yourself. it's no easy feat, especially when you're wanting to shed weight. It can be a very daunting task...so...

For every pound they lose, they get $1 toward something in my shop. I'm really really really confident that they'll be able to get $30 by BlogHer and that I'll be bringing them goodies to the conference, with a great big congratulatory hug as well.

On the last Wednesday of every month, until August, I'll be catching you up on their progress and chatting about their success!

And it doesn't stop there. I'm going to be doing the challenge with them and be their buddy system, offer support and encouragement wherever I can. Since the weather here has turned positively gorgeous, I'll be going out for a long walk or jog 3 times a week with the jogging stroller. No more evenings at the gym or waiting to accommodate everyone else's schedules. No-sir-ree! It's morning walks/jogs from here on out, with the Bear in tow!

Pretty amazing, right? Follow along, and give Mel and Shaun your support as they work towards a healthier-mama!

*interested in jumping on the Sponsorship train for #Roadto30?? Click Mel and Shaun's names above to be taken to their blogs

SWH4T$: If it's Free, it's for Me!

Welcome back to SWH4T$ - a blog hop for money {and time} saving mama bloggers!

We just have three very simple guidelines!

1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC

2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money and time, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".

3.) Post our button on your post

Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!


If it's Free, it's for Me!

Since funds are tight at the Shmizz household, we've been tapping into a lot of free local resources for things to do on the weekend with Jack. It's amazing what you can find for free in your neighborhood if you just look around a little harder :)


Our library haul from last week

This might seem like a no-brainer to some, but for us, it was something new. We started bringing Jack to the library every weekend to get some new books, videos to watch, CDs to listen to. What's nice about the library is that you can have a constantly revolving collection of books at your house, so he never gets bored. Or, for that matter, when you are sick of reading Tip Tip, Dig Dig for the 4,568,752nd time, you can just bring it back and get something different :) Most libraries will also have a free story-time or sing-a-long that you can join in on, which is great for socializing and toddler stimulation.


At the playground last weekend with Auntie Kellie

Moms of toddler boys know that burning energy is essential to having a happy toddler. Sure, girls can be like this too, but we all know that boys are a little crazy at times and need to let loose. Now that the weather is starting to get warmer, we are constantly looking for nice playgrounds to check out. The best are ones that are fenced in, and have smaller structures that are good for smaller toddlers. Not sure where the playgrounds are in your area? Check out this website to find them! They also have a mobile app for both iPhone and Android platforms, so if you get to a playground and the elementary school bullies are being mean to your child, or the place is over-run with nannies on their phones texting and not watching their charges, you can always move on to a new park...this may or may not be coming from personal experience...


Is your kid getting sick of their toys? Instead of buying new ones, have a playdate and go over a little friend's house and play with their toys! Its a win-win situation for you, because you can hang out with the mom/dad and the kiddos can play and amuse themselves. Another bonus, if you have a playdate in the morning, kids get tired, take awesome naps and life is good for all :)

The Dollar Store

Ok, so this isn't exactly free, but its about as close as you can get these days. Toys, snacks, crafting supplies, you name it, they probably have it. I even got all the supplies for Jack's birthday party goodie bags for 10 kids for $60 (another post for another week!). Glow sticks in the bathtub, coloring books, balloons, shovel & pail, Matchbox cars, Playdough. Tell yourself that you are going to skip getting coffee at Dunkin/Starbucks that week and spend the $5 on your kid at the Dollar Store that weekend; kiddo will feel like they won the lottery when they walk out with 5 toys :)

What sort of free things do you do with your kids? Link up and share!

Talk-To-Me Tuesday...with Casey Roberts

Good morning everyone! I have a very special treat for you mamas, WAHMs, SAHMs...just about all of you out there!

Her name is Casey Roberts, and she is amazing. Casey contacted me a couple of months ago about doing a guest post about continuing education. I find that so many of my mama friends are either in school doing their Masters at a physical institution, or are taking continuing education courses online.

Without further adieu, here's Casey and her 10 Essential Tips for Moms Going Back to School

With the start of another new semester, it can be normal for everyone to ask themselves if they should go back to school. With many mothers (and fathers) experiencing higher bills, it can also be a great way to increase your earning power while setting a good example for the kids. For those of you who are hesitant to do so or have already begun, check out these ten essential tips for moms going back to school.

1 You are not alone – As educational options become more available, a wider variety of students are enrolling. This includes everyone from the traditional college age kids to foreign students to working parents. If you think you will be the only mom in the class, chances are there will be at least one more.

2 Financial aid – It isn't just for kids who can't get their parents to pay for school. It is also for working families. How much financial aid you qualify for depends on many things like number of dependents and income, which are huge factors in determining how much aid you qualify for.

3 FAFSA – The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a must for any student in college. It is a lengthy form but is essential to the financial aid process of just about every school.

4 What if I need help? - If you need help with the FAFSA or any other aspect of financial aid, speak to the counselors at your current or prospective school to get all of your options. They are paid professionals whose job often entails making school as affordable as possible.

5 Grants – These are forms of financial aid that can be earned by filling out the FAFSA. They are tax payer funded and intended to help needy students of all ages get a college degree.

6 Working parents options – In addition to the usual grants, there are also those for working parents who are trying to get a degree. There are even some especially for single mothers going to college.

7 Loans – We've all heard about the burden student loans can become. The student loan is quite the temptation. It offers a huge sum up front, no payments until graduation, and low interest rates. However, it is recommended to exhaust other methods of paying for school before considering a student loan.

8 Fine print – So what is the catch with all this financial aid? Those who are granted any form of financial aid can often be asked to keep a minimum GPA of 2.0 (C average) or higher. They must also graduate on time.

9 Daycare – But what will I do with the kids while I'm in class? This is a common question that many schools are answering by providing free or low cost daycare at their facilities, which is a good thing to look for when applying for schools.

10 Degree or no degree – If you know what career you are looking for, make sure you know what kind of degree, certification, licensure, etc. you need before beginning studies. You should also make sure that graduation from your degree program qualifies you to take any exams or tests you need to work in your desired career.

Casey Roberts is a student and also writes for Radiology Assistant which helps students find the right radiology degree.

Getting to Know You....

Getting to know all....about you!

Well, in this case, you're getting to know me! I was tagged this afternoon by one of my BlogHer roommates, Shannon from Baby Shmizz, and thought that it'd be a great opportunity for you all to get to know a little bit about me!

I'm going to break the rules a little bit and not choose a few people to tag and circulate the survey through their blogs, though. I want to take it as an opportunity for you to learn about me!

*photography by Rosina di trolio

11 Random Facts

1. I twirl my hair when I'm tired, stressed or am thinking about something way too hard. It's a habit that my son (above) has picked up from me!
2. I cannot...absolutely cannot stand tomatoes! They're squishy and I just don't like em!
3. When I was little, I wanted to be a biological oceanographer and dreamed of owning a research boat where my Mom would knit on a rocking chair up front, my Dad would dive with orcas and dolphins, and I would study them (the orcas and dolphins...not the parents)
4. All of my animals going up had multiple alliterated names...Thomas Tiwiliger Thompson, Oliver Octavius and Anthony Aloicious. My adult pets do too! Maggie Mae and Tiko Tobias!
5. I actually dropped out of art class in my senior year because I refused to be told "how to draw'
6. I can't draw a good likeness of a person to save my life
7. My Dad passed away when I was 23 and not a day goes by that I don't miss him
8. I always wanted a pet elephant
9. I love asking my son "Can Mama have a hug?" knowing that he will instantly throw his arms around my neck and put his head on my shoulder
10. I most definitely plan his birthday parties for me...I mean him...okay I mean me
11. I say I'm allergic to raspberries when in truth, I just had a bad experience when I was little and haven't eaten them since...raspberry trauma...*sigh*

Now for the Questions that Ms. Shannon asked I answer...

What is in your kitchen sink, right NOW?
My coffee cup and cereal bowl from breakfast...in my defense, I was running the dishwasher and it takes like half a day to run!

When was the last time you went to the movies, and what did you see?
It was a few weeks ago, maybe a month? Hmm...prior to Valentine's Day, I know that much. And my husband and I went to see Girl With The Dragon Tattoo {excellent}

Who is your blog "idol"?
There are alot of bloggers that I adore, like Mrs. Stephanie T and Jenni. They're definitely at the top of my list.

What was your favorite toy when you were growing up?
I definitely was a huge Barbie fan...which has led to an obsession for shoes and accessories as an adult

Pack your lunch or buy it?
I make it at home...usually whatever Owen is eating

Favorite color crayon in the Crayola 64 box?
What an unfair question to as an artist!! I would have to say Grey, because it literally goes with everything!

Favorite month of the year? Why?
September...oh do you remember...the 21st night of September? Love was changing the minds of pretenders...while chasing the clouds away....My birthday!

What kid TV show(s) piss you off the most?
Oh goodness...Special Agent Oso. Hands down. Most annoying show ever!

What is your favorite blog post that you have written?
The letter that I wrote to my son on his first birthday on our family blog

What are your favorite beauty products?
Anything and everything from Bellaroma!

And, because this question made me tear up: What piece of advice would you give your son/daughter if you could only tell them one thing?
Challenge the world around you...don't be afraid to ask questions...and don't settle for the first answer that you get.

SWH4T$: Easy Toddler Breakfast

Happy Thursday, mamas!! Last week I discovered a recipe that will please even the finickiest of eaters...and I'm SO excited to share it with you today!

It's so easy to link up, here's how:

1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC

2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money and time, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".

3.) Post our button on your post

Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!


Easy Toddler Breakfast

Today's post isn't so much about saving money and time (though this is a super frugal and fast breakfast to make any day of the week) as it is about saving your sanity.

Like most other 20month olds, my son has become a veggie-free-zone. Put steamed or roasted veggies on his tray and he looks at you like you have three heads.

Put berries, carrots or bananas in pancakes, and he's your man! He'll gobble it up! Well...until recently when even that form of trickery stopped working.

Then I found this recipe on Pinterest...and man oh man!

What you need:
1/4 cup oatmeal (recipe calls for instant oats, but I used rolled oats)
1 egg
a small handful of whatever fruit you'd like to add in...or veggies! That'd work too! I used blackberries and raspberries

Mix everything together in a microwave safe coffee mug, then microwave on medium high for 1 minute. If it's not firm enough and the egg is still runny, put it back in for 30 seconds.

Chop into big chunks and serve warm!

Saving time, money and your sanity...one toddler breakfast at a time!

Link up with us!

SWH4T$: Cabinet Re-Organization

It's Thursday again! One more day till TGIF time :)

It's so easy to link up, here's how:

1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC

2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money and time, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".

3.) Post our button on your post

Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!


Cabinet Re-organization

I've been on this organization kick lately, especially with all of my cabinets in my house. I've just gotten sick of how messy they get, so I've been putting things in bins, labeling, purging - and its been awesome! My latest project was one of the larger cabinets in my kitchen, which houses a lot of infrequently used items, and tends to just get things thrown in there without any thought.

This is the before picture, not too nice huh?

I started off by taking everything out and throwing out what we didn't need or didn't use (ice cube trays from our baby food making days, a spoon rest that we don't use, a votive candle holder that was half-broken). Then, I took all the shelves out and wiped them down, and applied a new layer of Contac Paper.

Next, I put everything that was being saved back into the cabinet, and organized it so it made sense. I moved out our wooden formal flatware box and displayed it on the china hutch in our dining room, which freed up a lot of space on one shelf. Aprons and bottle coolers went into medium-sized bins. Small baking molds, grill accessories and paper/plasticware went into other smaller bins. It's a deep cabinet, but I made sure not to shove things too far back, because otherwise you can't see them, and you'll be less likely to use them.

After everything was in the cabinet, I made a list of what was on each shelf. I used Microsoft Word to print out the list of items, cut out each shelf list and then glued it onto a pretty piece of scrapbook paper and taped it to the inside of the cabinet as a map of sorts.

Then, I printed out some labels to put on the bins. I got the labels from here. I didn't have sticky label sheets to print them on, so I was cheap and used what I had: regular white printer paper and clear packing tape :) Worked just fine.

The final product:

Big improvement huh? I hope that I've made everything easy to find and easy to put away, with the intention that the cabinet will stay that way.

This whole project cost me about $15:
2 medium wire bins from Target: $5
2 medium plastic bins from Walmart: $2.38
3 small skinny plastic bins from Walmart: $2.38
Roll of Contac paper: $5.89

Got any organizational projects you've done recently? Link up!

Sponsor Love: Wedding Accessories by Jacques Vert

Which wedding accessories do you choose for your wedding?

If you are planning to attend a wedding or perhaps you are getting married yourself, it isn’t always easy to find perfect wedding outfits because of the wide range of choice. On top of that are the accessories that are of importance as well. If you are unsure of which accessories to wear with your wedding outfit or when going to a formal lunch event, then it might be worthwhile for you to read this post. I have lined up some accessories that I believe would make a great addition to any occasion wear outfit.


When deciding upon what type of jewellery to choose, I’d recommend opting for less chunky jewellery such as this elegant fine black enamel and marcasite effect pendant necklace. The necklace is set on a silver colour chai with little ball beads and would look great with any wedding outfit.


For those who have never heard of this term, a fascinator is a fashionable headpiece that is often worn on special occasions. Fascinators come in various styles and are created by colourful feathers, flowers and other sorts of fabrics.

Often, these fascinators can be worn in two different ways. There are fascinators with combs attached to them which you have to stick in your hair in the opposite direction, ensuring the hairs are woven between the teeth of the comb. The other, more common, form is the headband fascinator which can simply be placed on top of the hair.


Finding the right purse to go with your outfit can often be a tricky task because you have to ensure that all your belongings fit in the bag (and we’ve got many things we put in our purses) whilst at the same time making sure that the colour is right.

This purse is an elegant fondant pink fabric clutch styled bag, with a curving flat to the front and satin draped twist detail to finish. You can combine this purse with a crème or black dress, or a similar colours dress.

This post was sponsored by Susanna Cha, on behalf of Jacques Vert

SWH4T$: Time Saver Pancakes

Happy Thursday everyone, and welcome back to She Works Hard For the Money - a bloghop for hard working mamas who do everything they can to save time and money!

The rules are simple...

1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC

2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money and time, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".

3.) Post our button on your post

Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!

Time Saver Pancakes

I find myself in a bit of a rut sometimes. Between my crafty, artsy business...another new business that I'll be launching with a great Mama friend of mine...my Husband having his own business...plus our son's activities...I'm stretched pretty thin.

Because of that, I try to plan at least one meal ahead of time to save myself time, frustration and allow myself to enjoy a meal with my son throughout the day. Breakfast seems to be the easiest, and I've developed a recipe for success!

I make one or two full batches of pancakes at the beginning of a week, and whatever we don't eat that day goes into a Ziploc and into the freezer. Then, I can pull out pancakes as needed, pop them into the toaster and know that my son is getting a super wholesome breakfast.

Here are two varieties, that just so happen to help with fussy eaters who don't get alot of fruits or veggies.

Pancakes...two ways

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Mixed Berry

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Asparagus (yes..you read that right!)

Preheat griddle or frying pan while you mix the batter

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk
1 beaten egg
2 tbsp oil (I used canola, but you can use whatever you'd like. I would not recommend EVOO as it has a distinct flavour that will alter the pancakes)

Mix all ingredients together

For Berry Pancakes, mix in 1 cup of mixed berries. I used frozen berries that I had on hand, which I thawed in the fridge overnight.

For Asparagus pancakes, finely chop approximately 6 spears, and add that to the batter.

Each full recipe will make approximately 8-10 pancakes.

Once cool, put in a Ziploc and pop them in the freezer!


Have a time saver recipe, coupon, trick or tip? Link up with us today!

Talk-To-Me Tuesday: Getting Launched

I am so over-the-moon excited to announce that I've been launched by the amazing ladies over at launchHER.

When Tracy contacted me about a month ago, I could hardly keep my excitement in. Was I ready for this?

For those of you who don't know, launchHER is pretty huge within the women entrepreneur community. They are a supportive group of women who promote and love other women owned businesses, and they chose me. Me. {queue fainting}

I jumped at the chance, and feel so incredibly blessed to have been chosen. Huge huge thank you to Tracy for taking notice of my shop, and for loving why I started it {what feels like years ago now...a whole other lifetime}

Head on over and give it a read!

SWH4T$: Ikea

Welcome back Ladies! It's been an awesome year for SWH4T$ so far: we've organized our coupons, repurposed jars to make super cute home decor, and now let's decorate our houses some more!

See how you can link up your own projects! Only 3 simple steps:

1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC
2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money and time, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".
3.) Post our button on your post

Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!



Ikea. The Motherload of cute and functional stuff for cheap. Mizzle and I are HUGE fans of Ikea, our entire dining room set is Ikea, our endtables are Ikea, our dishes and several pots are Ikea, and Jack's playfood is from Ikea.

For 9 years now (ever since we moved in together) our dining room set was a hand-me-down from my parents: a teak table with 6 chairs that my parents swiped from the Student Union at University of Arizona when they were redoing the building (my dad went there for undergrad). The chairs are likely mid-century, and they are in surprisingly good shape for surviving thousands of college kids, me and my sisters, and then finally Mizzle & Jack (not to mention numerous drunken house parties in the pre-Jack days...).

We loved the table and I loved the chairs (they squeak, Mizzle hates it. I think it gives them character). Our dining room is small, and we needed a smaller table so that things were not as crowded, now that we have a toddler table and Jack's play kitchen in the dining room.

I wanted a round table that was better for traffic flow, Mizzle wanted a table that would comfortably sit at least 6 people when extended.

This was what we got:
Bjursta Dining Table with extendable leaf, seats 4-6

Not bad huh? It's super sturdy, wipes easily, and is about a third of the price of what you would pay at a furniture store. Now, this isn't an heirloom we are going to pass on to our children, but it will last us for quite a while. Let's put it this way: the Ikea furniture that we already have is already at least 5-7 years old, and has held up amazingly!

Now what about chairs? While shopping for tables I realized that chairs can often cost more than the table itself! Seriously! We wanted 4 chairs, and then if we had extra people we would use folding chairs. I used to buy household furnishings with the maximum number of guests in mind, but now having a kid, I buy what we need for NOW. The rest can be figured out later.

I really liked these chairs:
Ingolf Chair

Cute right? But, if we got 4 chairs, that would be $240. Not exactly what I wanted to spend on chairs. Granted, we were on a budget, and if we weren't, I would have totally got these. However, we were on a budget, and trying to walk out the door under $350 for the table & chairs.

So this is what we got:
Ivar Chair
I know what you're thinking: they don't match. Well you're right. BUT, not for long! We went to Lowe's and got some stain to match the table. 3 coats of stain and 1 coat of polyurethane/stain combo later, we have a matching set! Pretty sweet for $308.96!

We are still sanding and buffing them down, so I don't have a finished picture for you, so I guess you'll just have to stop by Baby Shmizz next week to see the finished product! :)

Just goes to show that with a little shopping around and some elbow grease, you can have a fancy looking dining set for 1/3rd the price! Not to mention that in the cafeteria that day, kids ate FREE! Bonus!

If you are looking for where your nearest Ikea is so you can run there like a madwoman, check HERE.

How have you decorated your house for less? Share with us!

Money Saving Mamas!

WAHM Wednesday: Winding Down

Since we got home from vacation, we've been in full on house-hunting-packing-moving-to-the-inlaws mode.

Time to unwind?

My husband got me a Kobo for Christmas, and it's seriously the best thing since sliced bread. It gives me just that little break at the end of a jam packed day to unwind and relax...have my brain switch gears.

I find that between putting matchbox car through a ramp course for my son a bazillion times a day, promoting listings on Facebook and Twitter, taking photographs of paintings, setting up tweets, connecting and networking, and creating amazing party decorations for amazing customers...my brain is just fried, and yet spinning all at the same time.

And then it takes hours to settle down, and usually leads to nightmares...little sleep...step and repeat for the next day.

Do you WAHM's take time in your daily schedule to unwind? My Kobo has been my relief; even if it's just 3 pages or so, it's enough relief for me!

SWH4T$: Coupon Organization

Time again to link up! I'm starting the year off right by trying to save money, let me show you how!

1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC

2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money and time, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".

3.) Post our button on your post

Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!

This post is a double whammy: I'm going to gush about couponing and organization all at the same time! YIPPEE!!!!!!!

Are you as excited as I am? Probably not, but I'm a dork like that :)

My sister Kellie is big into couponing too, and she has always been an organizational freak. She made herself a coupon binder, and then made me one for Christmas. I used to use an accordion file, which worked, but it was a pain in the arse to sift through all the coupons. Now, with my binder, they are all organized in clear baseball-card holders and I can see them all at first glance. This makes it so easy to see the expiration dates, purge what I don't need, and organize better by category.

Here is a tour of my new BFF, my coupon binder :)

My binder is a 1 inch 3-ring binder, and it has 8 tabs:

Household Items, Hair & Body/Meds, Baby, Grocery Items, Dairy/Refridgerated, Frozen Foods, Pet Supplies and Other (this is where I put my Target coupons, and other store-specific coupons.

Each divider page has a folder on it. I use these folders to hold my store flyers, along with a list of what I need, and the coupons I've pulled according to matchups with deals in the flyers. Then, when I get to the store, I have my list with my coupons, and the flyer if I need to refer to it, all in one place.

The inside front cover folder holds a small pad to write my list on, and coupons that I have yet to file. I also keep a pen clipped to the binder rings, and my CVS Green Bag Tag is hooked around one of the rings.

And, the piece de resistance, the coupon pages! Kellie put in a bunch of those clear baseball card holders, that are the perfect size for most coupons. If the coupon is a little big, I just fold it so I can see a bit of the product so I know what its for, but most importantly so the expiration date shows. I don't have them organized yet from first expiring to last expiring because I haven't figured out a way to do that without moving every coupon around when something expires so I don't have an empty space. However, with them organized like this, its very easy to scan for dates. I keep duplicates grouped together also.

So there you have it! That's my new way of organizing my coupons, and I'm so happy that Kellie made this for me, because its made my life a whole lot easier! A lot of people say they don't have time for couponing, but honestly, I spend maybe an hour a week total clipping, organizing and matching deals. I'll admit, in the beginning it took a lot longer, but once I found a system that worked for me, its gotten so much easier. I've heard many couponers say this before, but I really can't believe I didn't start this sooner. So far, its January 12th, and I've saved a total of $34! And I only coupon for things that we NEED and USE, so that's $34 that I would have spent anyway, but now thats $34 in my pocket :)

So, how do you organize your coupons? Any tips or tricks for us? Link up and share!

SWH4T$: Free Books for All

A very happy 2012 to each and every one of you!! Shannon and I are thrilled to welcome you back to She Works Hard For The Money, with some format changes!

Shannon has some exciting couponing news for you all, and I'm stoked to offer up amazing crafty tutorials for home decor, hostess gifts and more!

Now for the rules!

1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC

2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money and time, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".

3.) Post our button on your post

Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!

Free Books for All

My lovely Husband got me a Kobo for Christmas, and it seriously has been the absolute best thing ever.

What's a Kobo? Well, it's the Canadian version of the Nook, available through Chapters and Indigo. Much like the Kindle and Nook counterparts, and even the Sony e-reader, the Nook downloads ebooks from the internet for easy reading. It has a few more functions than the other ereaders, but that's neither here nor there for this post.

What I love the most are the free ebooks. I didn't realize just how many free ebooks there are on the Kobo platform! I've already downloaded 32 books! Most are classics that I either haven't read at all, like Pride and Prejudice, and some are classics that I want to revisit, like The Last of the Mohicans, Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast.

I just finished....

And have started....

While I know that I will eventually run out of free books to read (I have 30 in queue....should last me a while!) I love that I can get some books for as low as $1.99 and that my Kobo will store 1000 books in total. Considering that I would be spending approximately $4.99 at minimum per book, plus the $9 at Starbucks when I stop at Chapters...and walk away with approximately 3 books for myself, as well as two for Owen...plus the gas to get to the bookstore...

You're looking at about $34 (+gas) just for one trip!

Or...you could plugin your Kobo and synch up over 100 free books! Most I bet are ones that are amazing and wonderful, but that you've never given the time of day.You can even get some new releases for about $8, which is approximately $4 off the cover price (and cost of gas!) per book!

Have you gotten any amazing gadgets over the holidays that will end up being huge money savers? Link up with us!!

SWH4T$: Holiday Decor

Welcome back to our Holiday Series with She Works Hard For The Money! We've head a great time baking, crafting up glittering play-dough and now we're moving onto some quick and easy holiday decor that will make your house smell fantastic!

Want to link up your own holiday ideas??

1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC

2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money and time, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".

3.) Post our button on your post

Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!

Coffee Bean Candle-pieces

Since we were in the process of selling our house, we had to keep our decoration very simple...but that didn't mean that it couldn't be chic!

This literally took me 5 minutes to make (including washing and drying a vase that I already had!) and zero dollars since I already had everything in the house.

What you'll need
  • vase or glass hurricane
  • candle
  • coffee beans

What to do

  • clean vase/glass container
  • dry it
  • pour in desired amount of coffee beans
  • place candle in centre of coffee beans
  • sink it down just a bit

Voila! Instant decor for your mantle, bathroom, kitchen, or even really great centrepieces for Christmas morning brunch!

What I love about them is the fresh smell of coffee every time I walk by. I have one in our master bath, one on our wine bar and two on our kitchen table. They've been there for about two weeks now, and they still smell like fresh coffee


For an added twist, use flavours coffee beans or a scented candle! As the coffee beans warm up, they give off a delicious aroma!

A time saver and a money saver! If you had to buy the supplies and start from scratch, here's my cost breakdown

Vase: $1 at dollarstore

Coffee beans: $4 for 1lb bag

Candle: 2 for $1 at dollarstore

Small vases: 2 for $1 at dollarstore

So, for a total of $7 you get 3 arrangements. Pretty awesome! And consider that you could take them as hostess gifts for any holiday parties that you're going to! Cost per gift $2.33! Fantastic!

SWH4T$: Holiday Baking

Welcome back to Week 9 of She Works Hard 4 The $ (SWH4T$)! We are so pleased for you to join us this week, and look forward to many holiday tips and tricks!

The Rules? They're pretty simple!

1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC
2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".
3.) Post our button on your post

Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!

Holiday Baking

Have a teacher, garbage man, mail delivery person, post office worker, member of your church family or some other person on your list this Holiday season? I know that I do, and that list keeps growing by the day when I think of all of the wonderful people in our lives!

So! This year...into the kitchen I go with my beautiful standmixer that is likely exhausted at this point. However, this batch of particularly yummy cookies yeild about 75 cookies...

Translate that into 10 cookies per cello bag, tied with a lovely tag (that you can make at home to save even more money! I had this one lying around our Christmas wrapping paper stock) and you've got gifts for 7 people, plus 5 cookies left for you to snack on!

And what's even better, you likely have all of these ingredients (minus the molasses...let's be serious, who has molasses in the house!? But...it's only $4 at Walmart!) in your kitchen already!

Ginger Molasses Cookies

Preheat over to 350F

Mix in your standmixer bowl
  • 4 1/2
    cups all-purpose flour
  • 4
    teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2
    teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2
    teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4
    teaspoon salt

Cream in

  • 1 1/2
    cups butter
  • 2
    cups granulated sugar
  • 2
  • 1/2
    cup molasses

Roll cookies into 1" balls, and roll them in a bowl of

  • 3/4
    cup coarse sugar or granulated sugar

Place on a cookie sheet, and bake for 13-14 minutes. You'll know that they're finished by when the tops crack! Be careful not to overbake though!

I then took a bunch of the cookies, put them in a cello bag (you can get these at Michael's for about $2.50 for 12 bags. I get mine from Nashville Wraps in bulk, so I had them on hand already) and tie with a lovely tag!

Total cost on these babies...$6.50. Cost per gift...$0.92!

Beautiful, thoughtful, cost-efficient, and yummy!