Friday, September 30, 2011

Baby B's New Space

Last night we made a quick change for Baby B. It was my husbands idea, and it was totally genius. What did we do? We moved the coffee table (to an awkward right-by-the-front-door place. we'll work on that later)...


 And put down a blanket for Baby B in the new real estate!


Our house isn't very big so Baby B didn't have a good place to play. Now he has room to roam and still be right in the middle of whatever we're doing. Now we just need to get a rug for him to play on.  That's all I have today. Just a quick little change that we are totally in love with (and let's all pretend my house it totally clean, okay?). So I'll wrap this up with a couple quick pics of Baby B from our latest photo shoots....
 



Happy Friday!

Monday, September 26, 2011

$19.50 and a Giveaway!

My in-laws were in town for the weekend so we got to have fun family time and hunt down some deals together. We spent the morning at a nearby town-wide sale, which was great because there were so many sales all together! Here's my loot:

$2.00 - big box of yarn & a paper sorter


$1.00 - 2 gallon cooler

$2.00 - Disney Tales of Magic & Wonder books for Baby B. They will be perfect for once he gets a little older! I'm thinking about wrapping them up for Christmas or his birthday.

$0.25 - soap dispenser for the newly made-over bathroom and a bunch of seeds (they were free)

$3.00 - brand new razor for the mister (no cord, but he found one on ebay)

$0.25 - 4 yards of fabric.

$2.00 - large basket (and some dinosaur clothes for Baby B thrown in with the basket)

$2.00 - electric weed eater

$6.75 - Several Christmas/birthday presents for my sisters! I don't want to spoil the surprise, so you'll have to find out what they are later. ;)

Now for the fun part! I'm a bags & purses kind of girl. Always have been, probably always will be. It's really hard for me to pass up a cute bag, especially when it's a great price! So when I saw this little guy for $0.25 I thought I'd share the bag love and pass it on to one of you!


It's a great little red bag with a draw string top (I think it's about 15" wide). It has 2 pockets outside and 3 inside.


And it's a backpack!


I think I like it so much because it looks so summery. Perfect for a trip to the pool or a walk in the park.


 So what do you say? Want to win it? To enter just leave a comment here telling me what YOU are crazy about (another bag lover? Are shoes your thing? Or something totally different like books or video games?). You can earn extra entries by sharing the giveaway on facebook or twitter (just leave a separate comment telling me you did). The contest will close Friday, September 30, 2011 at 10:00pm and a winner will be chosen in a random drawing. Good luck!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

$9.55

I had another weekend back home to shop with my sisters. We found just a few sales, but had tons of fun, as usual. Here is my loot, starting with my favorite find!

$4.00 - old ammunition case. I'm glad my hubs was with me to spot this one. I love it! It will probably be going up in our room.


$0.80 - five shirts for me (one didn't fit so I gave it to a sister). 

$1.75 - winter clothes for Baby B

$1.00 - torque wrench for my hubs. He saw one at the first sale for $5, passed it up, and then found one for $1 the same day!

Free - basket, glasses, book and a small picture frame from the free box. 

Tuck & Run - $2.00 - printer/copier/scanner! They said it worked last time they used it, so for $2 we'll see!

Did you find anything good last weekend? Are your sales winding down, or still going strong?

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Little Bathroom Love

Even though we moved in almost 11 months ago, our bathroom still hasn't had much attention. Here it is when we moved in:


And here it is after the mini makeover where we removed the shower doors, painted the mirror, and used some left over blue paint for the walls. Better than it was, but still not good. There were a lot of things that I didn't like at all/were totally gross.


After we put in the new vent, we had to repaint the ceiling anyway so we decided to make the most of the opportunity and try to salvage what little hope the bathroom had. We just wanted something halfway decent to last until we could do a major renovation. So what did we do? We painted the ceiling yellow...


painted the tile & vanity fresh white, and added new hardware to the cabinet (don't panic, the tile is plastic and was already painted when we moved in)...


pulled up the carpet (how sad is it when the last carpet to be removed is in the bathroom? Gross!)....


(you know you want to know what was under it. brace yourself.)...


 
Now we understand why there was carpet there, so we got some new vinyl flooring...



and used the old carpet as a template to cut it out...


replaced the shower curtain.....


added some accessories.....




and called it a day! Well, more like 2 days. Paint has to dry, you know.


I think my jaw hit the floor when this all came together. It totally took the bathroom  from "this is horrible I hope we can make it decent enough to live with until our first opportunity to demolish it and start over" to "wow. this is actually really pretty. and totally livable. maybe we'll remodel in a few years if we have to." Music to my hubby's ears. :)


And for a total cost breakdown of the project:
  • $23 - yellow paint (but there is lots left over that we plan to use in the kitchen)
  • $0 - white paint (left over from painting the master bedroom)
  • $2 - new hardware for the vanity
  • $13 - vinyl flooring
  • $20 - new shower curtain (the splurge of the makeover!)
  • $0 - accessories (we already had everything, I just brought it into the bathroom)
Total: $58

Seriously. For a totally awesome bathroom makeover. I love it!

The only things that will probably be replaced more short term (aka less than a few years) are the lights. As you can see, they are still pretty bad, but we took the wooden poles off the bottom and that helped. But their days are still numbered. I don't know what the number is, but I'll keep you posted. :)


Were you ever surprised by how easy a dramatic transformation was?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Other Side of Yard Sales - Some Advice

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that we had a yard sale of our own so I thought I'd share some of the details and a little bit of advice for anyone else who wants to brave the world of yard-selling. I was inspired by this post by The Nester to purge our house of the "things we like but don't need" in hopes of achieving a less cluttered & simpler home. 

Following her advice, I went through the house and sorted out all the stuff we didn't actually have a use for or a space for. I went through every area of the house to find items - clothes in the closet I don't wear, movies we don't watch, knick knacks that are just cluttering my shelves -and I piled it all in the basement. Then I waited a while to see what I still needed...and it wasn't much! I pulled out the few things I really wanted to keep, and the rest got a price tag and a trip to the garage! It felt so good to see such a big pile of stuff leave the house. I will definitely use this method again, but I'm also keeping a running "yard sale box" in the basement so I can throw in things to sell as I find them.

If you want to clear some clutter and make a little moolah (does anyone else use that word?) of your own, I would definitely recommend checking out that article. And if you're new to the yard sale world, here are my tips for having a successful sale (warning - this is a lot of words with no pictures! Sorry!):
 

1. Post good signs. Your signs should be readable by someone driving by and should clearly indicate the direction to the sale. Put one at each corner along the route to keep shoppers headed in the right direction. I made my signs with cardboard stapled to wooden stakes. Then I painted the info on in nice BIG letters. You want it to grab attention so people will come! Mine usually include the words "yard sale," a big arrow pointing the way, the distance to my house, the time of the sale, and my address.
 

2. Advertise. This is especially important if you live off the beaten path. (if you live near a main road, like me, you may be fine with just signs) I always start shopping with advertised sales and only follow signs I pass on the way. But first weigh the cost! It's great to list in free places like Craigslist, but here it would have cost $45 to get in the paper (I didn't know if I would even make that much!) so take that into consideration.

3. Bring a friend. By involving more people, you can advertise yourself as a milti-family sale which will increase your traffic. People come where there is more likely to be lots of stuff. On that note, make sure you have enough stuff for a worthwhile sale. It may be better to postpone until you have a good offering of merchandise.

4. Put attention-getters out front. Big ticket merchandise, like furniture and large baby items, should be placed front and center to draw people in. I put them near the end of the driveway so they are the first thing shoppers see. Then my less eye-catching items can be put further back on the driveway or in the garage. (If you have space to spread out down the driveway, use it! You want your sale to look big from the road so people will stop.) This is a sketch or the layout of our garage & driveway on sale day:


5. Clearly mark prices. People are much more likely to consider purchasing something if they know they price. Some would rather walk away than ask and you don't want to lose a sale! I use a combination of individual sticker and group signs (like "all shirts $0.50) and on larger items I put a large tag like a sticky note or even a sheet of paper.


6. Barter. Most people expect to barter at yard sales (and I think it's half the fun!) so it can be a big turn off when sellers won't negotiate. It's important to consider the cost of not bartering...would you rather drag something back in the house than sell it for less? Anything I don't sell goes to the thrift store, so I'd rather get something for it than nothing. Remember, your main goal is to get rid of stuff you don't need.

7. Be on time. Open when you say you'll open, and close when you say you'll close. If you advertise to start at 8:00, people will probably show up at 7:45. If you aren't set up yet they'll move on to the next sale and probably won't come back. The same goes for closing. If you're supposed to be open until 2:00, don't pack up until at LEAST 2:00. I've gone to sales at 1:30 and seen people boxing things up. I just kept driving. Sale lost! It's a good idea to check around and see what times are popular in your area and try to match them.

8. Have plenty of change. You don't want to lose a sale just because you can't break a bill. I have found it helpful to work in quarters when pricing, and mark everything in increments of $0.25. That way I only need quarters for change! For cheaper items, like small toys, I will group them together in a ziploc bag and ask $0.25 for the whole thing.

9. Be honest. Always. Whether you are advertising (don't call it a multi-family sale unless it really is) or trying to make a sale (Is there a stain on the curtain? Let them know!) it's best to be honest with buyers.

10. Price reasonably. No one cares how much you love it/payed for it/used it. All they know is they want to get it for an awesome price. I always consider what I would want to pay for an item, and price it that way. It's like returning the favor to everyone who sells me things for the price I want to pay. In the last few hours of a sale, I will go half price on everything. Remember, it's better to sell it for a low price than throw it away and get nothing!
    So that's my two cents. Or ten cents, I guess. There is plenty of other info out there two if you want more advice. Here are a few of my favorite resources:

    The Nester's Advice
    Young House Love's Advice
    Money Saving Mom's Advice

    Remember to have fun, and enjoy the freeing feeling of getting that clutter out of your home!

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    More Cloth Talk

    I thought I give you a quick update of the diaper world since I wrote this post about cloth diapering earlier this summer. Hey, I'm a mom, diapering consumes a fair amount of my time these days. :) And we've made a few tweaks, so here goes.

    First of all, I had mentioned before that I wanted to try these diapers by grape-apple on ebay, and we went for it! $54 for 10 pocket diapers delivered to my door. You can't beat that. Especially compared to the average $19 for a FuzziBunz pocket diaper! I love that I was able to choose from dozens of colors and patterns (unlike Sunnibaby which sends you whatever colors they want.). Here are a couple I chose. (they sent me 2 solid blue ones in place of prints that were out of stock) 


    Pretty cute, huh? Who would have thought I'd say that about a diaper?!? So far these diapers are working great. They are super soft inside and seem to fit Baby B really well. Of course, I'll give you a quick pro & con list. :)


    Grape Apple $54 for 10, I have 10
    Pros:
    • Cheap! Less than $6 per diaper, and that included shipping.
    • Well made. I don't know how important it is, but these diapers have and extra line of stitching around the edges. 
    • Wide pocket opening makes them easy to stuff (like Fuzzibunz)
    • Super soft inside
    • rise snaps down smaller than Sunnibaby (so they might fit a smaller baby?) and the fit Baby B well
    • Lots of cute prints to choose from
    Cons:
    • Only 1 insert per diaper (most of my other diapers came with 2)
    • Made in China (someday hoping to upgrade to USA made)
    • May not fit a small baby (I didn't get these until Baby B was 3 or 4 months old)
    The only other change we are making is the detergent we use. I mentioned before using EcoSprout, but I've been talking to several other cloth-diapering mommas since then and not liking what I hear. It turns out it was causing severe rashes & ammonia burns on some of the babies! Baby B has never has a problem, and I know some babies are more sensitive than others, but the thing I don't like is the company's response. Several moms have reported the reaction and the manufacturer replies saying it must be something else, even though the problems cleared up when they discontinued use of EcoSprout. I also don't like that we were pushed to buy this brand at a cloth diaper store, and I later found out it was made by someone related to the store owner. It's all a little fishy to me. Not to mention the fact it was so expensive ($19)! So we are moving on to other things.  A few veteran cloth mommas said they use Sun Free & Clear that is sold at Big Lots for only $6 for the large bottle.


    So we picked some up to give it a try. I'll let you know how it goes, we just got it so I can't say yet. But I do like that I can use it for all my clothes, too, instead of having two different detergents! I've also heard a lot of good things about Rockin' Green detergent so I might give that a try later. Might as well know all my options, right? :) In other news, I still want to try cloth wipes but haven't gotten to it yet. I also plan to get a washable pail liner so I can stop buying garbage bags, and I'd like to find a good way to cloth diaper when we travel instead of going to disposables.

    That brings you up to speed! Any other cloth diaper mommas (or grandmas!) have any advice for this beginner?

    P.S. I've added a new post about a few new things I'm trying and sewing my own cloth diapers - check it out here!

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    $6.75

    This is actually from the last two weekends. I never got around to posting them last week. :) Not a lot of purchases, but I had fun hunting (especially with a couple of sisters to share the fun with)!

    $0.50 - brown necklace for me & bag of broken necklaces for jewelry making


    $0.75 - books for Baby B

    $0.50 - rope. You never know when you'll need it. :)

    $1.00 - Shirt for me & a book (love the movie, so hopefully it's good!)

    $3.00 - 9 month clothes for Baby B. I asked if they would take $0.25/piece and they said yes. Sweet. (Sorry for the terrible pics. I didn't look at them until after the clothes were washed & stored!)

    $1.00 - drying rack so I can start air drying my diapers. Just one of those collapsible wooden ones. It's already in the basement ready to go. :)

    Tuck & Run - Is it okay to post a Christmas present to myself? Because I called Grammy (my mom) after I saw this and she said she'd buy it for us for Christmas, and I'm super excited! Well, here it is - a Joovy Stand-on Tandem Stroller! Pretty sure it's this guy that sells for $150. Snagged for only $15. (It's probably an older model than this picture, but looks pretty much the same!)


    I love yard sales. And summer, and they kind of go hand-in-hand. I don't even want to think about winter, but I know it's coming and I still have a few things I hope to find before summer is over - long sleeve shirts for Baby B, a couple baby gates, some fabric, and a reason to move south. Not getting my hopes up on that last one. :) How about you? What are you trying to get in before Summer is over? I want to get in as many walks as I can before we're cooped up!