Getting Thrifty and Saving Money

Hello friends!  Today, I interupt my normal crafty posts for a post about saving money.  I am a pretty thrifty mom...I try to shop the sales and not buy more than we need but recently my husband and I watched a few episodes of Extreme Couponing and I found myself thinking that I could do even more to save our family a little money. 

Have any of you seen Extreme Couponing?  Boy...it is extreme and I don't plan to get too crazy but I have found that taking a little extra time to match coupons with sales is worth it (like only paying 50 cents for name brand cereals or crackers and free deodorant) and I have found a few sites that are really helpful.  So, I thought I would share a few thoughts/sites with you all today since I figured a lot of you might be interested in saving some extra money, especially around the holidays.

First, if you shop online at all I recommend Ebates
 They offer cash back on your purchases from a huge list of great stores like Old Navy, Nordstrom, The Body Shop, Nike, The Land of Nod, Target, Osh Kosh, Magazines.com, Toys R Us etc.  And there are often special deals too (for example I recently got an email with a code for 50% off everything at the Body Shop online). Plus when you sign up initially you will receive a $10 gift card (after you make your first $25 purchase).  I personally don't shop a lot online but still thought it was worth signing up.  I figure after a year I should have a good amount of cash back to use for next year's Christmas gifts!  But if you shop online a lot, it will be even more rewarding.

If you like Kellogs products, their Rewards program is a great way to earn points to purchase coupons (like $1.50 off one item...this is how I got cereal for just 50 cents) or you can save up your points for bigger rewards.

Coupons.com is one of the best online printable coupon sites that I have found and did you know that Target has printable coupons too?

There are a lot of expert extreme couponers out there who blog every day about great deals too.  One site that I especially like is Mindfully Frugal Mom because she focuses a lot on all natural/organic products.

And finally if you have any sports fans in your family, I was very pleased with my recent purchase from Finish Line  They have some great sweatshirts priced at 2 for $35 plus free shipping and you can get a little cash back too if you go through Ebates 

I hope this is helpful to some of you!  Please know that I did not receive any $ or requests to mention these sites, I just have found them beneficial to me so I thought I would share with you all.  I'd love to hear about any great sites or ways that you save money so please let me know in the comments section!


Unique Crafters December Challenge - Christmas

Happy Holidays!  I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving...I hosted for the first time and it went pretty well.   Now, we are gearing up for Christmas.  I just love all the wonderful family time, traditions, and activities that surround the holiday.  So, this month over at the Unique Crafters Challenge blog the theme is Christmas.  Here is my project:

Any holiday or winter project will work as long as it represents Christmas to you. Remember, you can enter up to three different projects in our challenge each month.

This Christmas challenge is being sponsored by Cedar ChestDesigns so don’t forget to stop by and link your own project for a chance to win a free $10 gift certificate from their website. They also have several freebie images and tons of great new Christmas images so be sure to check them out.

Anybody who uses an image from Cedar Chest Designs will be entered into an additional random drawing for a whopping $35 gift certificate. As a special Christmas treat to all of our followers, you can download the “NaturesChristmas Tree Image” for FREE.  So, head on over to the Unique Crafters Challenge blog to get this great image and link up your Christmas projects for a chance to win!


Unique Crafters November Challenge - Sugar and Spice

Wow...November already!  This year has gone by so fast...but I am looking forward to the holiday season.  This month over at Unique Crafters Challenge the theme is Sugar and Spice so get out all your pretty pinks and girly crafting supplies and share your creation for a chance to win a great prize!

For my project I used THIS adorable image from Cedar Chest Designs.  I decided to make a fun, little birthday gift box.  All of the products (except for the image) are American Crafts.  I used their great fabric adhesive paper for the little girl's dress and wrapped the Dear Lizzy garland around the box several times then embellished it with a few rhinestones...cute, right?! 

Our challenge this month is sponsored by the brand new CedarChest Designs digital crafts website. Be sure to check out all of their great images. In honor of their grand opening, all of their images are on sale for 25% off. Just remember to use coupon code “GRAND” when you check out if you want to get your discount. They have lots of freebies too so be sure to check them out.

This month’s winner will receive a $25 dollar gift certificate to the Cedar Chest Designs site so be sure to link your projects up HERE by the end of the month for your chance to win!


Unique Crafters Challenge #8 - Halloween

Happy Fall everyone!  It's hard to believe that October is already here...the first month of school went by so fast!  It is time for a new Unique Crafters Challenge and this month the theme is Halloween.

So get out your cute Halloween photos or fun Halloween crafting supplies and get creating!  Then enter your creation over at the Unique Crafters Challenge blog for your chance to win!

October Sponsors

Octobers Halloween themed challenge is being sponsored by two generous businesses. The best scrapbook page will receive a $25 dollar prize pack of craft supplies from Crafty Crops and the best card or altered art project will receive a free $10.00 gift certificate to the new Cedar Chest Designs digital website.
Cedar Chest Designs
Digital stamps and pattern paper for the craft world.
Crafty Crops - Start a Party! Craft with Friends!
The portable scrapbook store for craft parties and fundraisers.

Have a great week!


Unique Crafters Challenge Blog Hop

Unique Crafters Challenge Blog Hop


Come check out our blogs and enter to win a free digital stamp image for each of the design team sites that you visit. Simply check out the blogs on this list, find the blog hop post on each blog and leave a comment with your name. You will be entered to win a prize for each of the blogs you visit and comment on. You have until Sunday, September 30th to enter. Please, only enter once per blog.

Watch for the winner announcement post on the Unique Crafters Challenge Blog on October 7th along with our other prizes for the month to see who won.

Check out all the sites on this blog hop:

And don't forget about our September 'Anything Goes' Challenge too!   Enter your fabulous projects HERE.

Here is an 'Anything Goes' project that I recently created:

We are not a big treat family, so when this little guy discovered marshmallows he thought they were the best thing ever!   :)  And when he was 2 1/2 he called them smarshmallows (isn't that adorable?!).  I just had to document this to remember and show him in the future.

Thanks for stopping by!  Make sure to visit the other blogs and leave a comment for your chance to win!


I Heart Faces Photo Challenge - Summer Fun

This month's photo challenge theme over at i heart faces is summer fun so I just had to enter this photo I took of my son at the swimming pool.  I love the silly look he is giving me with those goggles and swimming in the summer is definitely a must!   :)

To see more summer fun pictures, check out the challenge HERE.

Photo Challenge Submission



Unique Crafters Challenge #7 - Anything Goes

Hello all!  If you haven't yet joined us for the Unique Crafters Challenge, then this is definitely the month to participate!  See below for details:

Big Chance Giveaway Contest

I am so excited to announce the Big Chance Giveaway Contest for September at the Unique Crafters Challenge Blog. You will have over 20 chances to win great prize packages when you enter this month.

The theme for this challenge is: “Anything Goes”

This month is going to be a little bit different. Instead of commenting on the posts our designers will be focused on discovering great new blogs to be highlighted in our Friday Spotlight Posts. Also check back on September 15 for information about the Designers blog hop where you will have another chance to win prizes. Remember, with an “Anything Goes” theme, you can post up to three links for any paper or digital craft project you have designed during the last three months.

We will be giving away awards for the following categories:
Best Home Decor Project
Best Party Favor
Best Alcohol Marker Colored Image
Best Altered Art Project
Best Digital Craft Project
Overall Favorite Scrapbook Page
Best use of Photos on a Scrapbook Page
Best Theme on a Scrapbook Page
Best Color Combination on a Scrapbook Page
Best Simple and Clean Scrapbook Layout
Most Elaborate Layout
Overall Favorite Card
Best Birthday Card
Best Baby Card
Best Color Combination on a Card
Best Simple and Clean Card
Funniest Card
Most Elegant Card
Most Elaborate Card
One Big Grand Prize

How awesome is that!  So, start posting your favorite projects that fit these categories and hopefully you're inspired to create a new project or two to enter too! :)  Here is my Anything Goes project:

I love the combination of this My Mind's Eye Miss Caroline collection with the Dear Lizzy Neapolitan banners and thickers.  I wanted this layout to capture the joy we felt when we saw our baby for the first time...definitely a moment to treasure and celebrate!  We are loving life with our three precious boys...I feel so blessed.

I'll be looking forward to seeing all your wonderful projects for the Unique Crafters Challenge!  You can link them up HERE  through the end of September for your chance to win a great prize!


Unique Crafters Challenge #6 - Glitter and Shine

Wow...August already...this summer is going by way too fast!  For all of you who are finding time to craft, Unique Crafters Challenge blog has a great new challenge for you this month.  Pull out your glitter and sparkly embellishments to create a project that really shines!  Link it up HERE by the end of the month for your chance to win a great prize from our sponsor, Scrapbook Unique.

I am a huge fan of American Crafts glitter thickers and their glitter paper is fab too!  Here is a card I created using a few of my favorite AC products.

Enjoy the sunshine this month!


Unique Crafters Challenge - Patriotic

Happy 4th of July to you all!  In honor of the fourth, this month's challenge over at the Unique Crafters Challenge blog is to create a patriotic themed project. 
That means we want to see all your Red, White and Blue projects to celebrate America’s Independence Day. If you are not from America, simply show us a project that represents the colors or concepts of your own country.

The first place winner will receive a free prize package worth over $25.00 from our sponsor Scrapbook Unique. To qualify, simple link your project up HERE before the end of July.

On a personal note...we have a new little guy in our family!  We are in baby bliss right now and since so much of my time is spent adoring him, I am not finding much time to craft or blog lately...so thanks to all of you who continue to stop by and visit! :)  Here is a picture of my sweet new baby boy.  I always love yhe photos I see on professional photographers sites of babies in buckets so I decide to give it a try myself!


Unique Crafters Challenge #4 - BUTTONS!

I know all you crafters out there have a button stash!  And this month, Unique Crafters is challenging you to dig into those buttons to create something new.  I love just looking at my colorful button collection and one of my favorite button creations of all time is this set of button tree cards.

I know you all are going to come up with some fabulous button creations too!  You have all month to enter your projects for a chance to win a great prize from our sponsor, Scrapbook Unique!  Click HERE to check out more details and upload your button project.


Happy Mother's Day

To all you moms out there...Happy Mother's Day!  I hope your day is extra special!  It is a gorgeous day here...we are still waiting for number 3 to arrive (should be any day now).


Unique Crafters Challenge #3 - Ribbon & Fibers

Happy May!  This month over at the Unique Crafters Challenge the theme is ribbon and fibers.  I know a lot of you out there have a huge stash of ribbon, so dig in and come up with some creative ribbon/fiber projects to enter into this month's challenge!  :)  You could win some great crafting goodies, from our sponsor Scrapbook Unique, or a chance to be a guest designer...how fun is that?! 

For this challenge, I decided to create something new (to me)...a magic/princess wand.  Having only boys, I don't usually create extra girly projects but this idea came to me and I thought it would be a fun way to create with ribbon.

First, I wrapped a pencil with ribbon.  Then I used my cuttlebug to cut a glitter paper circle and covered the back edge with double sided tape.  I then carefully created loops with the ribbon around the circle and cut several coordinating ribbons to hang down at the bottom.  I finished it off with a chipboard heart covered in glitter paper and some glitter thickers.

I had a lot of fun with this project and can't wait to see what you come up with for the Unique Crafters Ribbon Challenge this month!  Enter your projects HERE.  You have until May 31st and can enter up to three projects.

Have a wonderful week!  It will probably be a little quiet here on my blog for the next two months as we are expecting our newest little one any time now!  Thanks for stopping by!


Sending Hugs and Kisses

Happy Friday everyone!  We are taking it easy at home today as my youngest has a bad cold.  So, I thought I'd take a moment to share a card I made recently.  I was playing around with my twine and came up with this fun idea...

I am heading into the final few weeks of my pregnancy and am looking forward to meeting our newest little one and finding out if we are having another sweet boy or our first girl.  I'm feeling pretty good...just tired.   I haven't quite accomplished all that I had hoped to before the baby's arrival but I have made excellent progress with updating our photo albums and creating some layouts.  I'm hoping to get a little more done in these next few weeks...wish me luck! :)

Have a wonderful weekend!  And if you happen to get some crafting time in...there is still time to play in the Unique Crafters challenge - paper flowers.  Click HERE to check it out!


Legoland Layout

Happy Saturday!  We are having some gorgeous weather here in the Northwest...can't wait to head outside!  Last summer we enjoyed a lovely vacation to San Diego, CA and had a ton of fun at Legoland.  If you have kids and haven't been...I highly recommend it.  Plus while you're down there you can enjoy Sea World, The Wild Animal Park, & San Diego Zoo too!  Here's a fairly simple layout I created to document our trip to Legoland.

I used bright Lego colors, BoBunny double dot paper, and of course LEGOS!  I also used Papertrey Ink's ticket die to create the bottom border and then separated the tickets and turned them vertically to create the title and accent the pictures a little.  I really love how this turned out...unfortunately it didn't get picked up for the magazine call I submitted it to.  :(

Such great memories!  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  Thanks for stopping by!


This is what Love looks like...

Hello friends!  I hope your Easter weekend is off to a lovely start!  We headed to the zoo yesterday (4 hours walking around ended up being a bit much for my 8 month pregnant self...but we had lots of fun) and have been having beautiful weather.  I am looking forward to a quiet day at home today and some nice family time tomorrow.

I just wanted to pop in and share a layout I created recently...

Happy Easter!


Unique Crafters Challenge #2 - Paper Flowers

Happy April to you all!  Since it's the start of a new month, Unique Crafters has a great new challenge beginning.  This month the theme is paper flowers.  My favorite way to use paper flowers is to cut them out of patterned paper...that way they totally coordinate with the collection I am working with (plus I don't have to go searching through lots of flowers to find the right ones).  I thought this collection by My Mind's Eye was perfect for documenting my special Mother's Day last year.

Now I hope you are as excited as I am to participate in this challenge...I can't wait to see what you all come up with!  And you have the whole month to submit your creations.  Click the logo below to head on over to the challenge blog site to see the rest of the Design Team's creations and to link up your own for the challenge.  You'll have a chance to win a great prize from our sponsor, Scrapbook Unique!



Going Digital - Baby Shower Invitation and Ideas

So, for awhile now I have been tempted to try some digital scrapbooking.  Don't get me wrong...I love the traditional paper and glue and getting my hands involved in the creative process.  But I've been thinking that some digital pages now and then might allow me to capture more moments.  So, I finally was inspired enough by my upcoming baby shower to see if I could create a digital invitation.  I looked at lots of cute ideas on Etsy and then found some great free digital kits to play with.  And I came up with this!

I am really happy with how this turned out.  Although I definitely will need to practice a lot for digital scrapbooking to really become a time saving alternative for me.  :)

All of these fabulous images are from an adorable kit called Sunny Days by Just Jaimee which you can download for free on her site if you want to try out digital scrapbooking.  A huge thank you to Jaimee for allowing me to use these great images she designed to create a invitation that I absolutely love! :)

And how fun would it be to then have rainbow, cloud, and sun decor for the actual baby shower.  I was thinking about some of these:

This last photo is a fun idea for favors by Nature Favors on Etsy...they are little seed balls that are filled with wildflowers.  I love how she wraps them to look like tissue paper flowers already in bloom!

And I thought these plates might be cute too!
Just had to share!  Have wonderfully, colorful day!

I'm planning to stay home with my boys and clean house today...maybe I'll find some time to create a traditional layout too!


Fall Fun Layout

Hello all!  I am in my last trimester and am full of energy to get things done around the house...yeah!  I have also been making time to catch up on my scrapbooking.  I am using submission calls to really help motivate me with the hope that at least one or two might get picked up! :)  This one, however, did not so I thought I would share it with all of you.

Also, I wanted to remind you all that you still have time to play in the first Unique Crafters Challenge to win a fabulous prize!!!  Check out all the details HERE.
Thanks for stopping by...I'm off to get more done!  :)


i heart faces challenge - Beautiful Black and White

Hello all!  I heart faces is starting a new monthly challenge and the theme this month is beautiful black and white.  My mother recently had a milestone birthday which we celebrated and this is one of my favorite photos that came from that day.

The beauty to me in this photo is the emotion I can feel when I look at it and the love between mother and son.

Be sure to stop by the i heart faces blog HERE to see all the other beautiful black and white photos.


Unique Crafters Challenge - Anything Goes!

It's March 1st and that means it is time for the first Unique Crafters Challenge!  The challenge is open to all kinds of paper crafters and this month's theme is Anything Goes, which means you can let your creativity go wild!  You have plenty of time to complete your creation because the deadline for the challenge is the last day of the month.  And you are definitely going to want to play along for your chance to win an AMAZING prize pack worth $200 from our sponsor Scrapbook Unique!!!  Now I know I have your attention!  :)

Since March is my birthday month, I was feeling celebratory and created this fun birthday card!

For all of you out there who don't have a fancy die cut machine...all the embellishments on this card were hand cut.  I designed the banners and cake myself.  For the confetti I used a small hole punch.  All of the paper is from BoBunny and the small circle letters are My Mind's Eye.  I popped the cake and purple banner up on foam squares for dimension.

Now I hope you are as excited as I am to participate in this challenge!  I can't wait to see what you all come up with!  Click the logo below to head on over to the challenge blog site to see the rest of the Design Team's creations and to link up your own for the challenge!


And if you happen to live near the Lenexa, Kansas area be sure to visit Scrapbook Unique!

 I know that I really miss my local scrapbook store.  I loved going in to look at all the great new products and chat with fellow paper crafters.  Buying online just isn't the same.  Support your local scrapbook store!  :)