Archive for July, 2010

Fun Brownies

I bought a Slice Solutions Brownie pan at the local craft store. I was able to use a 40% off coupon. I made the brownies according to the box directions. I have made cakes from scratch but never brownies. I followed  pan directions and when they were ready to go into the oven I added chocolate chips to a third of the brownies, sprinkles to a third and crushed Oreos to the last third.


I cooked them according to the directions. I let them cool and then arranged them. The kids loved them and enjoyed finding out which topping was their favorite. The possibilities are endless.

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It seems like every corner of my house needs to be decluttered and organized. I am a little bit disorganized and a little bit hoarder. Yikes!! This has been a lifelong battle. I came across this challenge and I thought let’s start small… the kid’s craft area. It’s such a mess that I think I do crafts less with the kids because I don’t want to look in and I can’t find anything.

So here it is the finished product.

 A little tip I have for the painting supplies. I bought a plastic tablecloth on clearance at Kmart and I put it on the floor. I think preschoolers and toddlers love to paint that way. I found a bin big enough to hold the painting supplies and the tablecloth. I also put my daughter’s paint shirt in the bin too.


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You have a vacation planned. How do you save money while you’re there?

1.) Kids meals: I got tired of paying for expensive kids meals at restaurants. They always seem to charge more at tourist hot spots (six dollars for chicken nuggets and fries). We get kid friendly food for the house and make the kids meals and we order out for ourselves at different restaurants. That way the kids get what they like and mom and dad can try out the local cuisine. The other benefit is the kids are end up getting fruits and veggies instead of fries and nuggets. One of the kids favorites is chicken salad rolled in a tortilla and I’ll pair that with carrots and grapes. Also, we are not paying for tips and drinks. We easily save thirty dollars a day doing this.

2.) Activities: Do some advance research on your location. Websites will often have a free activity section. If it doesn’t have a free activities section do a search for “free activities in XX”. You never know what you’ll find. Do you have a membership to a local zoo or museum? See if they have a reciprocal agreement with places where you will be going. Sometimes you can get in free or you can get a discount.

4.) Supplies: If we are going away I try to pick up nonperishable snacks and other items in the weeks before we go away. It’s a great way to spread out the cost and it lets you purchase you supplies when they are on sale.

See Budget Travel part one


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This cute summer decoration didn’t cost me a thing. I had a flower holder that I bought years ago that I had taken down and had stuffed in a box.

I spray painted it with the Krylon Oil Rubbed Satin that was left over from the deck chairs.

I then added sunflowers that I bought for a wreath but never used. I hung it on front porch. Maybe I’ll make that wreath. I have a lot of craft supplies and home decorations hanging around the house that I just don’t use. I’m thinking they would look better out than stuffed in a box somewhere.  

Do you have things that you either need to get rid of or repurpose?

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There’s still time to take a vacation this year.  Even if money is tight you still might be able to go away.

1.) Are you’re kids young? Consider going off season to a beach area. The prices of house rentals drop once the kids go back to school.

2.) Check vacation rental sites, if the week is approaching and the house has not been rented yet they sometimes drop the rates. You can also email an agency to see if they will drop the rate on a house if you see that it is still available.

3.) Plan to stay for a mini-week. Hotels sometimes offer a discount if you are staying Sunday to Thursday. They tend to be a little slower on those days.

4.) Stay at home option. Join a local zoo, museum and botanical center. You will have activities for the week and you can visit for the rest of the year. To keep costs down pack you own lunch.


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My son wanted to have a Harry Potter birthday party. We decided that he could invite three friends to watch the first Harry Potter movie. I didn’t do a lot of advance planning because it was a small party. I chose to make a Hogwarts cake. I had made a pink castle cake for my daughter’s birthday so I figured I could pull it off. (Note to self: it might be easier if you try to make the cake more than three hours before the event.) I had a little mishap with the cake because I tried to shape it before it was cooled. I hope you like the results.

Here is the castle cake under construction.

For the goodie bags I took white paper bags from target and scalloped the ends and folded them over. I then stamped yellow stars and blue wands. I filled them with some candy, glow stick wands from the Dollar Store and magic tricks.

I set up a snack bar for the kids. I bought popcorn boxes and filled them with popcorn. I also served drinks and candy at the snack bar. Later, the kids got to eat pizza while watching the movie.

The kids had lots of fun watching the movie together. They are all Potter fans!! It was so fun listening to the giggle and laugh as they watched the movie.

Today my son turns nine. I can’t believe how much he has grown in the last few years.

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I wanted to spiff up the old deck chairs. We bought a set 11 years ago when we added a deck to the house. We purchased 6 chairs and a table  on clearance at Wal-Mart for about a hundred dollars. Needless to say they are a little old and faded. I’d love to get a new set but there is always a vacation that year or something we need more.

I spray painted them with Krylon Oil Rubbed Bronze. I noticed after that it is an indoor paint so I hope that being under a gazebo will help protect them.

That looks better already. Then add the cushions and it’s a whole new chair. I only did this to four of the chairs. The other two are currently reside on the front porch. I also painted the table. Total cost of project: cushions- $40.00 and paint:-$8.00 = $48.00 

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