Secrets of a savvy scrapper. Part one.

Hi everyone!! It's been a long while since my last post around here. There's been much going on in the real world.

We started and finished our playroom remodel - before and after photos to come. The kids and I started school in late August. Sawyer is at daycare/preschool during the day; Harper is a kindergartener this year, and I am working on my third year as a Master's student. I'll be wrapping up that degree next year, probably around winter. I am and I am not looking forward to that.

In the meantime, Gavin and I started and finished another remodel - our hallway, so that will get its own little post with before and after pics, and now we are beginning our master bedroom remodel. We've started, but it's stalled currently due to the lack of hours/sunlight in the day. Also my school is really kicking into gear with reading assignments, papers due each week, a presentation in a few weeks, and now I'm working on a big class project to develop a poverty simulation game. Eek! Luckily, I love being in school, so it is fun and stressful all at the same time.

For today, I'm sharing a post that I wrote for the Memory Lane Inn blog. Be sure to check them out if you haven't already. I love, love staying at their retreats. I'm looking at the calendar now and thinking about booking for a weekend retreat in December, if I can find some extra time. I'll really need the break from both work and school.

A few months ago I shared a post about how I plan, prep, and pack for a retreat or crop, over at Memory Lane Inn and on my personal blog, I've often talked about how I save money by building my own scrapbook kits and of course, couponing (I'm kind of an amateur coupon queen, or at least I like to think so...).

As of late, my stash is getting pretty thin, and it's probably time to buy some new paper, thickers, washi tape, embellishments and maybe even some scrappy tools. I'm not a scrapbook supply hoarder by any means.  Scrappers that know me on a personal level, know that I get rid of stuff pretty frequently.  When my scrap space feels cluttered I get creative constipation. Seriously. I just said that. I can't get the creativity out.

Believe me, I want to make stuff, and I feel inspired when I look at other people's wonderful work online, but when I'm in a creative rut; it's really hard to get out of it. So I purge and build kits with whatever is leftover, so I can scrapbook easily on the go.  I LOVE to crop. Invite me, and I'll totally be there. I haven't cropped with my girlfriends in a while, and well I'm feeling it. Creative constipation.

Now onto the good stuff. I have a few secrets to share, so this is going to be the first in a series of blogs about shopping for scrapbook supplies. In today's post, I'm going to talk about scrapbook deal a day sites.

These are the sites that I have the most experience with. I've ordered from them, sometimes even spoken to their customer service staff, and over the years, I feel that I've saved money by ordering supplies with them.

1. Crafty Steals

Crafty Steals has been around for a few years. I first stumbled upon them and of course, placed my first of several orders around 2010. Over the years their website has received a facelift, and they've incorporated some other features like a blog and a basics line. They offer a multitude of products such as paper, embellishments, twine, tapes, and tools. Some of the brands they are carry include: American Crafts, October Afternoon, Echo Park, Theresa Collins, and Heidi Swapp, among others. Shipping is flat rate at $5.00.
SECRET: Crafty Steals has their own line of inexpensive products including twine, washi tape, stationary and party decorations. They also give you the option to shop their "past steals" that did not sell out. Additionally, they have a sister site: Simply Steals, another deal a day website that offers home decor, women's fashion and accessories.

2. Peachy Cheap

Peachy Cheap is another online outlet that sells one scrapbook product per day. I found out about them in 2010, and they too recently got a facelift. While they don't offer a blog, they are involved in social media with Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest accounts. Some of the lines they carry are Little Yellow Bicycle, American Crafts (but who doesn't really?), Hazel and Ruby, My Minds Eye, and October Afternoon as well as a host of others. Shipping is a flat $3.99. A steal in my mind. Did I mention that their prices are up to 95% off. Now that is crazy cheap!
SECRET: A Side of Peaches is their sister site. On it you can find VERY inexpensive women's accessories like scarves and jewelry.

3. Pick Your Plum

Now what's with all the fruit?! Pick Your Plum has been a staple of mine since 2012, when I first stumbled upon them on Facebook. Now they don't ALWAYS have scrapbook items per se, but they have a ton of flippin' cute stuff. In addition to fun stationary and home decor (cheap and perfect for scrapbook rooms), they also sell a number of other items per day including women's fashion, children's accessories, and lots of other stuff. It's kind of like a smaller version of Zulily.
SECRET: Pick Your Plum tells you when stock is running low, just pay attention to how many plums are listed in the product information. Also, flat rate shipping is $4.99. Woot!

4. Blitsy

Honestly, I'm only a little familiar with this site. My mom has actually ordered from them more times than I have, so she is the expert. Despite that, I like Blitsy because they offer several steals for a couple days if not more. They are just like Zulily except they offer only craft, scrapbook and other hobby types of products. I've seen a wide range of brands and tools offered up at Blitsy. I'm on the email list, so of course I see it all, all the time. I think the last thing we ordered from them was adhesive pens. They were great and came in a pack, so I still have some that I use even though my order was several months back.
SECRET: Blitsy's sales last an average of 4 days. They sell products for every kind of crafter and artist from paints to organizers, from yarn to duck tape, seriously A LOT of stuff. They also sell craft machines, like the Cricut die cutting machine and cartridges.

5. Scrapbook Steals

Scrapbook Steals is part of the Steals Network. First there was Baby Steals, then there was Kids Steals, and so on and so forth. I've purchased from all of the Steal Network sites except She Steals, but mostly because I've never seen anything that I wanted or needed to buy.  BUT, I have purchased a lot of things from Baby and Kid Steals such as cute shoes for my kiddos, a sweet necklace as a gift to a friend, and tons of other items.  I've also purchased scrappy items including paper and embellishment packs. Brands found at Scrapbook Steals include American Crafts, Little B, Bo Bunny, We R Memory Keepers, Echo Park, My Mind's Eye, Carta Bella, Studio Calico, Xyron,  Tim Holtz and several others.
SECRET: They have a wonderful blog with super talented group of designers to steal inspiration from. Also they have a whole network of Archived Steals.  They have an archive available on each of their steals sites. So go ahead and get that deal or what they refer to as a steal! Oh I almost forgot, shipping rates depend on the item purchased and how fast you want to get it. One item priced at $2.99, shipping was $3.85.

6. Flowers to Flourishes

Now this site has been around a while. I know this because I've been checking out their steals and purchasing since about 2009.  Their style has never changed although I have a theory that if an item doesn't sell out, then they leave it up for a few days until it's gone. Don't quote me on that... I've purchased flowers and collection packs through them, but I've noticed that they carry a lot of Spellbinders dies and Tim Holtz stamps. Those are the times that I've seen featured on the site lately.
SECRET: Nothing special, but this site often sells items that you can find in stores, just a lot cheaper.

Well those are all the secrets that I have to share for one evening. Thanks for reading, and be on the look out in a couple of weeks for another post in this blog series. I'll be talking about local scrapbook supply stores and shops. Now get to scrapping or buying... or BOTH!!

Buying and selling.

So I've picked up my couponing again with Thanks to this site, I'm no longer a coupon clipper (just because I have them); I am now a strategic couponer. I use this site to look up how much I can save at stores in my area. My goal is to save 50-100% off retail prices (per item) when I grocery shop and stockpile items (for later consumption). In addition to that, I price match competitor store flyers at Walmart to get deals on items I would usually be forced to pay full retail, like fruit, produce, bread, eggs, cheese, etc.

After finding out about this site from a swell friend, I did a bit of digging on and watched the Coupon Mom YouTube video which shows you how to use her system. On Saturday morning (8/10), I picked up an early edition newspaper with coupons, labeled them with the date and put them in a shoe box along with my other unclipped coupons from previous weeks (7/27, 8/3). Then I logged into my account (which is totally free) on, and I browsed through deals at Dollar Tree (did you know they accept coupons up to $1.00), Kroger, Walmart, and Walgreens.  While I prefer to shop at CVS over Walgreens since their recent switch to a loyalty card program, I still chose Walgreens because they had the better deals this week with my coupons.

Using the Texas spreadsheets on for each store, I clicked on the items for which I had coupons. Then I created a list on the side of what items I was planning to buy at each store and what items I was going to price match at Walmart to stack with coupons for amazing savings.

My goal right now is to not only feed my family this month, but to also build a stockpile of free and cheap goods, so I can shop within my house rather than shop retail at the store when I need more shampoo, conditioner, body soap, etc.

This weekend my goal was to spend about $95 including tax.

I ended up spending $115. With coupons and price matching I saved $87. So essentially, I paid $115 for $202 worth of groceries, so although I went over my initial budget of $95, I still feel like I made out like a bandit.

You might be wondering what led to the overage, $10 can be big on a tight budget. Well, I didn't take into consideration that some of the prices would be a bit higher at some of my local stores, and my Walmart stopped price matching some of the ads I had (namely, Sprouts, grr). Additionally, I bought a couple of items that we needed and I didn't have coupons or price matches for like white popcorn kernels, etc.
I got all this and more for $115.

Including these 15lb bags of dog food.

This little guys helped mama with groceries.

Let me break down what I got on Saturday; it's a lot, so skip if you're not interested in reading all this:

** - Matched competitor price
# - Used a coupon
^ - Ultra low sale price

#**Sparkle paper towels,
#Quilted Northern toilet paper,
#Hefty sandwich sliders (2)
^Papermate pens
Potatoes (unable to price match)
#^ Cinnamon Toast Crunch
#^Lucky Charms
#**Apple Jacks
#**Frosted Flakes
#^Capri Sun (2)
Hunts sauce (2)
^Hand soap (3)
#Suave Kid's Shampoo
#^ Herbal Essences shampoo/conditioner (2)
#^Panteen shampoo/conditioner (2)
#^Dial body soap (2)
#**Purex Oxi Active
#Hershey's Spreads
#Pure Moist
^Maxwell House coffee
#^Right Guard deodorant (4)
Healing ointment
#Mitchum deodorant
#**Snack Pack pudding
Popcorn kernels (2)
#Crest toothpaste
#^Tampax Pearl
Pop tarts (unplanned purchase)
**Whole milk gallon (2)
18ct. eggs
Sliced deli meat (unable to price match)
#^Eggo waffles (2)
#**Pedigree dog food (2)
Cucumber (unable to price match)
Bell pepper (unable to price match)
5-Hour energy (unplanned purchase)

56 items = $115, that's roughly $2.05 per item.

All in all, I thought these were good buys. It is all stuff that we will use either now or in the future.

So my couponing plan is to:
  • Sit down to review Texas store deals
  • Clip coupons needed for specific deals
  • Spend about $20 per week to stay within my monthly budget as well as stockpile items
With regards to selling. I've been selling off my house and home practically through yard sale groups on Facebook and via Craigslist.  I'm trying to declutter, and we have a lot of stuff that we don't need to keep. Clutter takes up space in your home and life, and I'm all for living a bit more simply. Because we're growing boys and girls, I started with the stack of clothing and shoes that no one can wear in my house.  A lot of it sold, and quick.  Then I moved on to selling some toys.

I'm very honest and direct in my approach to selling. I don't sugar coat, and I don't say, "Asking price is $20 because it retails for $40." I hate when I see that crap. As a buyer, I don't care how much you spent on that item, I am more concerned with how much it currently is, is this something I need, and do I have cash/what's my budget for this item. My key to selling is to price items low. I think about what I would pay for this same item at a garage sale in the condition that it is in. This week alone I've earned $65 that I didn't have by selling a couple toys, kids clothing and shoes, and baby gear.  This weekend more stuff will be going out the door with cash in hand, and that is a good, good feeling.

Just a few items that are still for sale; if you're interested in anything shoot me an email: tinyscrapper at yahoo dot com.

Missoni girls coat 2T/3T - EUC ($15), Loving Family Manor w/ family - EUC ($15)

Sandals, size 5T - GRTC ($3), Sneakers, size 6T - GDC ($3)

Have a lovely night folks, and save and make some extra money this week!!

Playroom Pin-spiration.

Well you've all seen the mess that was the playroom. After relocating all toys, furnishings and random stuff (headless Barbie dolls), GG and I decided that it was time to seriously sort through, purge, and reorganize the kid's stuff.

Honestly, I said I would never be that parent; you know the spoiling kind, but oh, it's so easy to overspoil you kids. You don't even know you're doing it. Gifts for holidays, special occasions, and random things bought on clearance or at the Dollar Tree throughout the years REALLY adds up. Then YOU (actually I), have a huge, overwhelming mess on our hands.

Pictures of our playroom show that everything had a place and a space.  It was a functional room for the kids, but it was kind of always an eye sore for me. Not my favorite room in the house. It desperately needed paint on the walls, ceiling, a new light fixture, and oh that carpet, yeah stains ALL over it. It's' an old house; what else can I say?

Since the big mess that fell from the heavens (or the ceiling), we've been granted the money to actually update this space in a big way.

So I did what every other digital woman does... I pinned. I have finally found  a color scheme, a vision for organization, and all the little details in between, that I believe will make this room, my most favorite room in the house. All I need now is a lot of storage options, seating, a place for the TV and DVD player, a new rug, a functional play table and a new home for the kid's play kitchen.

It all started with the inspiration room that I found on Pinterest designed by Jen of I Heart Organizing.  I'm sure you've seen it as well.

Inspiration Room (I Heart Organizing)
I love everything about this space. The storage/seating area is perfect for small rooms like our 11.5' x 11.5' playroom. We have a great hand-me-down Pottery Barn Farmhouse table and chairs. I plan to paint the top with chalkboard paint as well, such a clever idea. The colors of this room really speak to me as well, but I wanted to go with softer shades. I've decided on aqua, yellow, grey with pops of dark teal. Before actually choosing room colors, we first picked out our new flooring. We went the cheap route and got North Perry Pine (vinyl wood plank) from Lumber Liquidators. It was marked down to $0.79/sq ft. I used an additional 20% off coupon and got 2520 sq ft (my house is 2506 sq ft) for $1725 (after discount and taxes). Yeah my husband and I saved a ton by choosing a much more resilient flooring than traditional wood or laminate. AND we got enough of it to cover the ENTIRE house. There will be a lot of weekends of tearing up old carpet, prepping floors, and laying down our new tile, but it will be worth it come next year when all of our flooring is installed.
Floor (Lumber Liquidators), Fan (Amazon), Bins (Walmart)
Our new ceiling fans (bought 5 of these beauties...) will go in all of the bedrooms (including playroom) and the scrap room. Hunter is a wonderful brand, and these were discounted at Amazon to $69.95 each, yes another awesome steal! The grey design bins will go in our new cube storage from Walmart (just like Ikea, just cheaper with great reviews).
Soft Mint (Benjamin Moore), Galvanized Bin (Walmart)
 This beautiful paint was the inspiration for the walls in the playroom. I went super cheap though and bought a gallon of "oops" paint at Home Depot. It is Glidden and the name is chipped off, so I can't figure the name. It is very similar to the above color, perhaps more aqua with more blue in it. Still VERY close and for only $9.00 I couldn't pass it up. Also I love the BHG Galvanized bin for taller toys like the Stars Wars light sabers and swords that we have.
Lamp (Target), Toss Pillow (Target)
 Of course no room is complete without a beautiful, cheap lamp ($25), and love decor. I love, love this yellow pillow.
Toss Pillow (Target), Rug (Target)
 And I have plans to sell off our freshly, professionally cleaned green shag rug and replace it with this yellow gem. The Target toss pillow really inspired me to change my color scheme to include only aqua, dark teal, grey, and yellow, so, stinkin' cute.
Playroom Closet, Bookshelf (Walmart, Ikea)
In our playroom, which is a bedroom (technically), we will have storage in our closet similar to this. We have shelving almost identical now, but we plan to move the shelves and make space for the play kitchen to have a home.  Additionally, we plan to buy one of these BHG 8-Cube Organizer (like Ikea, but cheaper alternative), to hold books, bins, TV and lamp.
Floting Shelvesa, Art Supply Storage
Last but not least, we have a cheap bookshelf that I plan to repurpose as art supply storage with plastic shoe boxes and these wonderful hanging galvanized tins (I own all this already), just going to pretty it up a bit. I'm thinking a beautiful dark teal on the white bookshelf. It could use some prettying up.

Well that's the plan. Our room will take a different shape, VERY similar to the inspiration room. The cube storage will come from Walmart and fit perfectly in the space. I have it all measured out.

I can't wait to start slapping paint on the walls. Tonight we are going to texture the ceiling. Once that's done, we'll remove the current light fixture and get to town painting that sucker. I LOVE white ceilings. Makes low (8ft) ceilings like ours seem more open and taller.

On another note, I've been spending a lot of time organizing in my head.... putting toys in their various baskets. I plan to make some pretty little labels to make it easy to keep clean too (just like the inspiration room). I mean we will have 16 storage cubes to fill (the other 4 will hold books) - so this is how I plan to organize them:

1. Cars
2. Large Legos/Duplos
3. Blocks
4. Barbie
5. Little people
6. Disney figurines
7. Dora play set
8. Loving family
9. Action figures
10. Dinosaurs
11. Animals
12. Puzzles
13. Foam blocks
14. Wooden toys
15. Educational toys

 Under the Farmhouse table will be a large bin that holds train stuff.

The bottom floor of the closet will have the kitchen and our 3 tiered rolling cart next to it. I plan to house kitchen food/plates, baby dolls/accessories, and misc. dress up items (keys, wallets, money, cards, jewelry) in those bins. If there is enough room, I'd like to place hooks on the side to hang dress up clothes.

The second shelf in the closet will hold our Little People playsets, doll houses, and small lego bin.

The third shelf in the room will have stuff animals that we refuse to get rid of - all the Disney stuff pretty much. WE love Disney at our house.

The small bookshelf will be repainted and house markers/pencils, crayons, scissors/glue/paintbrushes, and chalk in little hanging pails. Coloring books, drawing pads and paper will be housed in magazine holders, and clear shoe boxes will hold stamps, paints, craft supplies, and art supplies.

That's all folks. Our playroom pin-spiration. I hope you feel just as inspired to organize and update rooms in your house on a thin budget. I plan to post more pictures of the room in progress as well. Just need to get my camera hooked up to the ipad. Forgot to do that today.

Frugal finds at Amazon, Tanga and Target.

So you all know that I am all about saving a buck, and I like to share these savings with my friends and family.

Amazon has daily deals. Most of you see them pop up in my Facebook feed. Today only, certain Fossil handbags, wallets, and other accessories are 50% off. Super cute stuff folks. Not kidding.

Fossil Keyper Travel Tote ($49) - Amazon

Last week my friend introduced me to Tanga. It is a flash steal site similar to Woot!, GroopDealz, and Zulilly. Today was my first experience buying from them. I bought a beautiful Stainless Steel Ring with Brushed Finish and Beveled Edges for $4.99 (reg. price $99.95). Good deal, right? I bought two, just to be on the safe side with sizing. I am SO glad I heard about this site. I am fortunate that my husband has his original wedding band, but this wedding band is just so much more masculine and fits his personality more, so I wanted him to have it. Would you believe we are about to celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary? Yep, in just a few short weeks. Love you mister!
Total spent: $8.98 + free shipping

And, last night I hit up our local Target. I heard from a little birdie that they introduced their up to 70% off clearance on toys.  Although our local Target was pretty much cleaned out by 6:00 pm, I found a few steals, and they honored a local promotion of "All Toys Buy One, Get One 40%" - so awesome!! I picked up just a few things.

Barbie style head, Belle swimg doll, Nerf girls gun and goggles, Star Wards puzzle, Superman playset, and 2 dollar section finds.

I didn't pay anything close to regular price.
Total: $21.90
I used my Target debit card to shave off an additional 5% off the already super low prices, and I ended getting all of these splendid future Christmas gifts for $21.90Seriously!! STEAL of the century and probably one of the best deals I've received in a long time. Like, seriously. The Superman Playset alone was regularly priced $27.99. Right? These were great finds. And, yes, I had to hunt the kids toys for about an hour to find all of these amazing deals, but my kids were happy, and I was too. I did have to tell Harper that all these toys are for her cousins (little white lie). She'll be so surprised on Christmas morning, and I also have gifts for upcoming birthday parties.

I just wanted to share my wonderfully frugal finds from this week. I've also picked up my couponing again, so hopefully this weekend I'll get a good deal or two on groceries. Of course, I'll share my deals with everyone.

Looking forward to some free fun tonight at our local Barnes & Noble. They are having Olaf story and craft time. This should be so AWESOME. Some folks are worth melting for... like my babies.

Hugs all!! Enjoy the weekend!

School uniforms and frugal finds.

Uniforms can be quite expensive. This being our first year (and experience) with buying uniforms, I've been hunting high and low for the best bargain. Although I've found inexpensive pieces here and there (Goodwill, garage sales, Once Upon a Child), we do not have an established supply of uniform pieces, you know, tops, bottoms, jumpers, etc.

So I had this goal in mind that I would buy an entire summer/fall uniform wardrobe for less than $100, but I think that might've been too lofty; now my goal is to establish a full wardrobe (on sale and with coupons, of course) and a backpack for less than $150.

I'm doing good on my new goal.

I began Harper's wardrobe with three khaki jorts that I picked up from a local 'online' garage sale group. A cute navy jumper dress from Goodwill, and a pair of 'classic' khakis from Once Upon a Child. Total: $9.25

Today, I saw that Children's Place had specials running on their uniforms, plus an extra 30% off $60 or more (off everything in the store) with this code: savemore3, so I picked up: five ruffle uniform polo shirts, two skinny uniform pants, two crew neck cardigan sweaters, two uniform shorts, and two pairs of modesty shorts.

My total today was $86.73 plus tax. Shipping was free, whee! Harper still needs a windbreaker/rain coat and a khaki jumper dress. I saw that these were on sale at Walmart; downside is that I have to pay $5 in shipping, yuck! Why won't they ship to store? Just not sure. Definitely going to get the coat because it is marked down quite a bit, but I think I'll wait on the jumper. I'm sure I can buy one off someone or find one at Goodwill for cheaper than this price.

If you are trying to buy school uniforms on the cheap. I know that Walmart has a sale on their gear (polos are $21 per 4 pack, shorts are $7) as does Old Navy (polos are $5/each, pants are $10). The prices are comparable to the discounted prices I received today with Children's Place. To add to it, I love that Children's Place will accept/exchange my returns if they don't fit; their pants and shorts have adjustable belt loops, which is important to moms of skinny minis. It helps that I had some rewards points to use, and the quality of their clothing is great, IMO.

Thanks for reading today, and here is a lovely pic of the fam from a date with the local farmers market a few weekends ago (before I dyed my hair red). I used a fun filter on these photos, not sure now much I like it though. Hm.

School supplies and frugal finds.

I'm all about saving a buck, whether its on groceries, clothing, school supplies, you name it.

Despite all that, I've been really lazy about hunting down a deal and jumping on it. I mean to say that I haven't couponed in a long time (like 6 months), which is horrible, and I have no one to blame but myself. This is my confession (makes you think of that song, right?). I do continue to price match from time to time, but I found that I was spending too much time hunting down, printing and organizing coupons, so I just took a break, a long one.
Because Harper starts school in a month, I figured it was time to start stocking up on school supplies and uniforms the frugal way.  I found her list on the school website as well as a uniform list. Then I searched for upcoming discounts with the help of Moms By Heart

Tonight I found some pretty cheap prices (good through Saturday, July 26) at Office Depot and Staples. Some of the prices were not the cheapest (the notebooks at Walmart were $0.25, hindsight is 20/20), but they seemed good at the time, so I purchased them anyway. Also, did you know that Staples offers a 100% Price Match Guarantee. Yeah, I didn't realize till I mentioned something was cheaper in the Office Depot ad, and they gave it to me for that price, crazytown.

Additionally, our teachers are looking for extra Kleenex, a binder and a writing tablet.

Not all everything she needs, but almost everything for less than $10.00.
White Glue, Bottle
1 @ $0.25
One Subject, Notebook
2 @ $0.40

Total: $1.05 + tax

Pencils, 12CT
1 @ $0.68
Pencil Box
1 @ $1.00
2-Pocket Folder
1 @ $0.15
Composition Notebook
2 @ $0.50
Glue Sticks, 4PK
1 @ $1.25
Crayola Crayons, 24CT
2 @ $0.50 -- FREE because the guy didn't ring these up apparently, oops!
Crayola Colored Construction Paper, 96CT
2 @ $2.00

Total: $8.08 + tax

Roseart Markers, 10CT
1 @ $0.77

Total: $0.77 + tax

**Side note, I don't know what happened at Staples with the crayons. I put everything on the counter, and I even saw him ring them up. He had to update my receipt to do the price match guarantee on the construction paper ($2 @ Office Depot), so I'm not sure how the crayons were overlooked. I feel kind of bad about it, but I did not even catch the mistake till I looked at my receipt when I got home. Eek!! At least it was only $1, I guess.**

Well all in all, I spent about $9.90 + tax on Harper's school supplies. Now all I have left to buy is Kleenex, manila paper, a 1/2 inch binder with pockets, a folder with brads, scissors, water color paints, ziploc bags, writing tablet, and baby wipes.

My goal is to spend $20 or less on Harper's school supplies.

My next goal is to buy Harper school uniforms and a backpack for less than $100. Uniforms and backpacks can be expensive, but I am confident that I can get a good deal by shopping at Walmart and by using coupons, we'll see. Thus far I've picked up a jumper dress (Goodwill), three skorts (garage sale), and a pair of khaki pants (Once Upon a Child) all for less than $8.00, so I am on a roll.

I forgot to mention that the Once Upon a Child in our area was having a 70% off clearance sale, so I bought two shirts, a sweater, and shorts for Sawyer (fall/winter apparel) and a shirt, a dress and khakis (summer/fall/winter apparel) for only $10.79. I just love a steal, don't you?

Do you have an action plan when it comes to stocking up on school supplies and clothing for the upcoming year? How do you save a buck on these items? Do you frequent garage sales, Goodwill and other discount outlets for steals? I'm always looking for new ways to save money. I'd love to hear your strategies for saving.

What's going on...

What's going on... what's going on... - such a fab song. Don'tcha think?

I haven't had a lot of free time lately. Well that's not completely true. I did just spend 5 wonderful days with friends and family scrapbooking at Memory Lane Inn, but I was "working" on scrapbooking, so not much "free time," if you know what I mean.

While on my wonderful retreat, I shared a "how to" Plan, Prepare and Pack for a Scrapbook Retreat over at the MLI blog. In addition, on Monday my mish-mash, scraproom on the cheap was featured over at Blissful and Domestic for Danielle's series on Creating a Beautiful Life on Less. It was truly an amazing opportunity. I am so glad that Danielle asked to feature my room because it is important for others to see that craft rooms are not always perfect. Most of them are not professionally designed, and they are not always the purdiest. They are places where memory making (and craft making) magic happens, and they get messy and are often a thrown-together mish-mash, like my room, which is still a work in progress. Would you believe that I am getting new flooring in there? I know it's all kinds of crazy in my house, and I am only getting updated flooring because of a mess of stuff that just came through the ceiling, literally.

In June, we celebrated Sawyer's 2nd birthday. We had a sweet Mickey Mouse themed splash birthday party. It was a wonderful day for hot dogs, swimming, sprinklers, cupcakes and cookies. Our family likes to do birthdays on the cheap, so with a couple of tarps, old sprinklers and a pool, fun was had by all.
Cookies are from TSCookies on Etsy

Cupcakes from local friend and cake decorator Tiffnie Schindler

July has also been quite an eventful month. We spent some wonderful quality time together at Dinosaur World in Glen Rose, TX.  It is a great little park, where kids big and small can see almost life size dinosaur statues, find gemstones, and dig for dinsosaur bones.

Then we had a lovely time watching fireworks with my family and friends on Independence Day.

A few days later, a small leak began in our playroom. It started as a dripping bubble, so we punctured the bubble and repaired the leak to keep it from happening again. The next day the AC stopped working, so we called in our home warranty, and they sent someone to the house. On Thursday, the ceiling in the playroom completely caved in, I guess from the weight of the wet insulation and the leak that had spread across the ceiling. It was a nightmare!! We've been very fortunate that our insurance is working with us despite our very high deductible. I didn't realize it was so high or else I would've changed that ages ago.

Just a few tidbits about my home... in the past year (since January 2014), we've fixed a foundation leak,  replaced our hot water heater, dealt with a burst pipe and flood in the carpeted bedrooms and hallway, installed brand-new insulation in the attic, resealed a broken toilet ring, fixed a leaky sink faucet, replaced a broken shower head, and now we are going to replace all the carpeting in the house, replace the lost insulation from the leak, fix the GAPING hole in the ceiling, paint the walls/trim, and our house will be practically brand new.  The next thing to go is the AC; I am well aware of this. Hopefully this won't happen for at least another year because honestly, we absolutely cannot afford to do that ANYTIME soon. 

Our home is such a blessing and our shelter, but this year it has also been a real money pit too.

Goodness, it just feels good to vent about this big mess. Eek.