This is where I get scrap happy.

Scrapbook room, scrap room, craft room, creative space, crop spot.

Call it what you will, but I am LOVING my updated scrap room.  Thing is, my scrapbook room is always a work in progress.  I freely admit that I have more fun organizing and rearranging my creative space than actually playing in it. Silly I know, but I like organizing. I also love scrapbook stuff, so it marries two of my passions.

My scrapbook room is a place where I go to unwind and get crafty. I have nine finished scrapbooks, and I am always working on new layouts.

So this is my scrap space. I have a dresser that houses tools, extra storage, fabric, washi tape, tags and extra adhesive. It also holds my Canon Selphy and Silhouette Cameo as well as a knock off Clip it Up from Hobby Lobby. My Ikea Expedit 4x4 bookshelf keeps cardstock and pattern paper on display with Display Dynamics ; punches, ribbon, stamps, and embellishments organized in locker baskets; scrapbook kits, finished albums, magazines, inspiration books, and other stuff. I keep a number of chick flicks on hand to watch on my new (to me) TV - would you believe I only spent $40 on this flat-panel Westinghouse? A steal, I know! I also keep all my photos organized in Iris Photo Keepers on the three-tiered wired shelf. That is also where I keep my sewing machine and Cuttlebug
This is what you see when you first step into my house.
In my updated room, I have a small sitting area.
I like to organize my Thickers by color. I keep kit leftovers on this 3-tiered plate stand.
A very full Ikea Expedit. The new system is called Kallax. My favorite craft movies, 
and who doesn't love to zone out with some Super Mario Bros. now and again?
A closer peak, the bottom shelf has locker baskets with ribbon, punches, stamps
and embellishments.
Old magazines. I hate that everything is digital now, but I'd hate for them to
go away entirely, so I'll take what I can get and won't throw a fit.
Buttons in a colander, crepe streamers in vintage Pyrex, and 6x6 pads, handmade
cards and other stuff from my travels and experiences to be scrapbooked
are housed in this vintage card organizer.
I finally invested in a tool carousel, and I keep brads in this little vintage Pyrex bowl.
This small drawer holds used Thickers without the packaging, and I keep
scrapbook kits that I've purchased or designed myself in this rubbermaid tote.
To keep clutter at bay, I put large kit leftovers in this yellow basket as well as my
most used and loved tools, scissors, pens, pencils and my handy stapler.
 On either side of the dresser, I have Iris Storage. The right set houses the kids
scrapbook and craft stuff. The one of the left holds Christmas/Holiday and Disney
kits as well as large format pictures and recently finished scrap layouts.
I keep extra tools in the dresser, like paper trimmers, a big bite, and
xyron sticker makers. 
I keep inks, mists, washi tape, tags, twine, and various adhesives in
these blue baskets (4 for $1 @ Dollar Tree).
Here you'll see all the fabric, that I don't know how to sew. Owning a sewing
machine does not mean I know how to use it.
Last but not least, what I am currently working on. Such a sweetie this little guy.
I hope you enjoyed the tour of my scrapbook room. Like I said, it is definitely a work in progress. Some of the things I would like to update include the lighting in this space as well as the paint on the walls, ceiling, and trim. I prefer neutrals, and well the whole atmosphere can be rather yellow in this room, making it hard to color match at night when I find the most time for my hobby.

As you can see, I also like to collect colorful vintage here and there (flea markets are my fave), so it is nice to be able to show off those pieces on a blank canvas.  And just if you're curious, there was a lot of art on display in this room. I am IN LOVE with Ping IrvinShe often comes to the Arts and Jazz Festival in Denton, and this is where my husband and I buy her prints. Her original art is AMAZING, beautiful, and it really speaks to me. It is just so unique, and I love her color palettes and beautiful imagery. Each year my husband and I buy a new fine art print from her. 

Have a great night folks, I hope that this little peek into my scrapbook world has inspired you to get to crafting or maybe even organizing! It's so much fun!

*This blog post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links I may be compensated.

Fancy fathers. Dancing daughter.

Happy ultra-belated Father's Day to all the men out there who raise children, who wipe snot boogies, who change diapers, who go to work, who support their spouses, who parent alone, who tie shoelaces, who scare all the monsters away, who kill household bugs, who plunge toilets and take out the trash, who wash the car, who mow the lawn, who always take care of business.

Being a Daddy is a tough job, but it is the most rewarding and valuable one that you will ever work to fulfill.

I am truly thankful for the fathers in my life. Without them I would not be where I am today: a grateful mother, a humble college graduate, and an all around sane person (most of the time).
My dad with Sawyer and my husband, GG.

I love my dad, Kevin Sr. so much! He taught me to never give up on my dreams, that family is always first and education is second, then comes all the rest. He is my role model. He served in the military, then went on to become a police officer. He completed two associate's degrees, two bachelor's degrees, and now he is finishing up his master's degree, all while supporting a family of six (eight including their dogs)! I can always lean on him for support and guidance. He is the best grandpa too.

And, I am so, so, so blessed to have GG in my life. Without him I would not be the mother that I am, and I would not have had the opportunity to finish school and continue on with my graduate degree after our babies were born. He is my rock and support. He loves his children dearly, and they love him (even more than me, I think). I love you Gavin, even more than words can express, and I am forever grateful that you chose me to be your partner in life and in parenthood. Goodness knows that no one could put up with my shenanigans quite like you do. Hugs baby.

Last weekend was terrific. Harper had her first ballet/tap recital, and completed her first official year of dance. It was rough sometimes getting to class on time with a fretful girl, who just didn't feel like dancing. Other times, she was elated to see her friends and play freeze dance. I think it was a great year, and we are so blessed to dance with such an amazing organization: Denton Dance Conservatory
Harper got a beautiful "rose" from her doting grandparents.

Harper is to the left of the tall girl in the middle. She's a star.
Harper was so proud of her accomplishment after her recital. She loved seeing all the big girls in their grown up point shoes and tutus. All of the dancers performed well, and the whole show was really terrific. Congrats dancers on another stellar performance!

We spent Father's Day with the Cooper family and Aunt Megan at Sixflags. As Texas summers go, it was very HOT and humid. We enjoyed several rides, slides, misters, and even a couple coasters. Too bad at the end of the day someone stole my good friend's cell phone. That was not cool. Not cool at all.
Bathroom breaks and sunscreen time.

Nice pose dad and trying on hats with mama.

The Watson family and Sylvester showed up just in time.

Cooling off under the by the misters.

Wonder Woman and our first ride of the day, a coaster.
Despite the phone casualty, we had a wonderful day with friends and family. It was a great Father's day weekend.

I forgot to mention this, but the kids and I spent Friday evening organizing Lita's (my mom) scrapbook room. It was a lot of work, but she was able to empty about 12 iris containers that will go up for sale online soon (that's a lot of scrap). She is donating all her extra 12x12 papers and embellishments to Denton Scrap, a non-profit organization in Denton to get kids and adults crafting outside of the box.

AND, this week baby Sawyer turned two! I guess he's not a baby any longer. I'll post pictures of his awesome Mickey Mouse themed splash party next week.
Happy Birthday sweet boy!

 Also, I rearranged my scrapbook room, reorganized my scrap drawers and storage unit as well as installed a new (to me) TV. It is awesome. I will do an entire post with lots of pictures next week. Just a little sneak for now.
Always a work in process; I'm super excited for the new TV.

Cut the cord on cable and save money, big time.

Many of you have heard our tale of cutting the cord on cable and getting on board with saving money by investing in a Roku. A lot of folks ask me questions and wonder if they could really cut the cord, so to speak.

Well it's very easy, and it was one of the BEST INVESTMENTS that I ever made. I mean, seriously BEST INVESTMENT because not only do I save money each month by not paying for the high cost of cable/satellite, but I also spend more time with my family, and I pay closer attention to what my children are watching.

So I'm going to provide steps to saving money, but first my story:

GG and I were spending more than $200 (almost $300) per month for cable/internet/cell phone with AT&T U-Verse. I thought we were saving money at the time because we had discounts, free movie channels, and it was bundled, so I was truly saving, right? Totally WRONG.

We were in the process of selling our house, and I told my husband that if we ended up buying a house that was larger with (possibly) larger utility bills and such, then we would have to cut something out, so we decide to cut the cord on our cable.

I researched internet services in our new hometown and found that Charter had the best deal for $30/month. I set up time for the installation and purchased a wifi-router since I didn't own one. The one we had came with our U-Verse package, so I paid $8/month to rent our router for like 2-3 years, so about $288 over time, yikes! I bought one for $109 at Walmart, and done. I don't have to pay for another one until this one burns out. I've already saved some money for the future with one investment up front. --> There are less expensive routers out there, but I needed one with a high frequency to emit across our 2700 sq. ft. home. Big house = more power and longer reach wifi frequency = more expensive. Here are some cheaper options and mine: Netgear Rangemax, TP-Link Wireless N300, and Netgear N600 Dual Band Gigabit (that's the one I own).

Next, I cut the cable at our old house, so we had no TV or internet for a couple of days. We went to the library and borrowed some books and movies to tie us over while we moved stuff into our new (to us) home.

The first week that we moved in, I signed us up for Netflix ($9/month), Hulu Plus ($9/month), and Amazon Prime ($99/year) which includes Amazon Instant Video. Each of these services offers a FREE trial-offer time period to see if you even like their services, and well I fell in love RIGHT AWAY with all the tv shows and movies as well as the perk of 2-day shipping from Amazon.

I also invested in our Roku. I chose the Roku 2 XD ($56) because it was the latest model at the time, but I know friends and family who prefer the Roku Streaming Stick ($49), which is kind of the latest and greatest.

On our Roku we are able to stream our paid monthly subscriptions to Netflix (endless movies and TV series), Hulu Plus (mostly prime time TV series), and Amazon Prime (lots and lots of movies and TV series, they just acquired HBO shows, too!) as well as several other awesomely free services.

These are just a sample of the channels I have on my Roku:
Pandora - Streaming Pandora stations for free, I love Children's Indie
Crackle - Free movies with short advertisements
PBS - Free full episodes of shows and mini-series like Call the Midwife...
PBS Kids - Free PBS kids full episodes of shows like Sesame Street, Clifford, Arthur...
A&E - Free full episodes of shows like Duck Dynasty, Bates Motel
Lifetime - Free full episodes of shows and movies like Army Wives, True STori...
History Channel - Free full episodes of shows like American Pickers, Mountain Men, Ancient Aliens...

Know someone who pays for cable? Well if they let you borrow their account log-in you can also get these Roku channels for FREE:
Disney Channel - Free full episodes of shows and some Disney channel movies
Disney Junior - Free full episodes of Sophia the First, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Rolie Polie Olie....
Disney XD - Free full episodes of Marvel Avengers, Phineas and Ferb...
HBO Go - I love me some GOT, Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, True Blood... not to mention all the awesome new release movies
Showtime Anytime - I can't get enough of Nurse Jackie, Homeland, Shameless...

Also, once you have an account with the above mentioned channels, you can stream them on mobile devices as well as iPad, Kindle Fire, and computers.

I found that after we cut the cord to cable, we were saving right away. Our AT&T U-Verse breakdown was about this:

-  $45 - internet
-  $180 - TV
   OR $225 per month
Our TV entertainment now costs us:
-  $30 - Charter internet
-  $9 - Netflix
-  $9 - Hulu Plus
    OR $48 per month, plus $99/year for Amazon
Total breakdown : $57 per month, a savings of about $168 per month, and I will NEVER go back to cable.


So if you want to cut the cord on cable and save money each month while still enjoying the same awesome shows and movies, you need to follow these steps:

1.  Sign up for the cheapest, best internet in your area ~$30/month (or more depends on your area)
2.  Invest in a wireless router rather than rent from your internet service provider, see links above
2.  Buy a Roku ~$50-60 (one-time purchase per TV)
3.  Sign up for Amazon ($99/year), Netflix ($9/month), Hulu Plus ($9/month)
4.  Enjoy your new TV service and put all the extra money you're saving each month towards your next vacation or rainy-day fund

UPDATE 11/04/15:
My family and I cut the cable cord back in 2012. We have never rejoined the cable revolution, but I do have some updates worth sharing.

In 2014, we invested in the Roku Streaming Stick (paid $40 - now it's cheaper) for our bedroom television, so now we have two! We also invested in two VERY CHEAP  Homeworx Super Thin HDTV Antenna (paid $9/each - now it's $7/each). This allows us to watch prime time television (American Ninja Warrior - my kids love this show) and morning and evening news when we want (like when it's snowing and we desperately want schools to close). We receive all of the prime TV channels (ABC, FOX, PBS, CBS, NBC, etc.) among several others we never knew about (CoziTV, anyone?).

This is what I currently pay per month to enjoy a cable free lifestyle:
Charter Internet - $69/month
Netflix - $9/month
Amazon - $9/month (annual fee of $99)

We are very fortunate that my parents share their cable login with us, so our family has access to these channel apps on the Roku (for free):
Disney Channel
Disney Junior
Disney XD
Showtime Anytime

In addition to these apps, we have lots of other free channel apps on our program list from Netflix and Amazon to Popcorn Flix and Jim Henson's Family TV.

So as time has gone by some costs have risen (mainly, internet), but I still save money each month by not paying for cable channels.

My currently monthly spend for television entertainment is $87; this is a savings of $138 per month for us.

**My blog post contains affiliate links, so I may be compensated if  you make a purchase after clicking one of my links.