Friday, September 28, 2018

10 Easy Ways to Save Money this Fall

It finally feels like Fall in Indiana!  I had to scramble to find our hoodies and some long sleeve clothing options for the kids mid week.  I'm not confident that it's cooled off for good, but I'm going to enjoy the cool temps while they last.

We're in full prep mode for all things Fall - clothes, holidays, family events and more.  I thought it would be fun to share some ways to save money this Fall.  They're all pretty easy and all that savings really adds up.

1. Fall Bouquets
Do you need a hostess gift? teacher gift? neighbor gift? or need to add some cheer to someone's day?  These gorgeous bouquets were at my local Meijer store for $16.  That's more than I would pay for fresh flowers for myself, but it's SO MUCH CHEAPER than sending someone a bouquet of flowers from a florist. 

2. Target Dollar Spot
These were my recent kid finds.  My kids love those wands.  They use them for pretend play and we use them during homework time.  I'm going to put those chunky doodle and coloring pads in their stockings.  The felt princess set is so cute!!  I surprised Olive with it one afternoon.  She plays with it regularly and I think it would be perfect for traveling.  I really like the how to be a chef/vet kits.  I'm saving those for a rainy day for the kids.  Everything was either $1 or $3.

I think the Dollar Spot can be a dangerous spot because it's so tempting to buy all the things.  Remind yourself about what you really need/want when you're checking out that section.  Don't buy four of something if you really just need two.  Or skip something all together if you don't love it.

3. Halloween Costumes & Holiday Clothes
All the stores are stocked with cute costumes right now!!  Fletcher spotted this digger at TJ Maxx and had to try it on.  I don't think this is going to be his Halloween costume, but I did buy it just in case.  It was such a good price for the costume/construction hat combo.  I ordered him something different from Target.  Now I'm waiting for it to arrive so I can make sure that it fits him before returning the digger.  Most costumes were under $20.

Target has a deal for $5 off a $30 Halloween purchase going on right now.  I ordered some Halloween candy and Fletcher's costume with it.  It's good on Halloween costumes for the whole family and decor.

Carters has also been having some great sales on their holiday pjs.

4. Free Festivals
Pay close attention to all of the FREE FAMILY FESTIVALS going on in your city this Fall.  I took the kids to National Night Out last week.  It was Fletcher's dream come true to be surrounded by police, fire and rescue people all evening.  The whole thing was free.  My city has things like Family Learning Day at our library with tons of free stuff, Halloween festivals at our parks, tailgate events for college football, homecoming parades, etc.

5. Say YES to FREE things
I've had several different facebook friends offer free trials for meal services lately.  I've said yes to all of them and we've enjoyed 9 free dinners because of them.  This meal was from Hello Fresh.  We've tried Blue Apron and have one more set of meals on the way.  Jump on those opportunities to try new things!  The first box is free and then you have to be sure to make yourself a reminder to cancel the next week if you want to keep things free.

6. Eat at Home & Pack Lunches
I pack lunches for Olive and Kevin every day.  Saves us lots of money and they're eating healthier things than they would if they at school food.  We eat at home for most meals.  If we do eat out, it's usually take out to save money on drinks/tip.

 7. Church Events
We are doing a couple's Bible study this Fall that offers free childcare.  We are also participating in several family friendly events this Fall that are very affordable or free.  Check out your church's calendar to see what free family fun events they're hosting this Fall.

8. Buy Fall Flowers at a Big Box Sore
I saved a lot of money buying my flowers from Walmart this Fall.  I do love to support local businesses and garden centers for landscaping and bigger purchases.  Fall flowers just last such a short time that I feel like it's a no brainer to buy the most affordable options.

9. Sell Your Stuff
Go through your kid's clothes, toys they no longer play with and things are ready to get out of your house.  Take good pictures of them and then list them on resale sites.  I have done this a few times this month.  It feels so good to trade your clutter for cash!  I have the best luck with kid clothes, shoes, pjs, toys and other items that are in good condition.

10. Watch the Sales Closely
Pay attention to the weekly sales.  Try to stock up when your favorite things going on sale.  These cute Halloween DVDs were all on sale at Meijer recently.  I thought my kids would love them so it was a good time to buy.  My kids also LOVE these mini cucumbers.  Usually they're $2.50 for a four pack.  Meijer ran a sale recently where they were $1 a pack.  You better believe I bought ten and we snacked on cucumbers all week long.  I picked up some tennis shoes for Olive for Fall when they were 30% off.  All those little savings add up!

How are you saving money this Fall?

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!!

Linking up with My Glittery Heart

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Fall Mums on a Budget

Every year I have good intentions to switch out my summer planters to Fall flowers, but this is the first year that it has actually happened.  I would always wait too late to buy mums and then talk myself out of spending the money on them.  Not this year!

I shopped early.  I went strolling through the garden center by myself last weekend.  It was so nice!!

I had plenty of time, didn't feel rushed and filled my cart up with beautiful plants.

I thought I'd share my tips with you in case you needed some Fall flower inspiration.

1. Shop ASAP for Fall flowers.  Don't be afraid to shop around for the best deals/flowers.
2. Do not buy the prettiest mums that are all bloomed out.  Buy the mums that have most of the flowers closed up waiting to bloom.  This means they'll be the prettiest when they bloom at  your house.
3. Buy a variety of flowers and greenery.
4.Don't forget to water

I checked out the Fall flowers at several spots before buying mine.  I didn't really intend to do this.  It just kind of happened when I didn't love what I saw.  My local garden center was too pricey.  Meijers flowers were all pretty, but most were already in full bloom.  Wal-Mart for the win!  Best prices.  Best mums with tons of buds on them.  My goal was to spend around $50 to update 9 flower pots for Fall.

This is my cart.  TONS of flowers for $50

2 tricolor mums (A local garden center was selling these for $20 and they were $10 at Walmart)
3 yellow mums
2 mini yellow mums
2 Dragon's Breath plants

I would have liked to add in a cabbage plant or two, but Walmart did not have any.  I opted to leave my sweet potato vines from Summer in the pots and not buy knew greenery. 

The process: Pick plants that look healthy and coordinate with your colors.  I opted to take out the lavender mums and go with more gold.

I like for my pots to look similar on each side of my garage and on each side of my porch.  Pick plants that look similar to help achieve this.  I couldn't get over this gorgeous Dragon's Breath plant.  The magenta color was STUNNING.  My kids thought it was a really funny name for a plant.

Ask for help.  My kids love to plant and water our flowers.  We all put on our gardening gloves.  They really enjoyed pulling out our summer flowers since I'd been telling them not to pick them for MONTHS.

Backyard: I love the bright green sweet potato vines with the mums.

See what I mean about finding mums with lots of buds?  That way they'll keep blooming for a long time at your house.

Tricolor mums by our garage.  I really love the mix.  It's something I haven't seen before this year in stores.

Front porch:
Dragon's breath and little mums with giant sweet potato vines.  I'll probably add some pumpkins when the weather finally cools off.

Are you working on Fall planters at your house??

It's time to link up with my favorite Welcome Wednesday ladies.
Be sure to join us with a couple posts and hop around to find some new blog friends.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Is this Flattering??

What do you think of that question?  Is this flattering??

Is it something you think about a lot when you get dressed??

The thought crosses my mind, but it's not something I dwell on.  I'd much rather wear clothes that feel good, are pretty and true to my style.  I don't think things always have to be flattering to be worn.  You should wear clothes you love instead of focusing so much on if they make you look as good/skinny/fit as possible.  Just a thought... wear what you love!!

Here are some of my favorite outfits lately:

1. Fall Floral
I picked up this double peplum Time and Tru top at Walmart for $9.96 a couple weeks ago!!  Isn't it so pretty?  I also got it in navy and white stripe.  It's the flowiest fabric with a cropped bell sleeve..  This outfit will be on repeat all Fall.

Also, I'm wearing ADVdesigns leather earrings in every outfit picture.  They're wonderful!  They are so light weight that you'll forget you're wearing them.  Seriously.  I love them.  I get compliments like crazy on them anytime I'm out and about.  I own several pairs and can't recommend them enough.  Here's the link to the etsy shop ADVdesigns.

I'm LOVING the floral dress options for girls at Old Navy.  Olive is obsessed with their Jersey Fit and Flare dresses.  They're currently on sale for $8.  We bought several last year and more this year.  They wash and wear really well.  Olive thinks they're comfy and cute.  Win-win.  I wish her dress came in my size.  The ladies version of this dress wasn't a style I wear.

Doesn't Fletcher look so handsome in chambray??  Love his Gymboree button down.

Can't leave Kevin out of the outfit fun.  Here he is happy to snap my outfit pictures :)

2. Kimonos
I'm still loving kimonos.  This one is from Matilda Jane.

3.  Sporty
I've been wearing yoga pants, basic tees and tennis shoes a lot lately.  It's my favorite workout outfit combo.  I need to upgrade my shoes because they're on their last leg.  Do you have a favorite brand of workout shoes??  Tell me all about them

4. Embroidered
These embroidered tops are so pretty!  They're really easy to wear.  Just add big earrings, flats and skinny jeans.  I have this Wal-Mart top in three different colors because it was just $7.78 at my stores.

What is an item that is in your closet that you have a hard time styling?? 

I'd love to put together some outfit ideas for you :)  I'm hoping to have some new denim options for you and some pretty layers for Fall in my next outfit post.

Monday, September 24, 2018

20 Minute Dinners

I love cooking dinner for my family, but I don't love spending hours in the kitchen.  I've been working on building my 20 minute dinner recipe stash for the past few months.  My hope is that I can come up with quick, delicious dinners and still enjoy the evening with my family.  I posted my first set of 20 minute dinners in August.  I stuck with it and have some more to share with you this month.

1. BBQ Chicken Pizza
We had rotisserie chicken for dinner and ended up with leftovers.  I chopped the chicken up into tiny pieces and used it for BBQ chicken pizza the next night.  I've also used a can of shredded chicken for this recipe if I didn't have any leftover chicken.  Coat it in your favorite BBQ sauce, bake it on a refrigerated pizza dough crust, drizzle on some additional BBQ sauce, your favorite cheese (I used sharp cheddar and pepper jack).  Bake for 15-18 minutes.  Let cool and top with sliced green onions.

2. Pesto Chicken Gnocchi
This Pesto Style Gnocchi was a fun Walmart grocery pick up discovery.  It came with everything you needed in the box - just add water.  I opted to add in a can of shredded chicken to make it a little more hearty for dinner.  This was SO GOOD!  I was really impressed.  I think the box was around $2.  I'm definitely picking up more of these to keep on hand as the perfect wintery comfort food or an easy dinner option.  This was not good leftover (which seems pretty typical for gnocchi).  Be sure to make it and eat it all up :)

3. Baked Spaghetti
I've mentioned before that I love pasta.  My husband does not.  But I've found a way that he enjoys eating pasta - baked pasta dishes.  This Baked Spaghetti is super simple.  Cook angel hair pasta, heat up your favorite red sauce, brown ground beef.  Then stir to combine and pour into a greased baking dish.  Top with your favorite cheese.  Bake at 350 until the cheese melts and broil for a minute or two until these cheese is perfectly browned.  Slice and serve.  

4. Crustless Quiche
A friend came in town on Friday and I needed a quick meal to serve.  This crustless quiche was perfect.  It also reheats really well if you wanted to make it for easy lunches all week.  This recipe is awesome because you can customize it any way you want.  Add more eggs, more veggies, more meat, or swap out any ingredients that I listed.

You just need 6 eggs scrambled with a splash of milk, salt, pepper, your favorite toppings and cheese.  I added chopped up ham, 2 slices of bacon, green peppers, green onions, purple onions, mozzarella cheese and sharp cheddar cheese.  It was delicious!  I would have liked to add in roasted sweet potatoes, but I was out.  Pour into a greased pie plate.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until the whole pie dish is set and browned.

Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
(( My recipe here ))
This isn't a 20 minute dinner, BUT it is a delicious recipe that is always a crowd pleaser.  My whole family loves these muffins.  I shared the original recipe last yea rfor mini bundt cakes.  This year I made the recipe the exact same way baking it in mini muffin tins instead of bundt cake pans.  It worked great!  Just cut the baking time down to 8-10 minutes.

What's on your dinner menu this week??