Sunday, November 30, 2014

3 Easy Tips to Start Saving @CapitolOne360 #financialpeace

Having three kids in a single income household means that we think about our finances a lot.  Not only do we have to feed and clothe them now, but we have three college tuitions to plan for.  Wow. Given that we are still paying off our student debt, this is no simple task. Aside from hoping they get scholarships and get into UT for something other than preschool, we really needed a plan.

Our first step is really having a budget and sticking to it.  We have set amounts for things like clothing, restaurants, grocery bills and gas.  I keep tabs on our spending throughout the month and can cut back on eating out for example if we are in danger of going over the limit.  This has worked a lot better than estimating where we are with our spending.  It is easy to forget how little things like lunch can add up quickly!

Another helpful thing we do is we now scan all our bills as they come in.  When we really looked at our credit card statements we found more than fraudulent charges.  It is so important to keep track!  A few phone calls to the bank took care of these, but if we hadn't been checking we never would have known.

The next thing my husband really stresses is letting your bank work for you.  Capitol One 360 is giving away $100 to anyone for opening new checking or savings account, both of which also earn interest.  He is not shy about opening up a new account to collect bonuses like this.  I love that he does that for us. Visit to take advantage of Capital One 360's deals on banking, brokerage and mortgage products. In addition to taking advantage of deals on banking, brokerage and mortgage products yourself, you can give your friends and family the gift of financial peace of mind by encouraging them to take advantage of the deals and refer them to the sale. If they sign up, you may be eligible for a $40 referral bonus.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Botanical Garden Sunday

Today was so beautiful I pretty much couldn't handle it. After the cold snap that lasted most of the month I just don't know how many more days like this we will get. 

We decided to take advantage of it and head to the botanical gardens. There are less flowers this time of year but it didn't matter. A few of the trees' leaves had begun to turn yellow and red, which we never see around the rest of Austin.   

The kids got to read the map and direct us. There was a lot of retracing our steps at first. We finally made it to their destination and found the dinosaur garden. Jumping to and fro across dinosaur footprints was a big hit. My favorite was leaves falling like confetti whenever the wind blew. 

Hope you get to drink in the last days of fall as well. Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Holiday Crafts | Snowy Acorn Garland DIY

This is a fun little holiday craft that I did with my kids. We are always picking up little specimens up from outside. Rocks, leaves, flower petals and acorns. We trade these in for points at the nature center during the summer. Lately though we have had an over abundance of acorns  and it knew just what I wanted to do with them.

I have a set of glittered paper acorns in my shop and wanted to make a real version of that this year.  I also love to use things that I have around the house. Anything to avoid another trip to the craft store. We have been making crystals a lot from different things and found out that borax leaves a nice and glittery finish.  I decided to try that on the acorns instead of glitter. For one thing, a huge box is only like $3 dollars so it is a lot cheaper than glitter.

I dissolved some borax in hot water and let that cool. Then I dropped the acorn caps in and let them sit for a bit.  They tend to float so you have to stir them for full coverage.  After I pulled them out I sprinkled some more borax on top.  The sprinkled stuff stayed white but as they dried the soaked in borax left a fun sparkly overlay behind. 

I used glue dots and a felt pompom to stand in for the actual acorns. Felted ones look great too but I love these too. Plus, a lot easier than hand felting something. 

These make lovely vase fillers and I saved some for that. The rest I strung up with red twine for a quick little holiday garland. I love the delicate touch of color it adds to my mantle. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Week in the Life 2014| Completed Album

I love these little projects.  I like them even better when I'm able to finish them. I did work on this album daily but things slowed down a bit over the weekend because of Halloween and family time of course.  It didn't take me long to finish up the pages after that though.  Mainly journaling, which I tend to drag my feet on.

Here are the things that helped me finish it up successfully:

1. Focusing on photos and journaling. I printed my photos everyday.  If I didn't get a chance to journal in my album then I would leave myself notes about the day on instagram or facebook.  Just an easy way of looking back.

2. Keeping my base pages regular white cardstock.  Eliminating the option of patterned paper took one more variable out of the equation.

3. Using a kit I had gathered from my own stash.  I kept all the things I collected in a little berry basket and dug into that all week. This meant I wasn't hunting for new embellishments every day.

4. Simple stamping.  I really liked this aspect of it.  Because my base was white, I had a lot of freedom to stamp in black wherever I wanted.  I used a few different Ali Edwards and Studio Calico stamp sets as part of my kit.

5. I do this project along with Ali Edwards. Without the daily reminders and places to share I probably would not have the same motivation. Of course you don't have to do this with her specifically, you can always find a friend and encourage each other!





 A little envelope for ephemera. I have some drawings and notes in there.

Here are my previously shared pages:
Wednesday Pages
Tuesday Pages
Monday Pages
Getting Started

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