How To Clean Stainless Steel With Lemon Juice

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Here’s a super easy kitchen trick for you! If you’ve been struggling with a way to get a stainless steel fridge clean (or to clean any stainless steel in your kitchen), try this out:

Ingredients:

  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 4-5 tbsp hot water

Directions:

  1. Mix together hot water and lemon juice in a small bowl
  2. Using a soft cloth, wipe fridge down with lemon juice and water mixture going along with the grain of the stainless steel
  3. Then wipe down again with a dry paper towel
  4. You’re done!

When you’re all finished up use the leftover lemon along with some ice to freshen your garbage disposal or even remove stains from stainless steel in the sinkI’ve tried cleaning my stainless steel fridge with olive oil (I love it for shining the kitchen sink), but for whatever reason the oil bothers me on the fridge. So, this is a great way to easily freshen things up without using any chemicals ~ easy!

 

Do you have any other tips on how to clean stainless steel? Leave a comment to share!

 

 

I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See  previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

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Where Do You Find Your Value?

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(My daughter who hasn’t yet figured out social media and learned recently what real value was. Goodness how lucky for her!) 

 

Ready for some random rambling? Sorry, you’re in for it again this week. ;)

 

I’m working on putting a post together sharing all the things I learned this past week about how not to let Facebook take over your page (whether you’re a blogger or just a user), but am waiting to hear back from Facebook to make sure that all the images I’ve documented are correct. 

 

In the meantime, I wanted to share something that I learned ridiculously through this experience, because maybe you’ve been there too.  Even though you may not be a blogger fighting to get some Facebook following, I’m betting you (or your teen/tween-age children) have been here.

 

Saturday night, when the PPP page was completely totally gone, I literally stayed up all night just sick. 

 

I was sick because I didn’t know if all the readers were just gone. I was sick because as far as I could tell the page was completely lost. And I was just sick because I’d known for a long time that way too much of my traffic comes from Facebook, so it could literally ruin the business that I’ve worked five years to create.

 

(Y’all, if you could please sign up for emails I would really appreciate that so that I have a way to keep you up to date with the deals in case something crazy like this ever happens again, 0kay? Or, better yet, come visit PPP every day – I post deals every. single. day. ten to twenty times per day except Sundays. I’d love for you to come check them out because I promise they’ll be here. really. every. day.) ;)

 

But do you know what really sickened me? As stupid and prideful and obnoxious and ridiculous as this sounds, I literally felt a loss of my identity.

 

When people ask me what I “do” each day, I usually respond that I’m a stay at home mom. And then let them know that I run a frugal living blog. More often than not they kind of laugh it off, but then when I mention I have 190,000 Facebook fans (ahem, 200,000 Facebook fans . . . CRAZY!), all of a sudden I feel like I’m a little more valuable.

 

A little more worthy.

 

A little more important. (Don’t you think?)

 

bleck.

 

So when all 200,000 of you were just gone, I kind of questioned my identity. All of a sudden I turned into just me. Plain old Laurie, not all that special, just a silly mom who likes to clip coupons and figure out how cheaply she can make dinner each night.

 

I realized then and there that I’ve put my value into something that’s so stinkin’ temporalSomething that can (and did) go away at any moment. And something that doesn’t show my real value at all.

 

yikes.

 

At that point I really didn’t know if all those Facebook fans even existed.  It wasn’t until Monday that the hacker chose to put the page back up and start posting his or her own images that I saw the page was still there. At first, I honestly felt there was no hope to get everyone back here.

 

Do you know what I’ve so easily done? I’ve put my value into a silly online place that doesn’t have show my value at all.

 

I’ve allowed who I am to be defined by this silly computer world rather than who I am in real life.

 

It’s kind of scary how quickly your identity can be pulled away.

 

Wanna know what’s scarier?  Our children are doing the same thing every single day.

 

I’ve watched my son post a picture in his Instagram feed and three hours later feel a little bit hurt because his Instagram friends didn’t notice him as much as they noticed  another kid.

 

I’ve watched a good friend’s daughter who’s off in college think they’re awesome because 1,000 people liked their super cute picture and all of a sudden they have value for the day.

 

And I’ve watched an even-older-super-smart-crazy-talented-23-year-old question why they don’t have as many followers on as some 11-year olds.

 

Yikes.

 

But what are my kids seeing in me?

 

I’m not awesome enough to ever have real value because of who I am. The only value I’ve ever had for even a moment comes from Whose I am. And allowing my children fall for the lie that the internet determines their value is a mistake.

 

And guess what? Letting myself fall for that same lie is a mistake too.

 

For me, the business side of this mess was real – it could have impacted how PPP was run, whether or not I continued, and how we were able to give to others. So I am beyond thankful that it was fixed. (And honestly, so thankful for this crazy-internet-thing of ours even when it does make me nuts.)

 

But the identity crisis thing really scares me. Deep down all I am is just a mom who loves to penny pinch, pray with her favorites, and come up with fun ways to craft and decorate things. If everything else was gone, that just-a-mom is probably the favorite mom my kids have.

 

I encourage you . . . if you find your value online sometimes as well to really consider where your value comes from too. And just as importantly to consider where your children find their value. (Gosh, that’s so hard to do!)

 


Our value is so much more than what this ole’ world tells us right now, and I’m telling you right now in case no one else does today that you are so precious and oh-so-valuable just the way you are.

 

Be encouraged that if this mom can find her value in the wrong place and you’ve felt the same way, you’re not alone. And thank heavens God’s infinite value rests in us (’cause really, most of us are just a mess, aren’t we?) ;)

 

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your lifeAnd why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you.” Matthew 6:25-30

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Sometimes You Have No Control

 

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UPDATE: I’m afraid to say this but I think I’ve got control of the FB page back! THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your kind words and support – I’m so thankful for each one of you!!!!!

 

Guys, it’s been a long yucky last few days.

This Facebook mess has not gotten a single bit better, and we didn’t get home this morning until 1AM from Alabama after having our car repaired (no charge, thank heavens!), then woke up at 5:40 to get everyone moving for school.

 

(Despite the craziness we absolutely loved seeing so many sweet friends in Madison while visiting ~ they’ve been our family in many ways the last ten years and we’re so thankful for them!)

 

Once the kids were off to school, I decided to spend 30 minutes handling the things I can control, because clearly some things are out of my reach.

 

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I tackled our disastrous bedroom after getting home so late last night.

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Then I cleared off the mess on our kitchen counters that from the middle-of-the-night-craziness,

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And tidied up the kitchen sink, put away the suitcases, and started a load of laundry. (Sorry, pics of the laundry not included.) ;)

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I even dumped my family’s favorite dinner in Mrs. Potts, and felt like I at least had a good handle on the things I could handle in the midst of this mess. 

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Then, this ridiculous puppy came in from outside (it started snowing while he was out), and was covered in mud  from head to toe.

 

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(Seriously, what are you going to do with that face?)

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So after a quick bath he sat down for a nap while I determined to tackle this Facebook mess on PPP.

 

I handled re-submitting emails to dozens of Facebook pages again this morning, and then sure enough the hacker who has control of the PPP Facebook page started sharing just awful links on PPP. (awful. really really awful. just make-me-want-to-vomit-can’t-believe-my-image-is-right-up-there-next-to-that-awful.) I’ve sent screenshots, emails, and timelines to every person I can find at Facebook, and so far have heard nothing back.

 

 

Do you know what occurred to me?

 

I have no control.

 

I can’t control Facebook. I can’t control my kids. I can’t control my dog, my husband, or anyone else at all.

 

I can only control me (and I’m feeling a wee bit out of control right now!)

 

Y’all, I’ve been typing at this computer for over five years now, and it’s only been in the last 1-2 years that my work here has been worth the hours I put into it. I’ve sacrificed time with my family, time with my friends, time to exercise, time to read and so much more because I felt like there was a purpose here.

 

And it has been blessed in ways I never imagined.

 

But right now it’s hard. And I don’t know if it’s worth it. And I’m tired.

 

My sweet friend Staci called me right as I was completely losing it and suggested I put away my computer and just walk away for an hour. I think I’m going to take her up on it, so if anything smutty comes up on the PPP Facebook page please know that it’s not from me. And I really am doing the best I can to get it fixed (a few folks mentioned that they were afraid I wasn’t doing anything on the PPP Facebook page, but I promise I’ve done all I know to do.) I can’t begin to tell you the hours of work that have gone in to growing a page to that size, and I was so excited about celebrating with lots of fun giveaways this week on hitting 200,000 fans finally, so this just sickens me.

 

 

But really, there are just seasons when things are out of our own control, and I know this is one of many for me. I cannot begin to tell you how much your support as well of those of several wonderful bloggers has meant to me. I am so humbled by the sympathy and generosity of complete strangers, and am just amazed that people would shower kindness on this mess of a momma.

 

Now I’m off to take a nap before my kids get home from school. ;) If you’re going through an uncontrollable season too, I’m thinking you should find a way to take a nap too sometime today. I’m so reminded that His grace is sufficient for me, so I’m handing over some control  right now and hoping you’re able to do find a way to do that too.

 

 

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

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Kids Craft: DIY Pom Pom Coasters

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Okie dokie folks. I have just the most fun Friday Fluff Up in progress, but my husband has left me hanging with the finishing touches (so you get just a fun little kids craft project today!) I can’t show the finished results yet, but here’s a preview of what he’s been working on . . .

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oh my. I’m so excited to have it completed but we’ll all have to wait ’til next week to see! He promises me he’s close ~ just waiting on one more piece. Yay!

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In the meantime, my sweet Caroline and I have been having way too much fun with fuzzy pom poms, and we made these super easy coasters this week. Because we’ve frozen almost every day here since August my kiddos have had more than their fair share of hot chocolate, so we decided warm cozy coasters to go with our hot cocoa was just what we needed!

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Here’s what we used . . .

  • 1 sheet thick felt 79¢
  • 1 package pompoms (if I make these again, I’d love to use these!)
  • hot glue gun with lots of hot glue sticks
  • mug with a larger rim to determine the size of the coasters

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Inspired by this idea, we just glued the pompoms onto the heavier felt (I found it in the felt aisle at Hobby Lobby right next to the pompoms.) To determine the size of the coasters I used a mug that flares out at the top as my guide and cut out a circle prior to gluing those pompoms on. I would love to try  making them with wool pompoms next time, but this was a fun afternoon activity for my girls and me!

 

Stop by next week when (hopefully!) we’ll have updates on our alcove project, and leave a comment to share what you’re up to this week!

I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

 

 

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Grocery Budget Check Up 2015 Week #1

 

It’s that time of year (I know y’all are so excited!) Time to start talking grocery budgets. I’ve said it so many times before (some of you are tired of hearing I bet!), but there is NO OTHER AREA IN YOUR FAMILY’S FINANCES THAT YOU CAN SO EASILY TAKE CONTROL OF AS YOUR FAMILY’S GROCERY BUDGET.

 

Woohooo! ;) (I know, I know . . . but it really is kinda fun when you’re able to whittle that grocery budget down ~ promise!)

 

I’ve had an overwhelming number of requests this last week from people asking how much their grocery budget should be, how to use coupons effectively, and how to really change their grocery budget in 2015. Here are a few (easy!) tips that will hopefully get you started:

  1. Consider what your grocery budget currently is. If you’re new to couponing, plan to decrease your budget by 10-20% over the next three to four weeks, and then determine to slash it by up to 50% in the next 3-4 months.  (Read this post for more tips.)
  2. Choose one (one!) store to shop at and learn their coupon policy really well. Find every website you can sharing information about deals at that store, and look for as much information online prior to shopping each week so that you go in prepared to get the best deals.  (See more on beginning couponing information HERE to get started.)
  3. Look at what’s in your pantry and take a few days off from shopping by using what you already have.
  4. Shop the sales ads. Chicken on sale? Then your family gets chicken tonight. ;) Once you’ve built your stockpile up you’ll have a little more variety, but for now use your stores sales ad as a guide to your menu planning each week.

 

In 2015, my goal is to spend no more than $90 to $100 each week at the grocery. 

This is substantially more than I’ve ever spent for groceries each week (it wasn’t long ago we only spent $40-$50 weekly!) But, we’re eating more and more whole foods, my kids are getting bigger, we now live in an area where fewer stores double coupons, and we got a dog. :) I’ll continue using mostly only printable coupons will work to help save my sanity, and feel like this is a pretty realistic goal. (We’ll see!)

 

I get asked pretty frequently what’s included in my grocery budget, so thought I’d share a quick list:

  • groceries
  • toiletries
  • paper products
  • cleaning supplies
  • pet food (new this year!)

 

If you need to change your grocery budget in 2015, today is a PERFECT day to start, and I promise, you. can. do. this. (really!) Determine today how you want your year to look, set realistic goals, and decide to take control of your finances instead of allowing them to control you.  I can’t wait to hear what your goals are, and am excited to see how we’ll do in 2015 to pinch those pennies even further. You can share your goals by clicking HERE ~ I’m cheering for you!

 

 

New to budgeting and don’t know where to begin? Here are a few posts to you get started:

 

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How To Remove Rust Stains From Stainless Steel (& Freshen Your Sink Too!)

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How to remove rust stains from stainless steel (and freshen your sink too!)

 

I’m super excited to share this quick fun tip that works great if you have a rust stain in your kitchen sink, and to clean your garbage disposal while you’re at it! This weekend I left an old baking pan in our sink to soak, and it left a nasty rust stain on the stainless steel that needed some TLC.

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Since I had an extra lemon in my fridge (and always have baking soda in the pantry), it was super easy to clean off. I just poured a little baking soda on the stain,

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cut the lemon in half, squeezed out a bit of lemon juice, and then used them lemon to do a quick scrubbing.

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In under a minute the stain was gone!

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Since my garbage disposal can always use a thorough-de-stinking, I cut the lemon into quarters,

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added some ice,
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And let the disposal churn it all around a bit. (Note, your disposal will sound awful while this mixture is running through, but the ice will sharpen the blades and the lemon will make the disposal smell fresh!)

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I did a super quick cleanout of the sink using olive oil (I’ve always used it to shine my stainless kitchen sink)

 

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And the sink’s all freshened up, as good as new. Love that!

 

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Do you have any other tips for cleaning stainless steel? I’d love to hear them - leave a comment to share!

 

 

 

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My Wingback Chair Story + Why Patience & Budgeting Is Worth It

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My $2 chair

 

It’s time to chat budgeting . . . anyone else with me? 

 

When my husband and I were first married, we bought the cutest little ranch fixer upper. It had a pretty basic floor plan – tiny living and dining room right off the tiny foyer as you walked through the front door.

 

It was a solid three years before we could afford to do anything with those little rooms (the owners before us chose a lovely neon turquoise carpet ~ seriously ~ who puts in neon turquoise carpet?) When we finally were ready to fluff up those rooms I had big dreams in my head.

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My mom gave us our piano, and I just knew that little living room would be perfect if I could just afford two wing back chairs to sit opposite the piano (flanking either side of a tall window ~ I wish I had pictures to show you!) I would move kitchen chairs into the living room to see how they would look. I’d sit in each corner waiting for a chair and just imagine they were already there. And I stayed up at night dreaming of the perfect wingback chairs.

 

I really wanted those chairs. ;)

 

It went so far that I actually believed that if I just had those chairs, my daily prayer time would become consistent. Because clearly with those chairs I’d have just the perfect spot to sit down with my Bible and Bible Study book in, so all my excuses would just fly right out the window.

 

It finally occurred to me that Jesus didn’t exactly need wingback chairs to make way for His own quiet time. 

 

~Ahem.~ 

 

(Y’all, I kid you not, these thoughts really did go through this 23 year old’s head . . . gracious I’ve always been a mess!) ;)

 

Sure enough, one day while walking through JCPenney I saw a Buy One Get One Free LaZBoy Wingback chair sale. 

 

I needed them. 

 

I convinced my husband they were perfect (what man doesn’t get excited when you say the word LaZBoy?), and was so stinkin’ excited to finish up the room I could hardly stand it. (These were them exactly ~ bleck!)

 

Because we couldn’t afford what I really wanted (I was dreaming of something more like these back then?), I settled for those chairs, and honestly hated them in every single room we moved them to. I finally sold those suckers on Craigslist two years ago for less than $100, and was so ready to see them go.

 

And guess what?

 

They didn’t magically make me spend more time in Bible Study.

 

They didn’t automatically fix all the other flaws in our home.

 

And they didn’t just up and make me perfectly happy.

 

Buying stuff never does.

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Fast forward fifteen years.

 

I’ve learned a lot about stuff. I’ve learned that waiting for what I really want instead of settling for second best is oh-so-worth it.

 

I’ve learned that Goodwill and thrift stores have awesome bargains, and if I decide eventually to throw away that $2 chair it won’t break my heart the way never being satisfied with those $399 chairs did. (They were $399 for both after the BOGO sale – just to clarify.) ;)

 

I’ve learned that contentment doesn’t come from stuff to begin with, and you can make just about anything beautiful with a little work and determination.

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The moral of the story? 

 

Don’t fool yourself into believing that if you have just that one thing your life will all of a sudden find peace. Because while you may fill that one spot, another ten spots will pop up just waiting for some attention. (Promise. I’ve been there.)

 

Instead, determine your budget, if you can afford to frugally fix things up have at it, but don’t stress over buying something right this second that you have no business buying. Choose to make whatever space you’re in beautiful by simply tidying it up, clearing off the counters, and slapping some fresh paint on a room if you need to. (Need inexpensive paint? Try the home improvement store clearance bins!)

 

If you’re just starting out, know that one day your budget really will change, and those things you’ve dreamed of forever might just come into reachAnd, odds are your taste will really change along the way, so be patient and do things for as little money as you can while you have time to figure out what you really love.

Determine today to stick to a budget in 2015, and wait patiently for the things you really want until you can afford them. It may take some time to get there, but I promise it’s so worth the wait!

 

 

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Our $70 Storage Bin Shelving (Part One)

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I’m soooooo excited about this project my smart husband tackled this week! We have a storage area in our basement that has been a disaster since we’ve moved, and while it’s not completely organized yet, we’re well on our way.

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(Seriously guys, it was bad. While we’ve gotten most of the rest of the house put together after moving last summer, I’ve shoved just about everything in that storage room and it needs some serious TLC!  See all that Quilted Northern? I accidentally forgot to unsubscribe to my Quilted Northern deal, and now we’re stocked up for the next few years.) ;)

 

 

For $70 and about three hours of work, my husband was able to build a huge set of storage shelves which were perfect for the new $2 tubs I found at Walmart earlier this weekThe shelves are 8 feet long x 2 feet deep x roughly 8 feet tall – we could never have purchased shelves that large and that sturdy for this price! Here’s how he did it . . .

 

(Note: I’m not amazing at do-it-yourself instructions, so I’m hoping you can make sense of it between the pictures and his notes. If you have questions  leave a comment and my wise hubby will be happy to answer them!) :)

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Supplies

  • (18) 2″ x 3″ x 8″ boards
  • (6) 2″x4″x8″ boards
  • (2) 4’x8′ sheets plywood
  • 1 box 10D spiral shank deck nails

Directions

  • Split plywood into four 2’x8′ pieces (Lowe’s did that for him.)

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  • Built (4) 8’x2′ wide frames using 2″x3″x8″ boards
  • Braced the frame using 2″x3″

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  • Nailed the 2’x8′ plywood on top of the frame
  • Repeat four times for the shelves (could do as many as you want)

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  • Use 2″x4″ boards for the legs of the shelves and nailed in the shelves 18″ apart in height order to fit the storage bins (in order to set the height of the shelf, he placed the rubbermaid container on the ground, then put a scrap piece of 2″x3″ on the rubbermaid container to give me an extra 2″ of clearance above that container. Then he nailed the shelf into the 2″x4″ supports. Once that shelf was set he removed that set and started on the next shelf.)

Note: these shelves are very sturdy (aka heavy) so you will need two people to lift the shelving into place.

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We’ll be taking down all of our Christmas decorations this weekend, so I’ll have an update next week with the whole room once we’ve really finished up organizing it (for now I just put the storage bins on the shelves, but I bought this handy dandy labeler (it just dropped to $9.99!) and am hoping to get things really sorted through this week!) If you have any other smart ideas on how to organize a garage or basement storage area I’d love to hear those too. ;)

 
I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

 

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Free 2015 Dave Ramsey Guide To Budgeting

 

Love, love, love this! Right now you can download your free Dave Ramsey 2015 Guide to Budgeting, which is a great way to motivate yourself to stick with your budget in 2015! You may want to also check out the book The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, currently available for $14.88 on Amazon.

 
And be sure to download my free monthly budget spreadsheet while you’re at it, which is similar to the one we use at our house each month!

Love a bargain? Find more free stuff HERE.

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What Are You Making This Christmas?

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go

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Goodness, how I love baking. 

 

I mean really, I love baking.  Or cooking.  Or mixing. All of it.

 

If it were up to me I’d wake up bright and early every day and hang out in my kitchen all day long.

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And my pantry would magically always be filled with every ingredient I needed so I’d never need to run to the store.

 

And, I wouldn’t have to head to the gym before and after a baking session to make up for sneaking a bite. Or two. Ahem ;)

 

(I’m planning to go first thing in the morning. Promise.)

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Here’s a peek at our kitchen tonight . . .

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My husband and son made their second batch of Chex Mix this year ~ they doubled the worcestershire and cayenne pepper and it really was the best it’s ever been!

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Then I made some Christmas Crack (so good, but I almost completely made a mess because the goo in the middle started to bubble over in my oven – make sure to keep a larger pan underneath your baking sheet to be sure to catch any extra goo!)

 

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A quick batch of marshmallow fudge (y’all, this is the easiest fudge recipe you’ll ever make, and my youngest informed me tonight that I needed to teach her how to make it when she grew up herself.)

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Some Oreo Truffles – I’ve never made these before, but used this super handy Black & Decker Food Chopper that I’d bought this summer when it was on sale (it was just $10 then!) I love love love this little gadget and it made mixing these up a breeze!

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A few M&M Pretzel Bites - I forgot to get the Christmas colors and we used the red and green ones to give away to other people ~ so we’re stuck with the orange and blue ones for Christmas at our house! ;)

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And for breakfast tomorrow morning I went ahead and made our favorite Almost Homemade Cinnamon Rolls trying out Jen from Balancing Beauty & Bedlam’s fancy Christmas Tree idea. Mine aren’t nearly as pretty as hers, but I’m pretty sure my family won’t care! ;) I’ll try to take a picture in the morning to let you see how they fluff up.

 

So, what are you baking for Christmas? Leave a comment to share (and a link to the recipe if you’d like!) I’d love to hear!

 If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

 

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