The Greatest Coupon

This is a guest post that I’ve shared before from a friend of mine (who knows the value of a coupon!)  May you know the love and peace of Our Manufacturer all year long. 🙂

 

No deal is perfect. Everything has a cost. Many things come at a high price, yet thankfully most can be discounted. Some things can even be free with a great coupon!

 

The greatest coupons still have problems. Most will eventually expire. They are “void where prohibited.” There is a limit on how many people can use.

 

Some people don’t take advantage of great coupons though. Why? Maybe some don’t even know about them. Even if they do, they might defiantly refuse to use them. Some people don’t believe they are really worth anything. But every coupon has worth in our eyes, right? Maybe non-couponers would cash in on the offers if they were just taught how. We couponers should share the good news!

 

So here’s the gist of how to reap the benefits: 1) Seek out something you love. 2) Find a coupon, maybe from the manufacturer. 3) Pay the price for the item. 4) Once the coupon has been redeemed, celebrate how much you saved! 5) Tell everyone you know about your great deal. Happy shopping!

 

 

 

No one is perfect. Our sins have a cost. Many sins come at a high price, yet thankfully they can be discounted. We can even be free with the “Greatest Coupon.”

 

The Greatest Coupon has no problems. It will never expire. It is never void or prohibited. There is no limit on how many people can use it.

 

Some people don’t take advantage of the Greatest Coupon though. Why? Maybe some don’t even know about it. Even if they do, they might defiantly refuse to use it. Some people don’t believe they are really worth anything, but every person has worth in God’s eyes. Maybe non-Christians would cash in on the offer if they were just taught how. We have the opportunity to share the Good News!

 

So here’s the gist of how to reap the benefits: 1) God sought out someone he loves—you. 2) We have a coupon from our Manufacturer. 3) Jesus paid the price for our sins. 4) Since our sins have been redeemed, we can celebrate as we have new life. 5) Tell everyone you know about the Greatest Coupon. Happy Easter!

 

 

My prayer for you this Easter is that you mayt know salvation from the One who values you so greatly that He willingly gave His life for you. It truly is the greatest gift we’ll each receive, and allows us freedom that comes only from Him. As my son reminds me each Easter morning, “Christ is risen!” He is risen indeed.

 

Photo courtesy of billaday on Flickr.

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How Real Budgeting Looks In Our House

 

How Real Budgeting Works In Our House

 

Download your free copy of a Monthly Budget Spreadsheet HERE to get started.

 

I get tons of questions for more information on exactly how we handle budgeting around here, so here’s a quick overview of our monthly budget planning.

 

We by no means have it all figured out, but this is what’s worked for us for almost twenty years . . . maybe it will help you too!

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We started years ago using the Financial Peace envelope system, however, at least for our family, keeping up with cash for every single item was just difficult to manage. So, here’s how we’ve tweaked it to work for us:

  • Every two weeks (on Friday), we withdraw cash for groceries, dining out, and entertainment
  • Once a month, we have an automatic withdrawal taken out of our checking account and deposited into savings for other specific items (keep reading)
  • When we need one of those specific items, we transfer money back into checking from savings to cover those expenses.

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So, what kind of things do we budget for beyond food? Here’s an idea . . .
  • Kids sports and extracurricular activities
  • Vacations
  • Christmas gifts (we start saving every January)
  • Birthday gifts
  • Car expenses
  • Car replacement
  • Life insurance
  • Home Owners Association dues
  • Real Estate Taxes
  • Yard Maintenance
  • Furniture Replacement (I don’t think my husband puts much in this one, but I forced him to add it in the spreadsheet) 😉
  • Clothing
  • Dry Cleaning
  • Hair Care
  • School Supplies
  • College Fund
  • “Blow” money
Then, within our monthly budget we have a separate tab (we use a simple Excel spreadsheet) that includes our savings account totals. I just looked at it this morning and the one that we currently are using has been around since 2007 ~ it was interesting that we now have well over ten times what we started with in that little savings account, and I can’t tell you just how much freedom comes with that!

 

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If you’re new to budgeting, here are several free budget spreadsheets you can use to get you started :

 

I’d love to know how your family handles monthly budget expenses, and what other suggestions you have. Leave a comment to share ~ I love hearing from you!

 

 

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7 Items You Should Always Look for at the Dollar Tree {Before Paying Full Price}

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I soooo love a trip to the Dollar Tree when it comes to gathering supplies for DIY projects and crafts ~ it’s amazing all they have to offer!  You can find some really cute stuff there, as well as crafting basics to have on hand when the Pinterest bug bites. 🙂

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A DIY project shouldn’t cost you more than buying the real deal at a home decor store, and a trip to the Dollar Tree before paying retail can save you a bundle. Check out these 7 items you should always look for at the Dollar Tree {BEFORE paying full price!}

 

 

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1 . Floral Picks & Berries

These come in handy for making inexpensive wreaths or front door arrangements as the seasons change, or a fresh centerpiece for the table.

 

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While there definitely are a few tacky flowers in the bunch, watch for a few that may work perfectly for your project. (Look for flowers or berries that look as close to real as possible.)  The smaller flowers and berry picks tend look to be a little more upscale than the big blooms.  (And what about those ADORABLE little faux succulents in pots?! I love those!)

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2 . Mason Jars, Glass Vases & Glass Jars

One of the things I use most often in changing up the mantle or table decor are small glass jars. In fact, every time I walk in the Dollar Tree I make a beeline for the glassware aisle (I’m like a kid in a candy store when I’m there!)

 

How to Decorate for Fall at the Dollar Tree

 

Place a tall candle in the center of the vase or jar (you can even sneak a can under your candle to beef up a $1 Dollar Tree candle) and on the outside, layer with whatever seasonal decor you like (like corn for fall, Valentine candy in February, peppermint sticks at Christmas) ~ the possibilities are endless.

 

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Tie on some Dollar Tree ribbon and Dollar Tree decor, and you’ve got a super cute centerpiece for just a few bucks. 🙂

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Mason Jars are handy for all kinds of stuff . . . especially gifting goodies, like this simple Dollar Tree Easter Craft.

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Or add a little spray paint for Spring vases too. 

And they make expensive-looking containers for birthday party favors too. (I love those!)

 

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3 . Pots & Tins

Use pots and tins to organize a desk area and cut down clutter.  Do you have a silhouette cutter? (I love mine!)  Customize a pot or tin with a monogram  ~ chalkboard stickers work great too.  These candy-colored guys will add a little splash of color to a shelf display, or make them match your decor with spray paint.

Flower pots with a plant inside make great gifts too.  Let the kids paint a flower pot for Grandparent’s day and plant some seeds in it for an inexpensive gift.

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4 . Frames

Inexpensive plastic frames are easy to transform with spray paint to coordinate with your wall collage – and no one will be able to tell those frames are just a buck.

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You can also place a cute piece of fabric behind the glass to make a simple dry erase frame.  Use it to display your weekly menu plan or to-do list.

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5 . Project Boards

This is my favorite thing to buy at the Dollar Tree. 🙂 

I’m always shocked at how much some stores charge for project boards or foam boards – definitely stock up on these for $1 when you get a chance!  They’re great for making signs and kids craft projects, and you can’t beat snatching them up for a buck.

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6 . Craft Foam Wreaths & Balls

I could only find the floral foam wreaths this trip, but watch for craft foam and even small grapevine wreaths too.  (In a pinch – a pool noodle can work as a wreath base as well!)

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Build on them by adding your favorite floral or berry picks, spray painted Easter eggs, or  a monogram in the middle.

 

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7 . Ribbons, Twine, Glue Guns & Washi Tape

A pretty ribbon or twine bow can make the perfect finishing touch – but craft stores can charge $3 or $4 for a spool of ribbon.

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Gather a few colors you like to have on hand at the Dollar Tree – you might even get lucky and find some burlap ribbon (woot!) which is useful for all sorts of crafts.

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Bonus tip . . .

Watch the Dollar Tree for aluminum containers ~ while these are great for baking and taking meals in, I love them for easy clean up when working on a crafting project. Fun!

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Do you love shopping the Dollar Tree as much as I do? 🙂 Check out these extra saving secrets (they even take coupons ~ love that!), and leave a comment to share your favorite Dollar Tree finds.

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Crafting {from the Target One Spot} + Free Printable!

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Note from Laurie: My friend Cheryl made this AMAZINGly adorable Easter bunting and bags using items from the Target One Spot, and even created a free printable so you can make them too! Hurry to the Target One Spot because the burlap pre-cut flags and bags are selling FAST, and go HERE to print your free printable so you can make them too. 

 

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We host an Easter brunch every year, so when I saw that Target had some great crafting supplies I knew I had to come up with something fun to make. I created this free printable that you can use as well, and am in love with this fun Easter project!

 

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Here’s what I used (I had almost everything at home, so spent just a few dollars at the Target One Spot bins)  . . . 

 

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  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Fabric (any fabric will do)
  • Burlap Bags (Target One Spot) $1.00 each
  • Burlap Flags (Target One Spot) $3.00 package (includes 8 flags)
  • Twine (Target One Spot) $1.00
  • Gift Tags (Target One Spot) $1.00 (includes 8 tags)
  • Bunny Shapes (PPP is so excited for you to have the free printable in just the right sizes!)
  • Wonder Under
  • Pencil

 

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Print your free printable here – then cut out your shape to use as a guide.

 

 

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Perfect fit!

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Trace your bunnies on the paper side of the wonder under (is this stuff amazing or what?!)  Then iron the wonder under to your fabric until it adheres.

 

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Cut bunnies out for gift bags . . .

 

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After you cut out the bunny, remove the paper portion of the wonder under and iron your bunny to your bag.

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Seriously … how cute are these?

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Follow the same instructions when making your bunny bunting – using the smaller bunny shape.
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I filled these cute bags up with candy and added on gift tags I found in the Target bins too.

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Such fun gift bags for Easter morning!

 

 

 

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Have you found any spring crafts to make this Spring? I’d love to hear what you’re making! 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!)

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Looking for more penny pinched projects? Here you go . . .

 

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Easter DIY: No Sew Burlap Bunny Pillow

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I’m feeling so crafty this week! I saw an idea over here a few days ago (I love everything I see at On Sutton Place) and realized I had all the supplies right at home.

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So, I spent about 30 minutes yesterday making this simple pillow cover, and am so pleased with how it turned out. 

Here’s what I used (I had everything at home so didn’t spend  a penny!)

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And, don’t forget to swing by the Target One Spot. . . 

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Spring decorating done! 🙂 

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Have you found any spring crafts to make this Spring? I’d love to hear what you’re making! 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!)

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Looking for more penny pinched projects? Here you go . . .

 

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Dollar Tree Easter Craft

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Note from Laurie: My friend Cheryl made this Easter craft all using items from the Dollar Tree, and I just love it as a way to fluff up for Spring!  Thank you so much Cheryl for sharing ~ it’s perfect!

 

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I saw an idea over here to use Dollar Tree items for Easter decor, and knew I had to try and make it on my own!

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Here’s what I used:

  • wreath mold
  • plastic eggs
  • spray paint
  • floral bunches
  • ribbon (any will do, I had plenty laying around)
  • moss
  • hot glue gun

 

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First I spray painted the eggs. It was a rainy day so I used a shipping box we had laying around so the spray paint didn’t get everywhere. These needed a few coats.

 

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I put the moss on the wreath mold, then glued on the mini eggs to create the wreath and glued in green moss in between the eggs.

 

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I love the way they turned out!

 

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Next, I worked on the topiaries.  Since I couldn’t find a topiary mold, I thought these vases would work out just fine.

 

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I glued on the moss and then started adding the eggs with just a little green moss in between to really pull it together.

 

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Then I snipped up the floral bunches to place around the topiaries, and for a few dollars they make great Easter centerpieces.

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So fun! 🙂

 

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Have you found any spring crafts to make this Spring? I’d love to hear what you’re making! 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!)

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Looking for more penny pinched projects? Here you go . . .

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30 Deals You Need to Buy at the Dollar Tree {the Easter Edition}

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Okie dokie folks, y’all know I love shopping The Dollar Tree for just about anything!  There are a ton of things you need to look for at Dollar Tree before paying more elsewhere, so here’s a quick list of things to consider before heading out!

 

Easter baskets can get pricey fast, so swinging by the Dollar Tree for the basics is a great way to pinch a penny and stock up. Since Dollar Tree typically sells out of their holiday selection, I’d recommend going soon to get the best selection!

 

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Here’s what to watch for . . . 

1. Easter Baskets

2. Fillable Easter Eggs (regular and bunny, duck, carrot shapes)

3. Eraser Basket Stuffers

4. Bubble Basket Stuffers

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5.  Jump Rope Basket Stuffers

6.  Stuffed Animal Basket Stuffers

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7.  Easter Candy to Fill the Eggs

8.  Puzzle Basket Stuffers

9.  Painting Basket Stuffers

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10.  Easter Front Door Displays

11.  Easter Front Yard Signs

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12. Easter Crafting Supplies

13.  Easter Garland

14.  Easter Ribbon

15. Easter Paper Plates

16. Easter Plastic Knifes, Forks, Spoons

17. Easter Napkins

18. Easter Platters

19.  Easter Tablecloths

20. Easter Florals of All Kinds

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21.   Bunny Ears

22.  Bunny Sunglasses

23.  Easter cards priced either 2/$1 or $1

24.  Easter Chair Covers

25.  Easter Window Stickies

26.  Easter Dish Towels

27.  Easter Candles

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28.  Wrapping paper

29.  Tape

 

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30. Aluminum storage containers (these are great for taking to parties and come 3 to a pack for the smaller containers)

 

Love decorating at the Dollar Tree? See a few ways I’ve used Dollar Tree finds in our home:

 

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Simple Spray Paint Project

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You guys. 

 

Save your cans.

 

Your soup cans. And your bean cans. And your veggie cans. 

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Save them all.

 

Because.

 

Then.

 

You can do this. 🙂 

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I saw this super cute idea to spray paint tin cans over HERE, (hers our gorgeous) and while I didn’t quite follow the idea it got me thinking.

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Once the tulips have worn out, I’ll replace them with either grass seeds or herbs to use as centerpieces for Easter.

 

Gen. ius.

 

I know you’re impressed. 🙂

 

Here’s what I used:

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All I did was spray paint the cans after we’d emptied them this week when making soup (I accidentally deleted the pictures of my cans without labels – but just pull the labels off and let give them a good soak in water before painting.) 

 

Then found a small piece of ribbon that had been attached to a gift, hot glued the ends around the middle, added a few tulips and done.

 

Perfect!

 

While I was at it I remembered this fun little craft we’d made when I did MOPS with my kids years ago. 

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Use green onions cut the same length all around a can (we used a glass jar when I made them, but the can is even cheaper!)

 

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Stuff them in in rows with a rubber band around them,

 

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Cover the rubber band with some rope . . .

 

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And fill with flowers too.

 

Done!

 

 

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Now, while we’re in the kitchen I wanted to go ahead and show you that we finally updated our light fixture and I am so in love with our breakfast space finally (seriously, in love.)

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Remember this was it when we moved in? (Gosh, see the dirt backyard out there? So glad it’s gone!)

 

And here it is now . . .
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The fixture is from Lowe’s and is fits the room so much better than our last one, although I’ve got to see if my husband  hung onto the chain because it’s a little too high.

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We’ve got family coming in for Easter (I’m so excited!), and have been working to really save the last few months to finish up a few projects in our home before they get here. 

 

I’d so rather save on my groceries and small decorations (no reason to ever pay for vases now!), so we can save for the “bigger” ticket items we’re really dreaming of. And remember, we’ve been at this penny pinching for almost twenty years ~ our years of living frugally have been so worth it!

 

Have you found any spring crafts to make this Spring? I’d love to hear what you’re making! 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!)

 

Looking for more penny pinched projects? Here you go . . .

 

 

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Painted Pinecones

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Note from Laurie: My friend Cheryl made this amazing craft with her daughter, and I’m so-so-so in love with it! I also love that this is a great craft to do with your kids (and now I can’t wait to try it with my girls.) Thank you so much Cheryl for sharing ~ it’s perfect!

 

I fell in love with this idea when I saw it HERE and knew we had to try it!  

 

I showed my 9 year old daughter and she couldn’t wait to get started.  We had the best time finding pinecones … and choosing colors … and painting … and talking.  I just love the way they turned out and how they bring a little spring to our cold February days.

 

Bonus? Easter centerpiece is done. 🙂

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First I found the perfect bowl in Hobby Lobby’s 80% off section.

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Then gathered up the rest of my supplies.

Supplies:

  • Pinecones
  • Paints (we used acrylics but any paint will do)
  • Paintbrush

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I used bunched up paper towels in the bottom of the bowl to help the pinecones sit up right.

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And we added our extra pine cones in a clear glass bowl.

 

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Done!

 

Have you found any spring crafts to make this Spring? I’d love to hear what you’re making! 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!)

Looking for more penny pinched projects? Here you go . . .

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Dollar Tree Valentines

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Need a quick idea for your child’s Valentine party at school? Head to the Dollar Tree fast! 🙂

 

My friend Cheryl shared these Dollar Tree Valentine’s that she made for her daughter’s class, which came out to just 27¢ per child for a class of 18. Easy way to let your kids have treats for the whole class and stick to a penny pinched budget. 🙂

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Supplies:

  • Happy Valentines Day Bags – $1.00
  • 1 set Valentine Sticker Boxes (box of 18) – $1.00
  • 1 bag Sixlets – $1.00
  • 2 bags Sweet Tart Hearts – $2.00
  • Total = $5 or 27¢ per child

 

 

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Looking for more penny pinched projects? Here you go . . .

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