Menu Plan Monday: Week Of 4/19/15

 

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Have you made your menu plan yet for the week? I’m so ready to focus on sticking to our menu plan (I’ve been horrible about keeping up with it for the last few months), so picked out several of our family’s favorite recipes to enjoy this week.

 

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You can also print this handy dandy free printable google doc for you to print if you’d like to follow our menu plan – hopefully it makes your life a little simpler this week (let me know if you like it!) If you’re new to Google Docs, here’s how to print your list:

  • Open the document HERE
  • Click “file” in the top left hand corner of the screen
  • Click “print” at the bottom of that menu and print your list

 

Menu plan

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Grocery list
  • 1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast (frozen is fine)
  • 8 oz Italian sausage
  • 1 small package pepperoni
  • 1 package Canadian bacon
  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1 onion
  • 14 oz can chicken broth
  • packet dry Italian seasoning mix
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 6 hoagie buns
  • 6 pack English muffins
  • 6-8 slices provolone
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 6 slices American cheese (may substitute for Egg McMuffins with other any type of cheese)
  • 8 oz bowtie pasta
  • 15 oz tomato sauce

 

Side Dish Extras

  • garlic bread
  • salad
  • fresh, canned or frozen veggies
  • carrot sticks
  • chips
  • red potatoes
  • fresh fruit

 

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 4 pork chops ours were sliced very thinly, but you could use whatever thickness you choose, just change the cooking time accordingly)

Pantry Staples

  • olive oil
  • oregano
  • basil
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • pepper
  • parsley (fresh if possible)
  • soy sauce
  • red wine vinegar
  • honey

 

Do you have anything yummy on your menu plan this week?  I’d love to hear what you’re having, and if you have any great recipe ideas please leave a comment to share!  

 

 

Check out my recipes to try board on Pinterest, and see more penny-pinched recipe ideas.  This post is linked up to OrgJunkie’s Menu Plan Monday where you can find lots more menu planning ideas! 

 

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The Friday Fluff Up: Our (Almost) Completed Breakfast Room

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I’ve been itching to update you all as we’ve been working on some projects in our home, but know that things aren’t quite perfect in this room yet so I’ve been hesitant to share! But, I’m thinking waiting for really-quite-perfect might just never come, so I’m sharing a peek at our almost-perfect room today.

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Remember the breakfast nook I showed you after we moved in to our new home last Spring?

 

Well, we updated it with just a rug and a painted lamp last summer, and it definitely  helped.
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But that poor table ~ the one that I’ve always just adored ~ has been in pitiful shape for years. I bought it for a steal at a Lane clearance sale about nine years ago (it was sold “as is”, meaning the gate leg on it never really worked. . . ), so we’ve spent countless meals at the dinner table hoping the table wouldn’t fall down on us while we ate.

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My husband had finally had enough (he’s pretty handy, but there was nothing really to do for it ~ it was in just rough shape to start with!), so we decided after Christmas to purchase a new table for the room. The table headed down to the basement (it’s perfect for our kids to use down there for projects), and we found this table I’m just in love with.

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The room is fairly big (15’x12′, which seems huge to me?), and after shopping several furniture stores my mom mentioned to me the Paula Deen line that she loved. No stores up here in Ohio sell Paula Deen furniture (too far North of the Mason Dixon line I s’pose . . . ) so I spent hours watching YouTube videos and searching pictures of this new set that I really thought I would love.

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(all set up on Easter Sunday) 

We finally decided to order it ~ we’ve purchased before online using Furnitureland South, and actually ended up working with another company who beat their price. Folks, if you’re looking for quality furniture, I definitely recommend shopping around online – I saved almost $1000 by taking a few minutes to contact competing stores (after checking them out through the Better Business Bureau), and see who was willing to offer me the best deal!

before before extra trim & curtains

My (amazing) husband also added extra trim work around the ceiling (goodness, pretty molding makes such a difference – I’m guessing we have about $100 in trim work throughout the room), and we hung curtains that I found at World Market. 

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after trim & curtains

This isn’t really all that penny-pinched a project (although we did save a few pennies here and there . . . I think?) but this is one of the reasons that I’m willing to save on my groceries. If I can choose to spend money on paying full price for groceries, or having extra money to fluff up a room in our home, I’ll pick a pretty room any day! :)

 

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I’d still love to find a new lighting fixture, but figure I can wait on that a while until I find hopefully a penny pinched option that I really  just love. (I’m hoping to find a deal at the Ballard Designs Outlet like I found on these? We’ll see . . . )
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We’re also not quite sure about how to handle curtains for the sliding door on the right side of the room (I didn’t get a good picture to show, but my husband is almost open to considering something like this on a smaller scale. It looks like a bit of a huge project, but a girl can dream, right?) :)

 

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So, there you have it! I would love to hear your suggestions on things if you have them (I could sure use some ideas on an inexpensive way to update that light fixture, so let me know what you think!)

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If you’d like to see more pictures of our home as we’ve been updating it, here you go . . .

 

(And, in case you’d like to see some of my favorites from our Sweet Home in Alabama, here you go . . . )

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Big Spring Closet Cleanout Week #2 + How I Made $70 In 2 Hours From My Home

 

 

 

Need some motivation to clean our your child’s closet?

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This is for you.

 

Remember last week how I cleaned out my daughter Reagan’s closet? Well I took everything to our local Once Upon a Child, and for just 2 hours of work I made $70 selling her used clothing. 

 

WOOHOOOO!!! :)

 

(Needless to say, I was pretty excited.)

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So, last night I asked my 12 year old to start cleaning out her closet.

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It was in pretty bad shape, but she worked on it for a solid hour (cleaned out her drawers too), and sure enough now we have several boxes to sell, donate, or pass down to Reagan.

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(I was tickled that she folded her clothes relatively neatly ~ after doing most of the work myself in Reagan’s room, it was so nice to see Caroline handle so much of the work herself!

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I’m hoping to have Jackson work on his closet this weekend so that I can take a large load again next week to re-sell (most of their clothes will go to Plato’s Closet, a consignment store for teenage/adult clothing), and was so pleased with how simple it was to sell items. 

 

The best part about working on their closets? It makes managing laundry so much easier because there’s room for the actual clothes they wear, and I save so much simply by knowing what they really have. (It’s so easy with a crowded closet to forget a long lost sweater, but a good de-cluttering lets you know what’s really there!)

 

If you have a few minutes ahem, an hour or two to tackle your child’s closet this week, I soooo recommend it ~ you’ll feel amazing to have that project marked off your list, and might just earn a few dollars too! And if you have other tips on how to earn money re-selling your child’s clothing I’d love to hear those suggestions too.

 

 

 

 

 

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Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

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For almost 19 years (yikes!) my poor husband has been asking me to make Salisbury Steak every once in awhile for dinner. But, because I’m a chicken-loving girl, I honestly have made it only one other time in all those years.

 

Seriously folks. The poor guy!

 

So, when I came across this recipe for Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak I was intrigued (especially after reading through the reviews), and decided I might just try to make his favorite one night. I adjusted it some to limit the cream soup, and think you could probably substitute a homemade cream soup to even limit your processed foods even more.

 

Folks, it was actually good. And easy. And, even though I still prefer chicken (just about any way you make it . . . ), this was yummy comfort food that made me feel like his mom cooking back in the late 70’s. ;)

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We had it over mashed potatoes with green beans and salads, and even though my kids turned their noses up they actually all ate every bite on their plate. If this is one of those recipes that someone special in your family would love too, it’s an easy way to try it out, and just might make their night! Here’s the recipe  . . .

 

Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 envelope dry onion soup mix (can make your own using this recipe)
  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 can golden mushroom soup (can make your own using this recipe)
  • 1 package Au Jus seasoning mix (can make your own using this recipe)
  • 1 1/4 cups water

Directions

  1. In medium bowl, mix together ground beef, soup mix, bread crumbs and milk.
  2. Form into 8 patties.
  3. In medium non-stick skillet, grill patties for just a minute to brown sides over medium high heat.
  4. Place in slow cooker stacked in a pyramid shape.
  5. Mix together golden mushroom soup, Au Jus seasoning and water.
  6. Pour over meat in slow cooker.
  7. Cook on low for 3-4 hours, until meat is done. (You could also choose to cook in oven until cooked through if you’re in a hurry.)

 

Here are the best sales I see to watch for this week (as of 4/15/15):

  • Earth Fare Antibiotic Free Ground Chuck $4.48/lb (great price for hormone free beef!)
  • Meijer Ground Round $2.99/lb.
  • Libby’s Canned Vegetables on sale $.79 at Dollar Tree, use $1/4 Libby’s Canned Vegetables coupon
  • Publix Red 5 pound Potatoes on sale $3.49 or Potato Inspirations  Honey Gold Potatoes BOGO $1.99

Recipe adapted from All Recipes. Thanks to I Heart Publix for the coupon matchups. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Fruit of the Spirit Jar

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A few years ago, I shared my friend Melody’s idea for a “Fruit of the Spirit” jar that we used over the summer to help teach our children a small lesson in the fruits of the Sprit each day.  At that time all three of my kids (then ages 11, 8 & 4) worked on learning Galatians 5:22:

 

 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Even though my kids have grown quite a bit since then, we still (of course!) have moments where we struggle with discipline.  I happened to remember the Fruit Of The Spirit jar again (somewhere it had been stuffed back in a cabinet. . .) so I’m pulling it out again to encourage a little positive behavior in our home.

 

It (obviously!) is pretty simple to make.  I used a mason jar (an empty spaghetti jar would work too), some clearance Easter jelly beans (I really liked the idea of using Runts since they’re shaped in fruit shapes – you can pick those up at the Dollar Tree!) and labeled the jar with the verse.


 

I try to keep my ears alert for moments when they model the fruit of the spirit.  If Jackson does something sweet for one of his sisters, I’ll ask which fruit he’s displaying and he picks a candy from the jar. (Folks, even at just-turned-15-yesterday, candy is highly motivating.) :) If Caroline manages to show patience when she really just wants to hurry, she’ll choose a treat.  And, when Reagan manages to make it down the stairs for school without any griping or complaining, she might get a treat too.   I also ask them to share again what the fruits of the spirit are before they get their treat.

 

I am simply amazed at how much more effective positive motivators work in our home, compared to all my efforts at hollering, griping, and whining-to-the-point-of-exhaustion to encourage my children.  Yesterday my daughter was so pleased with herself when she earned a fruit of the Spirit for helping make my bed without being asked. . . because that one definitely exemplified some goodness on her part, and made me much kinder to boot!

 

If you’ve been looking for a way to positively encourage your kids as well as teach them the values of the Fruits of the Spirit, take a peek at how we set up our Fruit of the Spirit Jar to work in our home.  I’d love to hear what other tips you have on teaching biblical principals as well as encouraging good behavior in your kiddos, as summer is just a few weeks away and I have a feeling I’m going to have to be on top of this one again this year!

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Menu Plan Monday: Week Of 4/12/15

 

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Here’s this week’s menu plan and grocery shopping list! I’m super excited because one of our family’s favorite recipe is this Best Ever Slow Cooker Roast (I promise, even though the picture isn’t all that pretty it is the best. ever.) and since I have an extra shoulder roast in the freezer it will make for such a yummy (penny pinched) meal this week.

I also created this handy dandy free printable google doc for you to print if you’d like to follow our menu plan – hopefully it makes your life a little simpler this week (let me know if you like it!) If you’re new to Google Docs, here’s how to print your list:

  • Open the document HERE
  • Click “file” in the top left hand corner of the screen
  • Click “print” at the bottom of that menu and print your list

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If you’re hoping to get on track too, check out my Menu Planning board on Pinterest where I’ve got all the links to the recipes we’re eating each week. Head on over HERE to check that out, and I’d love for you to join all the PPP boards on Pinterest too.

 

Shopping List
  • 2.5 – 3.5 lb shoulder roast
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 packages hot dogs
  • 2 onions
  • 3 carrots
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 1/2 cup beef broth (for slow cooker roast)
  • 3 10 oz. cans beef broth (for pasta fagioli soup)
  • 1 can BEEFY Mushroom soup (NOT cream of mushroom)
  • 1/2 tbsp beef bouillon
  • 2 jars Alfredo pasta sauce (could also make this from scratch – I’ve tried this recipe before and been happy with it)
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 pints ricotta cheese
  •  2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 16 oz can red kidney beans
  • 1 15 oz can white kidney beans
  • 1 package lasagna noodles
  • 10 oz package frozen spinach

 

Side Dish Extras

 

Pantry Staples

  • flour
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • olive oil
  • water
  • corn starch
  • 2 packages yeast
  • sugar
  • milk
  • vegetable oil
  • salt
  • baking soda

 

Do you have anything yummy on your menu plan this week?  I’d love to hear what you’re having, and if you have any great recipe ideas please leave a comment to share!  

 

 

Check out my recipes to try board on Pinterest, and see more penny-pinched recipe ideas.  This post is linked up to OrgJunkie’s Menu Plan Monday where you can find lots more menu planning ideas! 

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Big Spring Closet Cleanout Week #1 + How I Earn Money When I Organize

Guys, I absolutely love sharing fun little crafty Friday Fluff Up projects here on PPP (even though I’m not all that crafty . . . I sure do love trying!) But, this month I’m determined to tackle all four bedroom closets in our home, so this week I started with my daughter Reagan’s room.

Yesterday morning, as soon as she and I woke up (and before I sat down to the computer!) I forced myself into her closet (BLECK.) We turned on some music, and determined to really, really work on a good clean out. After moving last year I learned just how important it is to constantly pare down your stuff, so I spent a solid 3 hours doing a complete re-organizing of of her room, switching her winter clothes out, and deciding what she really needed to hang onto this year.

Y’all, it was bad.

But every single time I organize, I earn a little moo-lah as I go.

 

First I separate items into trash bags, Goodwill donations, and clothes that I’m going to sell at our local kids consignment store. My husband and son are begging for a riding lawn mower, so I’m challenging myself to see how much I can sell this month to earn some money towards their new fun toy . . . I’ll update you on how it goes! :)

 

The other way that I save every time I tidy things up around our home? 

 

It never fails that I after cleaning things out I realize my kids have plenty of clothes (clearly.) While I might pick her up an outfit or two if I see something super cute, we really don’t need to spend a single penny on new summer duds for her. That’s like making (at least!) $100 by actually being able to find the clothes she already has, rather than heading to the store for new more clothes (when she has way too much here already!)

 


As you can see this after picture she still has more than enough. (Although the clothing on the far hanger are dress up clothes, jackets to grow into, and special items that my kids have worn through the years that no longer fit, but I simply can’t part with. Anyone else relate?)

 

Folks, I’m amazed at how much more content I am with what I have simply by taking care to make my home the very best space it can be. As a girl who’s spent years thinking if only I had . . . “, I’ve been reminded that just taking care of what I already own can make even the tiniest space just enough.

 
If you’re in a place today where you feel like your home isn’t big enough, your closets will never be large enough, or there’s just no way you can manage without a bit larger kitchen, bathroom, garage (or whatever), I encourage you to choose to do the very best you can to make the space you already have just perfect for you.

 

I promise from experience that our family has lived in a tiny home and one that’s plenty big, and there is always (always!) someone who has something bigger, better, fancier, and way more impressive than what I’ll have in my own home (and I really do love my  home!)  But, taking care to clean, organize, and “fluff” the space that you’re in (no matter the size), can make what you already have just perfect for you.

 

Take pride in what you have right now – whether it be your home, your car, or even something as trivial as the purse you carry, to make it the very best space you can have with the money you can afford. I promise it’s worth it, and choosing not to sacrifice what you really want for what you want right now will change your family’s future.
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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Refrigerator Menu Planning, Spring Break, Easter & More (Ummm… And What To Do With A Chuck Blade Steak?)

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

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Have you ever just felt like life is just whizzing right on by? These last few weeks have been wonderful at our house, but b.u.s.y. and I’m still reeling a bit after just racing around so far this month.

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Two weeks ago we headed to Tremblant, Canada to ski for Spring Break, and goodness, it was beautiful. 

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We stayed in the nicest little condo, ate at a few yummy restaurants, cooked a bunch in our room, and had just a wonderful time as a family.
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(Curious how we save for vacations? Here you go.)

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Canada was amazing (now my kids want to see it in the summertime and all think they’re going to move North – yikes!) Then we headed back home to Columbus where my husband’s parents and sister’s family met us for Easter.

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In the midst of it all my sweet Reagan turned eight (eight!), and our niece Sarah made her the most fun not-quite-Easter-but-almost-Easter birthday cake. (‘Cause you know, there just wasn’t enough sweet stuff around here.) ;)

 

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Y’all, we had just the best time hanging out together, and they brought so much food that my fridge which was completely cleaned out just two and a half weeks ago is now once again bursting at the seams. They headed back to Western Kentucky yesterday, so this morning I did a quick inventory of our kitchen and realized it was already time to reign things in a bit around here.

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After doing our No Spend Challenge last month, I decided it was time (already!) to start another challenge to really eat through what we still have here.  (Goodness there are a ton of meals I can make right now in my kitchen without ever visiting the grocery store!)

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Here’s what I came up with . . . 

 

  1. tacos
  2. homemade pizza
  3. grilled pork chops
  4. grilled salmon
  5. broiled or grilled chicken, veggies, rice
  6. hot dogs
  7. slow cooker chicken nachos
  8. nutella crepes (we had those in Canada – my kids fell in love) Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 12.46.00 PM
  9. french toast & bacon
  10. grilled cheese
  11. crock pot chicken
  12. lasagnaScreen Shot 2015-04-08 at 12.46.21 PM
  13. boneless beef chuck blade steak (I have no idea what to do with these – suggestions please? It’s got to get used soon!)
  14. Italian Beef
  15. meatloaf
  16. spaghetti with meat sauce
  17. something with ham . . . tons of ham leftover for Easter that can’t go to waste!

 

Do you realize that could just about get us through the entire month of April? While I do have a few staples I’ll need to pick up, I’m going to see what we can do to use up what we have before buying anything else to around here.

 

 

Have you gone through your kitchen lately and really figured out what you could make without ever making a trip to the store? I’d love to hear what your list looks like, and maybe you can join me in scaling back for a few more weeks too! While I love saving when I shop, saving by just not shopping at all is my absolute favorite way to pinch a penny or two.

 

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Need a little more menu inspiration? Go HERE

 

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Leftover Ham Recipe Roundup

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

 

These Hawaiian bread ham and cheese sandwiches are the BEST EVER little sandwiches! You can't go wrong with these little pint-sized snacks. Pack them for lunch or have them for a quick dinner on the go!

We’ve had just a wonderful week off for Spring Break, and my in-laws are in town for a few more days so I’ve been a wee bit too busy to keep up with as much as I’d like here on PPP! Thankfully I’ve had some fantastic help, but hopefully will be back in the swing of things later this week. In the mean time, I thought you all might enjoy a few yummy ham recipes in case you have some leftover ham at your house like we do.

 

Here are a few of our favorites . . . 

 

Thanks to I Heart Publix for the coupon matchups. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Goodwill Lamp Makeover

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I’m going to keep it short and sweet today, but here’s the most fun little Friday fun I was able to make using just a few Goodwill lamps! I realized after painting them that the lighting in one didn’t work (I think it worked when I first started the project?) but one lamp for under $20 works for me. Here’s what I did . . .

Bought 2 Goodwill lamps, each $4 (if I do this again, I’ll only purchase ones without any decoration on them – the decoration somewhat bled through the paint of the blue lamp.)

Cleaned them really thoroughly with Dawn dish soap.

Used Krylon Looking Glass spray paint to paint them (it did take several coats spraying very carefully so that the paint didn’t run.) I bought the paint using a coupon at JoAnn’s, but this price on Amazon is the lowest it’s been priced at. (One can would have been more than enough to do the lamps, but I didn’t want to run out so I grabbed two.)

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Added a $10 shade I’d found at Ballard Designs Outlet (love that store!)

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Set it next to my Dollar Tree jelly beans jars. ;)

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Considering this lamp costs $179 at One King’s Lane (yikes!), I’m pretty pleased with my little Goodwill fun!

 

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Looking for more Goodwill ideas? Here are a few of my favorite updates:

 
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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