Our Bedroom Makeover: And Why Our House May Always Be a Little Hodge-Podgey.

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Note – I just finished reading the book Hope Heals and HIGHLY recommend it if you need some encouragement to soak up life, no matter where you are. Go HERE to grab yours. 

I’m just going to be really, really, really honest with you all right now.

 

I’m not gonna win the best penny pincher ever this week.  

 

Not even close.

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Five years ago (fifteen years in. . . ) we splurged on bedroom furniture which I loved. We saved to pay cash for it, got a good deal, and after purchasing bedding I walked away and called the room done.

 

but.

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It never looked just right, you know?

 

So last weekend after touring a few model homes I came back to our beautiful-but-quite-hod-podged home and just started dreaming. 

 

We’ve spent years working on upgrading the brick and mortar parts of our homes as we’ve moved over the last twenty years, but have never spent much on our decor because we really wouldn’t gain financial value from that. (Adding trim work to a home makes for a better sale, a cute dresser just doesn’t!) So, every room in our home carries a few Goodwill, thrift stores, and hand me down treasures.

 

Which is perfect. And I’m so so thankful for them.

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But.

 

I kinda wanted a “right” room, you know?

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You see, my struggle with penny pinching is this:

 

I love beautiful things. But. (sigh.)  I hate what they cost.

 

Like, HATE what they cost.

 

But I decided to head to Home Goods, noticed a few lamps, and thought about how much I’d love to replace my Goodwill/garage store mix and match lamps (see the before HERE) with two coordinating lamps.

 

Just $59 each. Gulp.

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Then I started looking at a few bedroom pictures on Instagram, and realized mirrors above nightstands were all the rage (I had no idea?)

 

So I grabbed two (very small ones ~ at $20 a piece I figured they were perfect!) to match the lamps and headed home.

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The initial mirrors were way too small, so I checked out Hobby Lobby and found two for $100 each (eek), and asked my hubby what he thought. He didn’t say he hated the idea, so I decided that was a win. 🙂

 

Guys, I feel guilty, but I love it.

 

Total cost to “finish” the room?  (Well, except curtains . . . keep reading . . . ) 

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Updated alcove project outside our door ~ James also added all the trim work along the hallway upstairs like he’d done on the first floor

$320.

 

Ouch.

 

It wasn’t necessary. We can live without it. We absolutely don’t need it.

 

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But.

 

It makes me ridiculously happy. We had money in savings for it. And I absolutely love it.

 

And, I’m planning to love it for a long long time, because by waiting this long to finish it I’ve figured out what I really do love, and everything I picked I (think?) is pretty timeless.

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Our make-shift free window shades which we got when we ordered shutters in other rooms of our home. We so need to replace them but I love looking out each day at our view ~ and I know new curtains will cost a bundle ~ eek!

So, there you have it.

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If you’re new to penny pinching and don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, let me promise you it’s there.

 

 

By waiting for what we really wanted (instead of what we wanted right now), we can totally see the abundance of having plenty which we didn’t have in those early years.

 

You’ll get there too. 

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Be patient. Stick with the Goodwill stuff. Check out your local garage sales, thrift stores, and online yard sales.

 

And then.

 

When you’ve penny pinched for just a few years and the money really is finally really in the budget, you can have that room you’ve always dreamed of too.

 

And it’ll be oh-so-worth the wait. 😉 

 

And in the meantime? 

 

Whatever space you have.

 

Whatever you’ve got.

 

Clean it up. De-clutter. De-gunk. De-mess.

 

Because even when you don’t have just the perfect space, the space you have really can be just perfect. 

 

Or at least better.

 

Okay?

 

Take a few minutes this weekend to fluff up a space in your home ~ and make today a beautiful day. 

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Here’s the only “decoration” we had in our first apartment ~ a Mary Engelbreit card that I put in a $1 Dollar Tree frame. I still love it enough to keep it (hidden a bit!) on our night stand. 🙂 

 

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DIY Platform Storage Bed On A Budget

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My friend Misty created this platform bed for her son, and I LOVED the idea! Here’s a peek at how she made it for under $100. 

 

My son turned 13 a couple of months ago, so I decided it was about time to get him out of his twin size bed that he has been in since he was 3!  The only problem was that the old bed had a lot of storage under it, and I did not want to give it up.  I started looking online for options to purchase, which were all too pricey, so I headed over to Pinterest to find ideas.  Here are a few of my favorites pins:

My favorite idea was the first one.  He has links to videos showing the entire process of his build, and I really liked the idea of using cabinets for the base. However, even Ikea cabinets would blow the budget, so I started my hunt for used kitchen or bath base cabinets that I could recycle.

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I thought they would be easy to find at thrift stores, but after a couple of weeks searching all the local thrift stores, the Habitat ReStore, and Craigslist, I had not found enough cabinets to match up to build the base.  On to plan B…I found these Better Homes and Gardens Square 4-Cube Organizers at Walmart for only $37.96 each.

 

I liked that these had a 100 lb. weight limit on the top of the cabinet.  I had also seen so many cute pallet wood projects on Pinterest, so I decided to go with the new storage units and the old pallet wood for the rest of the base.

 

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The next step in the hunting & gathering process was to find the mattress for the bed.  This was important because I needed the exact measurements, including the thickness, to determine the platform size of the base. I wanted the mattress to have a flat transition from the slats to top of the storage units so the mattress could overlap the top of the storage units.  I went with this mattress on Jet.com (also available at Amazon) which had great reviews and only cost $125 (after coupon).

 

I will say I enjoy building things and doing projects on my own, but I couldn’t have done this without my handy husband.  Fortunately we had most of the tools we needed and borrowed the rest so we didn’t have to spend anything on that.  We also had a lot of wood left over from rebuilding our fence a few years ago, so most of the 2×4’s we used came out of that.  We did have to buy three 2x4x96″ studs to run the length of the bed frame and six 1x3x96″ boards for the support slats. We also had to buy screws and a couple of 2×4 hanging brackets.

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You can also see in this picture that we decided to add a small headboard, which was not in my original idea.  We added it to provide a backstop for his pillows and a shelf for his alarm clock.  We used some of the longer old fence boards to create the headboard. After this step we added the 1×3 slats to the frame to support the mattress evenly and put the assembled storage units into place. (I did not permanently attach them to the base.)

 

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For the footboard, I used an old pallet.  I just measured the opening between the base posts and cut the pallet to fit. I’m planning to add a folding desktop to the footboard in the future…

 

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The last part of the project was creating a door to conceal the storage area.  I used a scrap piece of plywood for the back of the door then cut pieces of pallet wood to screw to the front creating a really rustic look.  We had already positioned 2 support posts to the base of the bed where I wanted the door to go.  We attached 2 hinges between one of the support posts and the door.

 

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All in all we ended up spending right at $100 for the materials to build this bed, not including the mattress!  My son loves it, and I’m happy to still have a place to hide the Legos and other stuff that he isn’t quite ready to get rid of yet. 🙂

 

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Dollar Tree DIY

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Not gonna lie. This didn’t turn out as my favorite Friday Fluffin’ project ever.

 

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(I really do like this one. And this one. And even this one. But today’s? Not my favorite.)

 

But.

 

I think the idea is good, so I’m sharing it and betting you’ll do it better than me, so maybe it’ll inspire you to just get crafting! 🙂

 

I saw this super smart idea and thought it would be so simple, then Reagan determined that she wanted them pink, and my main goal kind of got lost in the shuffle. So for a $3 craft project with my kids they’re fine, but I’d love to hear if you can come up with something even cuter.

 

When I was racing through the Dollar Tree I didn’t catch that these three plates all the same size (definitely better), and I love the stickers that were used. I was in a hurry (like always!) and made these stencils on my Silhouette Cameo since I didn’t have stickers at home, but I love the idea over here so much more.

 

(I also love this clever way to use these plates. So stinkin’ cute and what I’ll try next time!)

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All I did was grab three plates at the Dollar Tree for $3 and used spray paint I already had on hand. 

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Then I cut the words using my Silhouette Cameo (you could easily use stickers from the Dollar Tree or Hobby Lobby if you don’t have a Cameo), and painted the inside.

 

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The one thing I did LOVE using were these Command Hooks They handled the weight of the plates perfectly, and are easy to remove without putting holes in the wall. Love that!

 

If you have a few minutes this weekend this would be such an easy project, just put a little more forethought into it than I did. 🙂 And don’t forget to swing by the Dollar Tree for some crazy fun deals on 4th of July Decor ~ so fun!

 

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Looking for more Dollar Tree?

 

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

 

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Dollar Tree Organizing

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I love the Dollar Tree

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Really, I do. 🙂 

 

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Earlier this week I hauled my nine year old with me to see what we could find (see tons of other items I found at the Dollar Tree over HERE), and when I realized those little storage bins fit our closet shelves perfectly I knew I had to go get more. 

 

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So yesterday I went back to the Dollar Tree one more time, and they had exactly 8 more in the size I needed to quickly tidy up my closet. I threw away and donated things we no longer needed, and in about 30 minutes this mess of a closet was cleaned up.

 

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Success!

 

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Similar bins would have cost me $8-$12 each at the Container Store, so I was just thrilled with my little find. (I even hunted down similar ones on Amazon and noticed these priced at 2/$14.99 ~ crazy!) I paid a whopping $9 total ~ I love that.

 

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If you’ve got some organizing to do this weekend, you might just make a trip to the Dollar Tree to see what you can find.

 

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I found these in the laundry storage section of my store (not in the organizing bin section like I expected), so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for them if you go look! I also found several more projects to craft while I was there, so stop back next week for more Dollar Tree fun. 🙂

 

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Looking for more ways to organize at the dollar tree?

 

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

 

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Fluffed Up Chalkboard Door Hanger

I just fell in love with this cute fluffed up chalkboard door hanger and I know you will too!  Such a fun way to fluff up that front door for the summer and you can even use real flowers from your yard!

 

 

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Here is what you need to get started:

 

  • Old metal door hanging basket or tin
  • Spray paint
  • Painters tape
  • Chalk paint
  • Foam paint brush
  • Chalk
  • Flowers
  • Newspaper

 

First, you will need to search your local resale stores (or even your closets if you’re like me) for a hanging basket or tin.

 

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Next you’ll spray paint your hanging basket or tin.  Lay your tin on top of newspaper outside and spray paint it any color you like.  Make sure to let it dry completely.

 

(A great tip to avoid the newspaper getting in the way of your paint is to place rocks on each corner … so smart!)

 

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Once your basket or tin is dry, tape off a small rectangle or square with painters tape for the chalkboard area.

 

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Use your foam paint brush to paint the inside of the square with black chalk paint, let this dry and then add a second coat.  When your paint is dry, peel your tape off very carefully.

 

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Write WELCOME on the front and fill with any flowers you like.  I love that you can change WELCOME to anything!

 

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Hang this cuteness on your door and enjoy your fluffed up chalkboard door hanger!

 

Looking to do more fluffing up?  Here you go . . .

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You Need To Do This Today.

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My girls are determined that we’re going to get our annual pedicure (I can only stand to pay for it once a year ~ they’ve been patiently waiting!) so this will be the fastest Friday Fluffing you’ve ever seen.  They helped me tackle the project this morning to earn cute toes! 🙂 

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My closet has been in some serious need of attention for the last few months, but much like our mudroom it’s been put on the back burner.

 

So today I set aside a few hours and did a ton of cleaning out. It’s not all that Pinterested (really, who sees our closets?) but it’s so much better. And, I’ll save a bundle on summer clothes because now I know what I already have. (See how we updated this closet last year for FREE ~ love that!)

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Ack!
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After . . .

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Other than swapping the mirror and our little rolling cabinet, all I did was tidy things up a bit. James still needs to finish up his side, but mine is done!

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And here’s what’s heading to our local free store. I didn’t even take pictures with anything other than my iPhone, but this project is just about done, so that’s my win for the week. Success!
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!

 

Interact with 500,000+ Penny Pinchers on Facebook and Twitter or Subscribe to Passionate Penny Pincher by email to keep up with all the penny pinchin’ deals!

 

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Mudroom Makeover (More Than A Makeover)

 

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If you’re here just for the deals scoot on to the next penny-post ~ this one’s a doozie! And, know that I know SO MANY OF YOU have hardships so much greater than mine, I feel almost silly even sharing this here. But maybe you’re in a funk too ~ and maybe this one’s just for you. 

 

Good gravy.

 

This week as I was debating what home project to tackle as our regular Friday Fluff Up, I started dreaming up ideas for our mudroom.

 

I really wanted this, or this, or even this, but the truth is the space isn’t huge and I don’t have any business right now spending lots of money on it, so it just needed some TLC.

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Since my husband’s heart attack just over a month ago, I’ve allowed clutter and gunk and schoolwork and coats and hats and heart attack papers and all of it to just take over that space.

 

(If you know me well you know that’s just not the norm for me ~ but goodness it’s turned into a disaster!)

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I just didn’t want to deal with the mess, so I rounded up my youngest and spent a few hours shopping, dreaming up ways to make that space just a wee bit more Pinterested before coming home and setting to work.

 

As I started muddling through, I realized that it wasn’t any new fancy stuff that tiny space needed.

 

It was a much needed attitude shift.

 

You see, since his heart attack I’ve (we’ve all?) been in this sort of funk.

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I didn’t want to deal with the paperwork.

 

I didn’t want to look at insurance claims.

 

I didn’t want to read through mounds of heart attack literature.

 

I didn’t want to learn a million-bazillion ways to control his cholesterol.

 

(For the record, he’s really changed his diet on his own and we’re all working even harder to eat the right foods ~ I just didn’t want to read any more about it!)

 

I didn’t want to be the 40-year-old wife of a 45-year-old husband who’d had a heart attack.

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There. I said it.

 

I wanted to stay a regular mom with a regular life and regular kids and a regular-not-so-much-struggling life.

 

I’m betting you get that.

 

And honestly? (if I’m being real-real-deeply honest here?)

 

Ever since moving two years ago I’ve just kind of been in a funk. (Y’all who know me best know that’s the case ~ I can hide it on the outside but here in my heart it’s tough to hide.)

 

So I just let the piles keep climbing.

 

I let the shoes take over the floor.

 

I shoved the paperwork on top of the cabinets. And hid some inside the closet. (eek.) And just decided if it was all stuffed somewhere I didn’t really have to deal with any of it.

 

I just didn’t want any of this turn of events. 

 

I didn’t want my life to look different.

 

I just didn’t want to deal with the mess of it.

 

In my heart or on my countertops. 

 

whew.

 

So when I came home with all my cute stuff from Home Goods and Michael’s Wednesday night and realized it wasn’t any “fluffing” that needed to happen, but rather just a good case of me being real about life, I determined to get it together.

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I de-gunked.

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I sorted through the paper work.

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I made files named “James’s heart stuff.”

 

I saved files about medications I really care nothing to know about.

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I pulled up my big-girl-panties and decided to deal with what the last six weeks have doled out.

 

ooch.

 

Do you know what?

 

It feels better.

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The space is cleaned out. I’m still the same regular mom that I was a month ago. We still have the regular life that we had months ago. My husband didn’t really age a million years like I feel he has.

 

We’re just us.

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And we’re going to be okay.

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You may have so. many. struggles. so so much bigger than mine.

 

You may be dealing with a debilitating illnesses, the long-term sicknesses of a child, or the loss of something or even someone so very precious and dear to you.

 

And like me, you may think that if you just shove the clutter all away none of this stuff will really be real.

 

But, precious one, you and I know it doesn’t work that way.

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If you’re drowning in stuff because you don’t want to deal with the real issues, I encourage you to pull up those big girl panties with me and  just de. mess.

 

De-clutter.

 

De-gunk.

 

De. funk.

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You will feel better.

 

You will find order.

 

You will be no less precious than you were before the mess.

 

Because even when life doesn’t hand us what we choose, we still get to choose what we make of it.

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Make your life beautiful today.

 

If that means you need a de-cluttering and a de-gunking and a de-funking, come along with me and find beauty right where you’re at.

 

If you’re in a hospital room holding the hand of a loved one, tidy things up a bit and make that that space for them just feel beautiful. But most importantly hold on tightly and let them know they’re loved.

 

If you’re home in the summertime and your kids have taken over your home (ahem), take a break from the crazy and head outside to pick some fresh greenery, then come on in and sweep up the floor.

 

If you’re at work and the clutter on your desk is overwhelming you, clean off that space, put up a favorite quote and stay motivated in your work today.

 

And if you’re the sweet momma of a tiny one who hasn’t allowed you to have a shower in too many days to count, find a safe spot for that baby for twenty minutes, hop in the shower and make yourself feel beautiful today.

 

You can find beauty wherever you are. I just know you can. 

 

I’m thinking of you folks right now who walk beside me or even through something so much harder, and am praying a beautiful day for you no matter what life hands you today.

 

Make today a beautiful day. 

 

 

 

 

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Super Smart Way to Store Ground Beef (Genius!)

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My friend Jamie is here today sharing this SUPER smart way to store ground beef! I *love* this idea, and will be doing it in the future since we have a small freezer. Thanks so much for sharing Jamie!

If you buy ground beef or ground turkey in bulk to save money – this is such a clever idea to store it!  The flat little bricks make it easy to thaw and cook whenever you need it –  and help you avoid wasting meat by forgetting it.  (Has that ever happened to you?  I know it has to me!)

1 . Start with any ground meat (turkey, beef, chicken, venison, etc…) a rolling pin and a gallon freezer bag.

(If you don’t have a rolling pin, but maybe have a wine bottle in the house, that would work too.)

Put the ground meat in the bottom of the bag and lie it down flat, leaving the zipper part open.

 

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2 . Using a rolling pin, roll to flatten the meat and spread it out in the bag evenly.

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3 . Using a ruler, or the back of a long knife, press lines to divide the meat into six sections.

Freeze for 30 minutes and pull out.  (It should be mostly frozen already)  Bend at the dividing lines until it is separated more cleanly into bricks.  Now just seal the zipper and place back in the freezer to use whenever you need ~ you’ll be able to pull off just one brick at a time to thaw the next time you need ground beef!

 

I think this is just SO super smart. It takes up so little space in the fridge and really makes it easy to thaw out when you’re ready to cook. LOVE simple tricks like this!

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Dollar Tree Teacher Gifts

Dollar Tree Teacher Gifts

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It’s the end of the school year and you moms with school-aged kiddos know what that means . . . time to come up with simple teacher gift ideas! With three children at three different schools, the number of teachers we give to can really add up, so I love finding Dollar Tree Teacher gift ideas to let them know we do so appreciate them. (I usually add a gift card also for their primary teachers, but my kids love having a small gift to give too!)

 

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We actually made these at my 9 year old’s birthday party as an activity to keep the girls busy (so if you’re looking to do some party crafting, these work great for that too), and saved the mug to give to her teacher. Gotta love getting two projects knocked out at once!

 

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Here’s what we used:

  • Design your own mugs – $1 – Dollar Tree
  • Post it Notes – $1 – Dollar Tree
  • Clip boards (I forgot to get a picture) – $1 – Dollar Tree
  • Plastic photo frames – $1 – Dollar Treepppdollartreeteacher

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  • Scrapbook paper & ribbon (we already had ours from Hobby Lobby but the Dollar Tree carries it too)
  • Mod podge (for clipboard)
  • tape runner (this is my all time favorite tape runner for crafting)
  • Silhouette Cameo for monograms (you could totally make similar projects without a Cameo, but I do love mine! Hobby Lobby carries pre-cut monograms or stickers which would work perfectly too.)

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To make the mugs we just cut paper to fit the inside of the mug, then added some ribbon and a monogram. 

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For the clipboards (this was the hardest project!) we used mod podge to add paper to the clipboard, then added ribbon and a monogram.

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The post it note caddy was the simplest project (and least expensive.)

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Just use scrapbook paper to make a design on the back of your plastic frame, and add the post it notes using some tape runner. (Reagan added these while at  her party ~ they’re not quite straight but it’ll do!)

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So there you have it! Three super simple Dollar Tree DIY projects that are great for teacher gifts or even just to let your kids make over the weekend. These are perfect to give with a gift card, but let your kids bring a gift to their teacher too, all without busting your budget. 🙂

 

Looking for more gift ideas?  Here you go . . .

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My Favorite Goodwill Find

My Favorite Goodwill Find

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I’ve been meaning to share this with you all for months, and finally got around to it this week!  A few months ago my sixteen year old and I were looking for ways to update his bedroom (he inherited my husband’s Ethan Allen headboard & dresser from the 70’s which is actually still in great shape and pretty classic, but we haven’t done much to update his room since moving to Ohio.)

 

So I started watching Pinterest and saw this super cute idea for a bedside table and knew it was right up his alley. I showed it to him and he loved it too ~ so we headed to Goodwill to see what we could find.

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Never in a bajillion years would I have dreamt that on our very first trip to Goodwill we would luck into these. I literally heard him holler across the store “Momma, it’s our lucky day!”

 

(Teaching a 16 year old boy to love Goodwill like me is one of my most proud mommy-ing moments.) 🙂 

 

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We took them home . . .

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Loaded them up with books and memorabilia that he wanted to keep but didn’t need to be out in the middle of the room,

 

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And stacked them on top of one another for his nightstand.

 

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They were in great shape (perfectly kept on the inside), so we didn’t have a single bit of work to do!

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I’d love to know the places this stack of luggage has been to over the years, and love that they’re a fun way to re-use someone else’s treasures. We spend $15 on all 3, and I love that they’re just something quirky in his room!

 

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Have you found any fun finds lately at Goodwill or you local thrift store? I’d love to hear what you’ve scored! Leave a comment to share (I love hearing from you!)

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Can’t get enough Goodwill?

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