Monday, February 25, 2013

DIY Ombre Mirror Makeover

Hello, Birdies!  The ombre trend has been going strong for a while so I thought it might be time to jump on the bandwagon! I've really liked the look of but haven't been brave enough to try it plus I didn't know what to try it on. My hair, my clothes, my food....all great candidates for the beautiful fading color scheme but alas! They have still remained a bit blah. A few weeks ago, though, while scoping out frames in Goodwill I noticed a thin, small mirror. It was only $1 and the shape caught my eye. Right then and there I knew it was mine! I was certain I was ready to take the ombre plunge and that mirror was going down with me, whether it liked or not!

My blah "before." 

The ombre "after." 

This cheery piece is on top of our shelf/coat rack in the entry way, the perfect spot to welcome those who enter! Hubs isn't too crazy about it. He hasn't said anything exactly but every time he looks at it he tilts his head and asks, "It's not finished, is it?" Yes, yes it is. He'll have to learn to love it because this gem isn't going anywhere for a while! ;-) We have a myriad of colors in our main living area with blue being a main stay. However, there wasn't a lot to tie the entry into the rest of the room. I didn't want to overwhelm the space because it is small but I wanted there to be a common bond.

This ombre style mirror blends in perfectly with the other elements of blue in our home.


I just kind of winged this makeover...like I do most things. There is always a general idea of what I'm wanting to do but never a step by step, perfect plan. I just grab the supplies I think I will need and go for it! Sometimes that method works, sometimes it doesn't. You be the judge! Here is what I did....

I painted the whole frame white as a primer, taped some paper to the mirror to prevent splattering too much paint then....



1. Squirted the paint in order onto a plate. I plopped the colors right next to each other so that when step #3 came up, I was ready. I just used el cheapo craft paint.
2. I lightly painted three sections of the frame in varying shades of blue. I didn't measure this or tape these sections off because I wanted the transition to seem more natural.
3. Once each sections were painted in their primary colors, I began to blend the colors into each other from puddle to puddle. Note: I didn't mix all the colors together but rather blended shade # 1 of blue into shade #2 where they met.
4. With light, feathery strokes I blended the colors into one another. By using sweeping motions, it made the transition appear natural and not like color blocking. Also a trend I like but not the look I wanted for this mirror.

The key is to blend at the meeting places from color to color. Keep that in mind and your ombre should turn out just fine! Once I cleaned the mirror off from the stray bits of paint, I propped it on the ledge and fell in love!


What do you think of the ombre trend? Will you be trying something like this in your own home? I am linking up to Home Stories A to Z so be sure to check out the awesomeness!http://www.homestoriesatoz.com/tutorials/tutorials-tips-link-party-98.html

Thanks for reading and have a great night! :-)


Reward Cards: A Trusty Sidekick

Hey all of you beautiful Birdies out there! Ready to stash more cash? Coupons and apps are just two things I use regularly but let's not forget about another important member of the "Save Anna Lots of Money" team (we're working on the name).....REWARD CARDS!

Virtually every store offers them but how many of us actually use them?? If you aren't now you may want to start! They are the perfect partner to coupons and in-store savings. When a store has an item on sale, they will often give an extra discount if a store reward card is used which is great in it's own right but then if you add coupons on top of that...well then that is just plain awesome. On my Deal of the Day posts, you will often see where I combine an already great deal with coupons and pay next to nothing for everyday items like cough drops or chapstick.

CVS and Walgreens have a really nice set up with their card programs which you will see me write about quite a bit but let's not forget the unexpected places that offer reward cards. Goodwill is a great example. Yes, GOODWILL!!

Goodwill Rewards does the following:

*Saves you 10% off a purchase of $20 or more (with each visit and on sales days)
*Gives you extra rewards for your birthday and special holidays
*Sends you early notifications of upcoming sales
*Keeps track of all your donations - No more having to keep all of the sheets they give you when you deliver a drop off. It is all recorded to your card!

My husband and I were totally surprised by this but when the cashier offered the free card to us we were on it like white on rice! Who would say no to an additional 10% off at Goodwill?!?

Reward cards also come in handy when you want to have an inexpensive and casual night out! Two favorite places my husbands love to frequent are Subway and Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt. Sometimes I can only eat so many subs and froyo but the savings definitely help me stomach it better! If you purchase a Subway gift card and use it for your regular purchases (i.e. 6 inch turkey on flatbread, American cheese, toasted, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onion, green peppers, black olives, and mustard) you earn points towards other items on their menu. You could earn points and apply them on anything from a cookie to premium footlong sub! Click here for more details.

At Orange Leaf, you can ask for a free Ounce Back card. The way this card works is:

*For every dollar you spend, you earn 1 point.
*For every ten points earned, a dollar is added to your Ounce Back Card.
*When at the register, hand them your card and they will ask if you want to apply the dollar(s) to your total.

Often, they will run a promo where they will double the points which gets you one step closer to sweet, sweet savings. For more info, click here.

Keep your eyes open, your ears peeled, and get creative. There are almost endless ways to start saving money around you. Reward cards are one of the many great tool to use! The more you swipe, the more you save, and the more you will wonder why you didn't start doing this earlier!

I barely scratched the surface on this post. There are so many options out there! What are some of your favorite reward cards to use?? 

Thanks for reading, Birdies! HAVE A GREAT NIGHT!! :-)


NOTE: This was not an endorsed post. These thoughts are completely my own. I just enjoy sharing what I found with all of you. Hope it helps! :-) 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Top 16 Sites to Find Organic/All Natural Coupons

Hello, Birdies! Hope everyone has had a great week! Have you taken advantage of yesterdays Deal of the Day yet? Don't be shy. Print that coupon, clip it, and go get yourself 2 Carmex Lip Balms for $.98! Your lips and pocket book will thank you! :-) If you haven't guessed by now, saving money thrills me! Everyday I am more and more amazed at the coupons I can find. There are coupons and deals for almost everything now! Even healthy, all natural, and organic foods.



Healthy and organic food is another big interest of mine but, in the beginning, I'll admit, I was frustrated. I thought, "I want to eat healthy but I want to save money and you just can't save money on truly good-for-you products." I'm not the only one who has thought that and I probably won't be the last. Often I hear others say things like, "If you use coupons you are only buying junk food." OR "I can't find good deals on organic, all natural foods so I don't buy it." I am now at the point to where I can happily say that those thoughts aren't true.Yes, some products are still a bit pricey, just like anything else, but now more than ever it is easier to save and feel good about what you are buying. And remember this, the more you save with the everyday products, the more money you will have to invest into some of the more expensive items that mean a lot to you. I've searched and scoured the web for healthy coupons and today I'm sharing them with all of you. Here are my Top 16 Sites to Find Organic/All Natural Coupons! Just click the company name to visit the site.

Amy's
Barbara's Bakery
Best Organic Food Coupons
Brown Cow Farm
Cascadian Farms
Common Kindness
Earth Bound Farm Organic
Kashi
Mambo Sprouts
Organic Deals 
Organic Valley
Pacific Natural Foods
R.W.Knudsen Family
Santa Cruz Organic 
Simply Organic 
Stonyfield

Here's a real kicker though, you can actually find quite a few coupons on the more regular sites like Coupons.com. More and more of the "household name" brands are manufacturing organic or all natural versions of their normal products which is great because it allows you to use a regular coupon on their natural counterparts. For example, I recently purchased a bottle of organic Heinz ketchup and was able to use a 50 cent off coupon (that doubled to $1.00) because it stated it could be used on any Heinz ketchup product. Keep in mind that many grocery stores also offer organic coupons through their own coupon programs so be  sure to check those out!

In the beginning, couponing may take some work but the more you frequent these sites and the more you use the coupons, the easier it all becomes. I listed 16 sites here but believe, there are more. Sometimes you just have to think outside of the box! I recommend visiting the site of the brand you love and searching for coupons. If they don't have any, send them a friendly e-mail. Most companies are more than willing to oblige! Be sure to check your local health food stores for savings. They usually have coupons in their magazines and publications. Always ask if they accept manufacturers coupons. And of course there are stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes that bring organic and all natural foods to the masses. They will more often have sales plus they do have their own coupons. Eating healthier is totally in your future, Folks! And you don't have to break the bank either! ;-)

I hope you find these sites and this info helpful! If you know of any more sites, please feel free to comment below with the links. I would love to know and share that with everyone! Do you have a favorite healthy product that you've been able to save big bucks on? 

Thanks for reading and have a great night! :-)

Note: For some of these sites, to receive their coupons, you will need to create an account and/or sign up for a newsletter. Also, these companies don't offer coupons every week so be sure to check in from time to time  or search for them on a larger coupon website. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Deals of the Day: BOGO Carmex & FREE Target Gift Cards

Hello there Birdies! Brrrwinkles it is cold outside today. This time of year is when winter really starts to get me. I'm getting a bit antsy with the cool temps, my skin is cracking, and my lips are dry. Having chapped lips drives me nuts so when I was checking out my weekly ads online I was pumped when I saw a pretty decent deal on Carmex lip balm!!! Walgreens has Carmex for $.99 right now plus there is a coupon at coupons.com that offers $1 off 2. Here is the breakdown.....

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Carmex # 1           $.99
Carmex # 2         +$.99
Subtotal               $1.98
Coupon                -$1.00 OFF
Price                    $.98

Divide that by 2 (since you are purchasing 2 lip balm's) and the final price works out to be $.49/each. Not too bad when the price for one is $.99. It is like you are getting one for FREE!

Also, at Target, they have several items on sale and if you purchase those items you will also receive a FREE Target gift card! The gift card amounts can vary from $5 to $130 on items ranging from shampoo to vacuum cleaners. Wowza! If you are interested in getting these offers do it soon because the sale ends the 23rd. Also, I'd recommend buying the item and then if you have other items in your cart, having those rung out in a separate transaction. Once you receive the gift card from transaction #1, use said card towards transaction #2 along with your regular coupons. I never used to believe that one could save money at Target on the little things but boy oh boy! have I been surprised.

Lots of good stuff out there, Folks! Just start looking and you will be amazed at what you find! :-)

Have you been saving more than usual lately? What deals have been getting your attention?? 

P.S. - Thanks to those who have given a thumbs up to The Chirp Tree on Facebook! Your support means a lot. Be sure to tell your friends and family! If I can get to 30 likes by the end of the month, I am doing my first {drum roll please} GIVEAWAY!!!! YAY!!! Spread the word, Birdies! You can find The Chirp Tree on Facebook by clicking right HERE :-)

Thanks for reading and have a great night!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Potato Velvet Soup

Hey Birdies and Happy Tuesday! From a comfortable, sweatshirt wearing 50 degrees to a shivering mid-20's, we have gone through quite the weather change in the past 24 hours. I can hardly wait to pull my spring clothes out of hiding and say farewell to winter, however, there is something nice about cooler temps I like to keep around......potato soup. Not just any potato soup, mind you, but Potato Velvet Soup. I remember exactly where I was when I first inhaled ate this delectable comfort food and that was at my Nana's house, where all good things came from. My Nana is an amazing cook and an even more amazing person, one that I hope to be like some day. "Baby steps" I tell myself so with Potato Velvet Soup I begin.

Gather the spuds you want to use. For my husband and I, I used about 5 or 6 potatoes. This will feed us for several meals.

Wash then carefully peel your potatoes. 
Chop those taters in small cubes.
I'd suggest using low sodium broth but not for potato soup meant to be consumed on a blistery winter's night. It's against the rules. Somewhere in a handbook is written, "It is best to not mind calories or sodium when warmth and soupiness are the needs of the hour." I used one container of broth, just enough to cover the tops of the potatoes.
Simmer the potatoes in the broth and let it come to a boil. Boil for approximately 20 minutes or until potatoes are completely tender and easily mashable. 

Yes, mash! You will be amazed how the potatoes fall apart and almost melt.  With each stir and mash the  potatoes soon, most definitely, become "velvet-y." 
After this step I added some salt and pepper, about a tablespoon of butter and some sour cream. Use as much or as little as you'd like. I stirred and that was all I needed to do. My potatoes were pretty smooth, however, if yours still aren't quite smooth enough, carefully pour into a blender. Puree till you gain the consistency you want. Then you are done! Feel free to top with cheese and chives or just dig right in. There is no right or wrong way to eat it. There are many different types of potato soup recipes out there. Some are loaded with ingredients like ham and broccoli. Some are infused with cheese. I'm a fan of all types but I must say! Not much can beat the beautiful simplicity that this recipe offers. It is easy and delish! No matter how many times I have had it, the first bite always warms and comforts me. I hope it does the same for you! Nana wouldn't want it any other way! ;-)


When cooler temps arrive, do you have a go-to dish that just can't be beat? What is your favorite way to eat potato soup?

Until next time, thanks for reading and have a great night! 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Coup-On Keepin' On: Supplies For Savings, Part Deux

Hello Birdies and Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Mine was pretty low key which was just what I needed. Oh! And I discovered "Downton Abbey" which rocked my world. How have I just now heard about it? That show is right up my alley but silly Netflix only has it available through season one. Now I'm going through withdrawals and will need a dose of season 2 or else my husband will have to begin conditioning himself to hearing me talk in a horrible phony British accent while perusing our "gardens" and gossiping about "the help." Obtaining season 2 on dvd may be the only cure.....Hint, hint Honey. ;-)

Today, I wanted to continue my series, Coup-On Keepin' On, by expanding on the supplies that will prove to be lifesavers while roaming the grocery store aisles. We've already discussed the basics like a binder, page dividers, and scissors. Now we need to kick it up a notch and really get serious about saving money by adding the following....

1. A Clipboard is your friend, especially if your binder is soft like mine. I can't tell you how many times I have needed a durable flat surface and ended up poking my pen through my shopping list. Super annoying! You can find these in dollar bins and dollar stores so thankfully this is not a huge investment.

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2. Envelopes for each store. Often, when checking out, you will receive long coupons from the register. These are called Catalina's and are one of the many things that make penny pinching possible. Say that three times fast! Ok, I tried it. Not that hard. And neither is using Catalina's but sometimes storing them can be a bit awkward. What I have found to be easiest is to gather several long envelopes and label them for each store that the Catalina's apply. Keep in mind, most Catalina coupons can only be used for the store from which they were printed. For example, at Meijer I recently received a $2.50 off coupon for Cover Girl Outlast foundation. Instead of that finding a home in my beauty section of my coupon binder, it is nice and cozy in my Meijer envelope. The reason I do this is because I don't want to accidentally try to use a store specific Catalina coupon at a competitor's store. It just makes like easier!



3. Store coupon policies are a nice addition to any Coupon Queen's binder because it saves you time and eliminates the, "I wonder if....." thoughts from creeping into your mind at 1 a.m. Instead of having to call the store or find an associate to help you, you can quickly reference it and be on your merry way. Ok, I lied a little. You may have to call or talk to someone but only occasionally. From time to time you will want to confirm that the store's policies have not changed and if they have, you will want to print out or make the necessary revisions to your copy.

4. A calculator should be a given but just in case you forgot about that, I am reminding you. Scribbling down a simple math problem on the side of your shopping list then having the pen shove through because you forgot your clip board and then freaking out is lame.....{sigh} trust me. Seriously, people. I am literally sharing what I learn so you can avoid the same headaches and awkward stares I've experienced. :-)



5. An awesome and FREE shopping list!! That is right, Birdies. I created a shopping list that you can download for FREE. This list has been my buddy on my past few visits to the grocery and it is very user friendly. Click HERE for an example of how I used this list on a recent shopping trip. To get your own shopping list, click HERE. If you have trouble pulling up these, please shoot me an email at thechirptree@gmail.com and I will send it your way. This is my first time trying Drop Box on the blog so I am hoping it is a success because if it is, get ready for some awesome FREE downloadable content. Whoot, whoot!

There you have it! You now have all of the supplies you need to begin successfully using coupons so get out there and save!! But be sure to visit next week because, believe it or not, I have more tricks up my sleeve for  saving all of you money!

Have you put together your own coupon binders? What supplies do you have in there and have you been using the coupons? Any deals out there that are giving you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside?? I know, I know. It happens to me too! ;-) 

Thanks for reading and have a GREAT night!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Easy Chocolate Chunk Yogurt Parfait

Bonjour, Birdies! Have I got a treat for you! I wasn't going to post about a recipe at all today but I whipped this up just a few minutes ago and said, "Well there goes the mirror makeover tutorial." Feast your eyes on this.....Chocolate Chunk Yogurt Parfait!!!



I was craving chocolate big time so while at the store I saw some Chobani Vanilla Chocolate Chunk Greek Yogurt and threw it in the cart! I hurried through the check out lane and was hoping the cashier didn't notice the drool as I was salivating over my chocolate deliciousness she had just rung out. Once I was at home, I grabbed a small glass cup, sprinkled in some Love Crunch Dark Chocolate and Berries granola from Nature's Path. This chocolate coated granola is amazing and because it's organic, I tell myself it's healthy. It is, right? ;-) I layered the ingredients and took a bite. Then a miracle happened and my life was changed forever!!! Okay, so maybe it wasn't anything that profound but in the moment it seemed nothing short of Heaven sent. Simply divine and inspirational! Oh! And did I mention super easy?? This parfait is perfect if you are craving chocolate or if you need to whip up an easy dessert (or side item for a brunch) that will impress even the most fickle of eaters.

To make, use:

Love Crunch Granola from Nature's Path 

Chobani Vanilla Chocolate Chunk Greek Yogurt 
Layer little bits of those at a time and finish with the granola and a red berry of your choice! See! Could not  be any easier or yummier! This might be the perfect breakfast for my Valentine tomorrow, what do you think?



Are you chocoholic like me? What is your favorite go-to treat when you need a chocolate fix?? 

Thanks for reading and have a great day!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Deal of the Day: BOGO Halls Cough Drops

Hey, Hey Birdies! I hope everyone is having a terrific Tuesday! If you aren't, check out the deal of the day below. I think that might bring a smile to your face! :-)

At Walgreens, they currently have Halls Cough Drops for $.99 but there is coupon available through Smart Source that is $1.00 off 2. Let's do the math!

$.99 + $.99 = $1.98 - $1.00 = $.98/2

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Divide that even further and you will see that each bag will ring out at $.49 or simply buy one, get one free (actually you are saving a penny). Warmer months are soon coming but let's not get ahead of ourselves! Cold and flu season is still in full swing so now is as good a time as any to stock up! Click this link to redeem your coupon.

Also, just because it's still winter doesn't mean you need to succumb to prickly-leg-syndrome, Ladies! Be on the look out for razor coupons from Schick! I received 3 in the mail today, clipped some from my local newspaper and have found some online. Many stores have razors on sale right now but feel free to hold onto some of those coupons because a better deal could always be just around the corner! If you are new to using coupons and have that itch to use one right away (been there, done that) then while you are at Walgreens looking for your cough drops, ask for a Balance Rewards Card (these are free). They have Schick razors on sale for $9.99 and when you purchase that item this week you automatically receive 4,000 points to your rewards card! Points equal to money, buying items on sale save you money, and using coupons on top of all that saves you even more money! It is like a triple-whammy!

Get out there you Coupon Queens and Kings! I hope with each post you are feeling more confident and more prepared to start saving that hard earned money of yours!

These were just a couple of the offers that are out there so I challenge you to find more on your own and then leave a comment about the deals you scored! I am excited to read about your money saving stories! 

Until next time, thanks for reading and have a great night!!


Monday, February 11, 2013

Coup-on Keepin' On: Supplies for Savings, Part One

Hey, Birdies! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

I have talked to a lot of people recently who have said, "I want to coupon but don't know where to start or where to look?" or "I don't have time and I don't know how to use them." I was that person at one point as well and it took me some investigation to get to this place. The purpose of "Coup-On Keepin' On" is to give you a good head start and to eliminate a lot of the questions by providing a lot of answers.

Picking up from last week's post , we learned that step #1 is to get the coupons. Remember, you can find coupons online, in the papers, and through your local grocery store. It may seem time consuming at first but, just like most things, practice makes perfect so don't give up!  So the coupons are clipped, what is next step??

STEP #2: SUPPLIES FOR SAVINGS, Part One




You are going to need somewhere to store all of those great money savers, aren't ya? So here are some basics I recommend you start out with. I got my inspiration from The Krazy Coupon Lady website and the  TLC show, Extreme Couponing, however, I made a few alterations to my system. The supplies I list are good building blocks to a strong foundation of saving money but feel free to customize your plan to what works for you and your family. As long as you start with a good, well devised plan that makes sense to you, the options for saving money can become endless. Here are some of the basics I use:

* A Zip Up Binder - Sure you could get a little accordion file, I even did that to start, but now I'm in the mentality of GO BIG OR GO HOME! I like big binders and I cannot lie...

This is a great style to use with coupons because it zippers all around + there are  several pockets to stash pens and other necessary supplies! 

The reason I like the big, zippered binders is because they really allow you to stockpile and accumulate your coupons without worrying about maxing out on space any time soon. Also, they keep the coupons where they belong...in the binder and not falling onto the grocery floor.

* Page Protectors and Dividers - After a while, you will have so many different types of coupons that you will need to categorize them. Believe me, this just makes life easier especially when you are wanting to think about savings and not where you put that $1.00 off coupon. Page protectors can be found for a low price at Dollar General so I tend to get mine from there. I use the page protectors for the title page of each category. Some people use these to store their coupons as well but I don't prefer that method myself. An alternative that I do use is to get sports card protectors. I have only had luck finding these at Target in the front by the cash registers but I am sure you can find them at other stores as well. You could even use folders that have the standard 3 holes in them for your binder. Have each folder store coupons for different items (i.e. canned goods, snacks, refrigerated items, etc.) Anything that works for you as long as it gets those bad daddy's stored away in an easily accessible fashion. I use both page protectors and sports card protectors...I'll show you what I mean....



Page dividers serve the same purpose of organization but add another element of ease to finding the coupons you want. I would get a lot because there are a lot of coupons out there plus several categories for each grocery/store aisle....but then again buying a lot of the page dividers can really add up so what does this frugal gal suggest? Just buy the Post-It pop up labels that you can write on. You get a lot more bang for your buck that way. Example: Standard page dividers packs only give you about 5 - 10 dividers for around $3 - $5 each whereas the pop up labels give you 36 tabs for $3. Once you write out the categories on the tabs, simply stick them to the page protectors which will be holding the title page of each category. I have used this method for a year now and they have not fallen off once!




* Scissors, Pen, and Highlighter





Scissors - To cut out coupons you may find as you shop
A Pen - To mark off your list.
A Highlighter - To circle the weekly ads of your favorite store

Most binders offer some kind of pocket so storage shouldn't be a problem but if, for some reason, yours does not offer you that luxury, you can easily find little pen holders that will fit into a standard three ring binder for around $1 - $2.

Now some of you may be thinking, "Wait a minute....I am supposed to be saving money. Not spending a few dollars here and there for supplies." Consider this an investment. Soon you will find that some money saving plans require a little investment but the reward is usually pretty BIG! If you still can't bring yourself to buy a new binder or page protectors, shop your house. If you have a regular three ring binder, use that for a while until you are ready to upgrade.

Next week, I am going to give you Part 2 of your Supplies for Savings list. The next addition to your supplies will really amp up the savings and allow you to be even more efficient while rolling through the aisles!

Do you use a coupon binder now? Have you used any coupons or found any great deals? Try visiting a few of the sites I showed you last week and let me know if you saved any money! Comments are always welcome!

Have a great day and thanks for reading!

P.S. -Found another site for you, Birdies! Be sure to visit http://www.savings.com/grocery.html!!

Friday, February 8, 2013

DIY Frosted Candle Holders

Hey, Hey Birdies! I hope everyone has had a FABULOUS Friday! Mine was pretty low key which was just what I needed. I began a couponing experiment for all of you, spent the afternoon with my mom and brother then came home to my sweet hubby! The cherry on top was making a super easy frosted candle holder for Valentine's Day. It satisfied my lazy mood AND my desire to let the creative juices flow. Here was the result!

www.thechirptree.blogspot.com
This project has been trapped in my brain for a while so I finally had to let it out! The candle holder was kind of my lab rat. I needed to test my idea out before I went crazy and frosted everything in sight. Since this was so easy and inexpensive I can definitely see myself making more of these for our house and for others as a gift. I have total confidence that any crafter, from a novice to Martha Stewart, could put these together in a jiffy!

To make, follow the steps listed below....
1. Gather your supplies: inexpensive glass candle holders (mine are from The Dollar Tree), stickers in the design you want on your glass, tape, sponge brush, frost paint (found in the glass painting section at your local craft store.)


2. After washing and drying your candle holders, place the stickers of your choice onto the glass. I just chose a simple heart.

3. If you would like to add some contrast to your "frost" design, apply some decorative tape or, in my case, some stickers in the shapes of straight lines. These were wonderful to use!


4 & 5. Squirt some of the frost glass paint onto a paper plate. I used Gallery Glass brand which I found at Hobby Lobby. Recommendation: Do not use a colored plate. It may pull some of the color off and mix into the paint. Ask me how I know. ;-)


6 & 7. Dab your sponge brush into the paint. Blot the brush once or twice onto the plate before applying to the glass so that it is not applied too thickly. A quick stippling motion will work perfectly and I suggest letting it dry then slapping on another coat.



8. Once the paint is COMPLETELY DRY, slowly and carefully peel off your stickers and tape. When doing something for myself, I tend to not be patient and somehow expect miracles to happen...like expecting the paint to dry in 1 minute. Against the advice of my husband, I peeled the sticker and tape off while the paint was still, ever-so-slightly, tacky. Unlike me, you should heed my husband's advice and, "Wait a little longer." My candle holder turned out fine but once my anxious fingers started ripping the decal off, I could tell that he was right....I won't tell him if you won't. :-)



9. Pop in a candle and enjoy the "frosty" ambiance.

Love is in the air! 
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and if any free time is to be had, give these a whirl! Give them as gifts or put some candles in to "set the mood" at home. See you on Monday for step #2 of Coup-On Keepin' On!  :-)

Have you ever made frosted glass candle holders before? Would you use a heart or something else? 

Have a great night and thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Deal of the Day: FREE Bare Minerals Makeup

Hello, Birdies!! The weekend is almost here and what better way to celebrate than by getting FREE makeup??



Click this link, print it out, and take it to your nearest JCPenney {that has a Sephora inside} then let the BareMinerals beauty magic take over! While you are there, ask about their Sephora rewards card. It is spectacular! On your birthday they send you an e-mail for free swag like this....

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This is pretty much Heaven for your lips! LOVE it. Sugar  Fresh Honey is my all time favorite product now! 

Plus, with each visit, have them swap said card to earn additional points for....get this...MORE FREE SWAG! The loveliness of free stuff never ceases to amaze me, especially when it is on great quality products.

I hope you take advantage of this coupon and get your fabulous on! Have a happy Thursday, be sure to leave a comment and I will see you Birdies tomorrow!

Have you gotten any free beauty products lately? What is your must have beauty item? 

Thanks for reading! :-)

Note: This was not an endorsed post. These opinions are completely my own. Sephora may choose to not accept this coupon. Please do not make copies of the coupon as that is illegal. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

12 FREE Apps, LOTS of Savings

Hello, Birdies! I hope everyone is having a WONDERFUL Wednesday!!

Like I mentioned in my first post, saving money is a true passion for me! I am no pro but I have really learned a lot and love to share what I find with all of you. Today I am excited to tell you about some free {my favorite word} apps that may help you save some money!



In a day and age where smartphones are prevalent and prices around us are skyrocketing, it only makes sense to use every penny pinching method possible. Here are the apps that have a permanent place on my home screen and that help me on a daily basis to either make sure I am getting the best price or allowing me to clip coupons on the go!

Coupons.com

Coupons.com is a favorite site of mine so when I found that they had an app I was over the moon! I enjoy this app because while I am waiting at a doctor's office or needing to kill some time, I just enter my login information, tap the coupons I want then it automatically sends me an e-mail. When I get home, I just print the coupons out! So instead of waiting at a doctor's office, reading a 3 month old magazine, I can actually be productive.

CVS


Downloading apps for your favorite stores is a good idea because you can look up the deals on the go and even add the deals you want to a shopping list via the app. Plus, you can often click on deals and have them automatically added to your rewards card. Another great time saver!

Easy Envelope Budget Aid


Easy Envelope Budget Aid kind of takes the FANTASTIC idea of using a cash envelope system and makes it electronic/virtual. Now I use this along with my regular, tangible envelopes but I find that this is a good tool that aids my regular system. If you don't use cash envelopes for your regular monthly expenses and you aren't quite sure if that might work for you, try this app and get your feet wet. After you see the savings, you'll want to dive right in!

GasBuddy

Speaking of prices skyrocketing....Unfortunately we are all familiar with gas prices going up, up, up. Although gas is pricey there are always stations that are a bit cheaper than others. What GasBuddy does is eliminates you having to drive all over your area to find the lowest rate. They use the GPS technology in your phone to find where you are then composes a list of the gas stations around you. Once you have chosen the station you want to go to tap the station name and it will give you directions. Easy as pie!


Groupon


Sites like Groupon are fun because they not only bring great deals your way but also introduce you to companies and products that you may never have heard of until then. Simply log in with your account info and let Groupon guide you to fantastic finds.

Key Ring


Let me just say, I LOVE this app! They have a prefabricated list of businesses that offer deals. Many are for stores you may already use, such as CVS, but others are for places you may not think of like Yankee Candle or Dick's Sporting goods. This app alerts you to new promos and provides you a bar code for that particular offer. When at the cash register, all you need to do is show them your phone, they scan the code and BAM! MONEY SAVED! This was particularly awesome when I got 3 big jar candles from Yankee candle for the price of one during the holidays!

Kroger
For this app, I loaded my Kroger Plus card number into the app so now saving money is as easy as clipping the deals from the application that I want and it automatically adds it to my card. At the cash register, I hand my card over and the offers go right to my total.

Meijer Find It


I am kind of obsessed with Meijer right now. This is similar to a Wal-Mart but it isn't nationwide. If you have a Meijer anywhere near you but normally shop elsewhere, I recommend roaming their aisles with this app in hand. They have a great electronic coupon program called M-Perks. Download the app, click the coupons, and they add to your total. Similar to Kroger, yes, BUT they have a ton of coupons to choose from. Much more than I have ever seen with other stores. If I were to clip M-Perks alone, without regular coupons, I could easily save at least $20 per shopping trip. Super easy to use, lots of offers....all in all a great app!




Target


Target is truly one of my happy places so why wouldn't I have their app? This is a great resource to use on-the-go to see their weekly ads. Plus, if I can't make it to the store but need a boost of happy, I can just go on there! :-)

T.G.I.Friday's


Just because I like to save money doesn't mean all of my restaurant experience involves a dollar menu and it doesn't have to mean that for you either. T.G.I. Fridays has a program called "Give Me More Stripes." You sign up online then every time you go to the restaurant, you give them your reward number or your phone number associated to that account. Every time you eat there, you get rewards and believe me! They add up
quickly. They often have free chips and salsa appetizers for Stripes members. One of our last visits, my husband and I spent about $15, including tip, for an appetizer + chips and salsa + full meals. We left stuffed and so did our wallets!

Shop Savvy Barcode Scanner

Have you ever been out shopping, found an item you wanted but thought, "I wonder if I can get this cheaper somewhere else?" Let me introduce you to Shop Savvy Barcode Scanner. It uses the camera on your phone as a scanner so all you have to do is scan the barcode and it searches the web for the best deal. No more wondering if there was a better price or kicking yourself later for missing out on a great deal!


Walgreens

This app works pretty much the same way the CVS app does but I like to have both to see which store will offer me the best price overall. Much simpler than carrying around a bunch of paper ads!

Whew! This was a jam packed post and I barely scratched the surface but I hope it helps and even inspires you to find more money saving apps that may be out there.

Do you use any of these apps now? Is there an app that you and your wallet can't live without? Share with the class! ;-) UPDATE: I have recently downloaded a lot more time and money saving apps. Would you all be up for a sequel? Leave a comment and let me know! :-)

Have a great day and thanks for reading! :-)


Note: This was not an endorsed post. These are purely my opinions and services I have had success using. Whether you download them is up to you. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Valentine's Day: Love Bug Bags

Hello, Birdies! Do you feel that?? Ah, yes! Love is in the air and that means that Valentine's Day is quickly approaching. Being one that pretty much spazzes over any holiday, crafts, and spreading the l-o-v-e, I thought I'd make Love Bug Bags for my niece and nephew who live out of state to let them know that the coolest aunt EVER is thinking about them! ;-)


Fun, right? Like most good ideas, this one came to me right as I was drifting off to sleep and thankfully I actually remembered it when I woke up the next morning. I could hardly wait to get started so off to the craft store I went. If you want to make some for your little love bugs, follow these easy steps!

1. Raid your local dollar stores and dollar bins! From The Dollar Tree to Target, the options are endless!
* Penny pinching tip: Stock up for next year's holiday of love by hitting "after holiday" sales. Once the day actually passes, stores are more than anxious to move the pink infused, glitter coated heart decor inventory out to bring the new stuff in! 

2. Purchase the following from your local craft store:
    Paper Bags
    Red and Black Cardstock or thick scrapbook paper
    Festive Ribbon
    White gel pen
*You will also need a hole punch, a pencil, a black marker, and glue. 

3. Get to crafting! Have fun with this project and don't be afraid to add your own personal touches. That is what makes a project like this so great!

Here is a play by play on how I made mine...

First I gathered together these supplies:


Ribbon, Paper Bags, Scrapbook paper {red and black}, Scissors, White Pen, Pencil, Black Marker, Glue, Hole Punch, Brads


Then I grabbed a cd and traced around it on the back side of the black paper then added a smaller semi-circle for the head with little antenna's.

Dave Ramsey to the rescue again!


After that I, traced the backside of the red paper with the same cd but did not add the semi-circle or antennas. The red paper served as the wings for this cute little love bug.

Once the red paper had been cut out, I drew a line about halfway down then split in two opposite directions. That line became my guide for cutting out the wings.



I laid one red wing down then placed the second slightly over the first one.




Next, I grabbed my trusty hole punch. The hole went through wing #1, wing #2, and the black paper (a.k.a the body).




I found these great black brads at the craft store. They had so many color options!  Who knew?! Now keep in mind the age group that you are dealing with. If the kids are young or are notorious for putting things in their mouths then maybe skip the hole punch and brad and just glue the wings down.




Once I inserted the brad and secured it, I glued the bug down to the paper bag then I spread open the wings and wrote "Happy Valentine's Day, Lovebug!" with the white gel pen. I wrote over that phrase a second time to make sure the message really stood out.

I let the gel ink dry then closed the wings again so that I could draw little hearts all over. You'll notice on the bug for my niece that I also added a little bow. That was a last minute addition so I apologize that I have no pictures on how I drew it. I just kind of "winged" it....pun kind of intended. ;-)



After that, I folded over about 2 inches of the top of the bag to form a flap then punched two holes.




Following the fold down, I opened the bag, stuffed it with my dollar bin finds then closed it over again.




Finally came time to tie the bows then.......



Tadah!!!! Finished Love Bug Bags!! I am just crazy about these little fellas and can hardly wait to send these off to my niece and nephew.


The thought of making more and giving them to my other Valentine's has crossed my mind. They are so cheery especially when you can open and close their wings and on the plus side, they are easy to make. What could be better? They bring a huge smile to my face and I really hope they do the same for you and your Valentine's!

What kind of Valentine's Day crafts do you like to make? Do you do anything fun to celebrate with those you love? 

P.S. - I am linking this to Home Stories A to Z link party, "Tutes and Tips." Super excited and kind of nervous because this is my first link up party... I kind of feel like the new kid in school, complete with the butterflies in my stomach and sweaty palms. Be sure to check out Beth's site. She creates absolute treasures in her beautiful home! I am utterly and completely envious of her brick wall in her dining room. :-) 

Have a great night and thanks for reading!! :-)