Monday, July 25, 2016

Tips & Tricks Link Party #77

Greetings from Indiana!  

The kids and I are getting a chance to hang out with family and some of my childhood friends for a few days.  It's so much fun to be able to reconnect with everyone and hear how others are doing.  I love that my work only requires a computer and a wifi connection - allows me to be flexible during our school free months.  I'm sure I'll be sharing some more pictures soon on Instagram and Facebook

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

What are Your True Colors? (And how to find them.)

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Ever have those times were your just itching for a change? You look at your wardrobe and think, "How long has it been since I've been shopping?'.  Or look around a room in your home and envision something completely different?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Tips & Tricks Link Party #76

Did you have a favorite from last week's party?   

Take a look and see if your favorite was one of our's!  And the Most Clicked?! Unbelievable!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Christmas in July is Starting NOW!!

More than half of my family headed off to a week of camp today. That means I get to have a few days alone with my youngest two which is going to be so much fun! I've been swamped with getting the older 3 ready for their trip and after a few days of fun here at home, I'll be getting ready for another trip (which will contain a business trip for me!). July has turned out to be a bit more hectic than I anticipated!

Before too much more of my month goes by, I wanted to give back a little

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Mom's Favorite Summertime Sanity Savers: Part 1

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There are so many times during the school year I just think "I can't WAIT for summer to get here!". Then summer break arrives and after roughly four weeks I'm wishing for school to start up again.  Anyone else in the same boat?!

Over time we've figured out some great strategies to make our summers go a little smoother and be more enjoyable for us all! Check out the first 4 of 8 of our Summertime Sanity Savers.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

It's Amazon Prime Day!

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I'm sure you've heard, but just in case you haven't, today Amazon is offering some pretty amazing deals for Prime Members.

Do you have to have it?  No.  Well, to get the deals that are going on right now, you do.  But, in the whole scheme of life, you can live without Amazon Prime.

However, this little service has saved us unreal amounts of time, sanity and money over the years.  

~Download movies or TV shows before a trip.
~Free 2 day shipping to home
~Free 2 day shipping to any other address (This is HUGE during holidays for us!)
~Free or discounted Kindle books (Free app for any device)
~Prime Photo
~Special deals and savings all year long!

The past 4 months have contained a LOT of purchases for us as we settle into our new home.  Everything from toilet bowl brushes to laundry baskets to foods to shoes and many, many more items.  We have truly taken advantage of this service!  Those of you who already have Prime, know what I'm talking about!

Hope on over to Amazon and take a look at some of the deals going on.

Not sure you want to commit?  Did you know there's a FREE 30 DAY TRIAL? Absolutely nothing to lose!

Already a Prime Member?  Happy shopping!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Tips & Tricks Link Party #75

Ready for another Party?!  

It's always so much fun to see what others are doing and sharing at our link party.  Here's the quick recap from last week's party and all the great shares we had!

Tips and Tricks Link Party

Most Clicked:
4th of July Tablescape by Penny's Treasures

This week's favorites are:
Deviled Egg Potato Salad by Cooking with Carlee - Jessica (My Life By Jess)
Nautical Style Rope Jars by - Cassie (Southeast by Midwest)
Chocolate Chip Sprinkle Cookies by Courtney's Cookbook- Gabby (Not Too Shabby Gabby)
How is my Garden Growing by Debbie Dibble Dabble  - Heather (Stringtown Home)

Copy & Paste the code (below) to let your readers know to come over & party with us!

Fearlessly Creative Mammas

If you were featured, grab a button (below) to brag about it!

Fearlessly Creative Mammas

Do you have something you want to share?  Link up! Or if you know of any other bloggers sharing amazing projects on their sites, let them know to come party with us!

Can't wait to see what this week brings!! Thanks so much for partying with us!

Keep The Change

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Today I have another budgeting tip for you! Last time it was a few tips to help you get started using a cash based budget. This one tips is a great way to save just a little on the side with very little effort.

Using cash instead of credit cards or even debit cards has been happening in our family for roughly 11 years. I don’t really know if it would have happened had we not been forced to change our spending habits.

Forced? - you ask. Yep. See, here’s what happened. In 2004 my wonderful husband took a promotion that had us moving to Alberta, Canada. (Beautiful place, by the way!) Never having done the ex-pat thing before, and being given a rookie coordinator to handle our move, made for a few surprises before we even crossed the boarder.

Another surprise we found out a few months later was after a certain number of debit purchases, we were getting charged for each additional swipe. Eek!! While the charges weren’t huge individually, they really added up after awhile. Especially, for this young American couple who hadn’t had to think about something like that before. This was one of the biggest pushes to switch to a cash budgeting system.

Fast forward to 2016, our family is still using a mostly cash based budget. We keep our cash in our system of SpendVelopes, but there’s always been one little problem -

Where do you keep the change?

It used to be the change got put in the envelope with the paper cash. I’m sure you can see the issues that arose with this method. It all got very clunky and messy quickly.  (Not to mention heavy.)  And made for a couple of tense moments when we were in a hurry.

Here’s a simple, simple fix for the change situation in your life.

Too easy? Maybe. Effective? Absolutely!

Oh, sure, you can upgrade your container from a jar to something prettier, but it will work just the same. The biggest thing to remember is to actually USE the jar.

Here are 3 tips to help keep you on track and make it even easier!

1) Have a Designated Spot

In our home there are actually four change spots, but the main change jar is located where we drop the mail, keys, purse and library books. This has been the set up for years in our previous home and carried over easily and perfectly to our new home. It’s an automatic for all of us to go straight to the jar whenever there is change needing to be corralled.

The other three places we have jars are in the master closet, laundry room and a pocket in my purse. Every so often these smaller 'jars' are emptied into the main one.

2) Have a Purpose

Life is much better and easier with purpose, and that is never more true than with money.

Many people use this money toward paying some bills down the road, general savings, a special purchase or even to help with an upcoming vacation. I encourage you to have your purpose in mind for what this money will eventually be used toward. It helps keep the change in the jar when there is a goal instead of grabbing a handful out and spending it on fast food. {Yep, guilty!}

What do we use it for? Typically, we use it toward a fun family outing, now that we have all our debt paid. Something pretty simple - a movie, a bowling outing, or just something fun for the family to share at home. This really gets the kids motivated to put any extra change they find in the jar when they know we all get a more tangible benefit from it.

Kung Fu Panda 3 Family Outing

3) Have a FREE Exchange Location

This may not be possible, but I encourage you to not take it that kiosk at your local grocery store to convert your savings from coin to paper. Sure it’s convenient, but it also comes with an almost 10.9% fee! So, essentially, you get to pay them $11 for every $100 of your money. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to keep my money in my pocket. You could get around this fee by exchanging it for gift cards at some of these kiosks, but that limits you when your purpose may be something other than a dinner out.

Look to your local bank anytime you have money to exchange. We asked lots of questions when we opened our new account after the move. One of those questions was whether they had a change counter since we had two big bags of change. And it pays to ask!! I would have had no idea the bank charges to exchange change on Mondays and Fridays - their busiest days. Obviously, I avoided those two days and was able to turn the saved change into paper cash for FREE.

$273 in change to bills!

While this is an unusual amount for us to have, I could have paid almost $30 in fees going somewhere else had I not done my homework!

Instead, there was enough money to buy one of the pieces of furniture we had on our ‘To Purchase’ list.

Do you save your change? Any other tips you have to share? Feel free to comment below or join the conversation over on Facebook!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Happy 4th and Link Party #74

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Did all of you have a great 4th of July weekend? Even though we're in a new location this year, we were able to have some great family time over the long weekend.

Much of it was spent at home just being bums and relaxing.

We also hit a couple of stores to take advantage of the sales to ready three of the kids for camp. (I'll share some more about how we shop for 5 kids and keep the costs down in later posts!)

Another portion of our time was spent at the pool. (Are you surprised?!)

It's always extra fun when Daddy is able to join us, too!

We wanted to find something fun to do to keep all our minds off the fact that our normal 4th of July activities and spending time with friends wasn't possible this year.  Fortunately, Canyon, TX was having a big bash down there for everyone to enjoy!  We got to sit in the shade at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium, have some food and a snow cone, listen to some really good music by Next to Kin and Little Texas, and then ended the evening with fireworks.

It was a bit hot standing in line waiting to get into the stadium, so snow cones helped cool us all off and put smiles on everyone's faces.

He really enjoyed his!!

Unusual, but I did think to get a picture of the two of us!

Since it was a smaller concert, there was a dance area down right in front of the stage that anyone could go to.  The kids had a blast getting in closer to the fun. (We got a couple of videos, but I'll spare you that here. If you want to see a little snippet of a song, there's one on my Facebook feed.)

Below is a picture of how close the kids were able to get to the stage.  A highlight from the night for them was watching Little Texas sing Kiss The Girl, one of the few songs they recognized. Ha!

I loved that there were multiple kids that looked at me through the evening and said "This is really fun!".  Definitely made my heart happy that the kids were enjoying themselves despite not being with our best friends.


Ok!  Are you ready for this week's Tips and Tricks Party?!

Last week was, as usual, a lot of fun!  Here's the recap of all the favorites.

Tips and Tricks 74 Link Party

Most Clicked:
DIY Garden Decor by The Navage Patch

This week's favorites are:
Red, White and Blue Sangria by Cooking with Carlee - Krysta (
Peanut Butter Cheesecake by Marilyn's Treats - Jessica (My Life By Jess)
Lots of Candy Monster Cookie Bars by Cooking with Carlee  - Heather (Stringtown Home)
Summer Bucket List by No Small Life - Gabby (Not Too Shabby Gabby)

Copy & Paste the code (below) to let your readers know to come over & party with us!
Fearlessly Creative Mammas

If you were featured, grab a button (below) to brag about it!
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Now it's your turn!!  Follow the rules below and link up with some of your own favorite blog posts you've created.  Can't wait to see what everyone has to share this week!

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