Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gymboree Sale Shopping :)

Gymboree sent me a 20% off discount code a bit back. They also are offering free shipping right now. Since all the tops are marked 50% off AND you earn gymbucks, I KNEW I had to take advantage :)

Here's what I got:

Argyle Rugby Shirt (for Ethan).
Normally $24.95
On Sale For : $12.37

Train Double Sleeve T
Normally: $18.95
On Sale For: $12.99

Gem Bow Scottie Top (going to pair it with a pink puffer vest MiMi has from LL Bean) and some jeans with her gymbo boots I got this summer.
Normally: $21.95
On Sale For: $10.87

Ginger Bread House T (for my niece)
Normally: $21.95
On Sale For: $10.98

Faux Fur Cable Sweater Dress
Normally: $39.95
On Sale For: $16.12

Flower Stripe Tights
Normally: $14.95
On Sale For: $7.87

What I would of paid full retail: $142.70+ taxes

What I paid with the sales: $67.97
MINUS my 20% code ($13.59)= $54.36

That has saved me $88.34

Taxes were only $3.80 and shipping was free!!

Best of all? I earned $25 in gymbucks! so 54.36-25 is LIKE getting all this for $29! Not bad;) of course with gymbucks redemption you have to spent 25 to use the 25 BUT that's no prob I shop the clearance only :)

I can also argue that gymboree almost ALWAYS sells for a great resale value on ebay. WIN/WIN :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Fake Tree, Still Lovely To Me :)

Last year we went all out and splurged on a real tree. What I remember the most beside the awesome smell, was that it dried out right before Christmas. I loved the real tree, because it brought back childhood memories of my dad cussing as he trimmed and put ours up.  We'd usually sit around and bake cookies with my mom watch my mom bake cookies;) Watch the countless re runs of "A Christmas Story" and color in our over sized 98 cent store Christmas coloring books.

My parents didn't have a lot, but every Christmas they always tried to go all out. My dad used to be excited to decorate the entire house, they would light up with joy watching us smile as we hurriedly opened gifts.

Some times our family friends, Mary & Paul would come over.

I miss Killeen, Texas sometimes. Or maybe it's just the memories I miss and not the location?

So this year, we decided since we are on a very tight budget, we would dust off the old FAUX Christmas Tree. One advantage is, it is pre lit. I remember MiMi's first Christmas. it was 2005. She was 9 months old. We were too poor to afford a tree of any kind. I bought a tiny little 5 dollar garden center tree that looked like a Christmas tree and put it on our coffee table with gifts piled around it. It wasn't much, but we tried.

As Christmas ended, we had a few gift cards to Wal Mart. We went a few days after Christmas and got a fake tree that was normally $100 bucks for $20. It was such an excitement to me.
Come to think of it, that was probably the first time I ever bargain shopped. Who'd of thought? ;)

I let the kids decorate it (Ethan was more interested in sticking ornaments on top of branches so Sissy corrected those for him).
Next week MiMi & I will do our traditional holiday crafting and try to get bubby in on it.

And while I miss the aroma and feel goodness that a real tree brings, nothing a little cedar lit candle won't cure :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas toy hunting is work, ya'll..

I decided, I would make this blog entry about Christmas.

More specifically - the children's wants. AND by children, I mostly mean my daughter. She has such expensive taste. I wouldn't mind splurging on a high end item (c'mon it's the one time of year I do)- BUT, the thought of it collecting dust in the corner of her room makes me worry.

This year (aside her main wants; a bike & easy bake oven - which my awesome sister bought for her). She has had her eyes set on a Barbie dream house.

Yet, this decision changes daily.

One day she wants it so bad.

The next day she decides it's not her cup of tea.

But mostly she wants it.


It's NOT cheap. Toys R Us wanted 179 for it. Wal Mart doesn't even carry it in the stores by me. Don't even get me started on the greedy ebayers, who take advantage of parents in a shiest economy, they want it for outrageous prices (I hope you all get stuck with no buyers).

I even searched Craigslist. I didn't care if it was 5 or more years old, if it was cheaper and in great condition, they could of considered it sold! MY KID WOULD NEVER KNOW anyway. But no, those folks are wanting an arm and a leg as well. K mart had it advertised for 135. So, I headed to K Mart today.

What a glorious headache that was. I spent 30 minutes looking over the toy isle and end caps. EVERY SINGLE ISLE like 3 x just to be sure, ya know?

After no success I couldn't find an employee (like many giant retailers, they under staff to save $$, but fail to realize it does the opposite, because customers get frustrated and would rather spend more at a more convenient store). I head to the customer service desk and ask if there is a way to search a toys location, OR if it is even in stock. The woman, seems entirely too bothered by this question and says "did you look bla bla and bla bla bla".

"Yes, ma'am, I looked everywhere 3 x over, along with trying to find a floor associate, can you please page someone or look the item up for me"?

"Look one more time".

Rude, much? Yes..

I am not much outspoken so I shrug and walk off and look again, EVERYWHERE. Then again, I try to find an employee. I find one and ask what I should do to find this item. She looks confused, like I asked her a super hard question.

"never mind, thanks anyway"..

I go to the jewelry counter and apologize to the girl for asking her as I know it is not her dept. but continue with, "I apologize, but is there a way you can page someone to the toy dept, I have gone to the CS desk and asked another person, with no help".

She pages someone to the toy dept. She doesn't say anything else and seemed annoyed that I interrupted her conversation with a friend who was visiting with her.

I start to get peeved and wonder how with an economy FULL of people who WANT work, people like this get hired.

I saunter back to the toy dept and wait..and wait..

ANNNND WAAAAIT...20 minutes later, with no show, I am just extremely in a foul mood by now. (The store wasn't even busy, AT ALL). But I am stubborn and go to electronics to ask that associate if they can help me find SOME ONE who can help with my needs. SHE WAS NICE! She paged some one (who also did not show) and then she just found someone to help me. The girl tried, but it was not her department.

Alas, I learn they never carried it to begin with.

DEAR LORD, K MART, you are a piece of work, and you wasted an hour of my life and frustrated me to no ends (minus your two nice employees who DID try).

The girl told me I could get a rain check at the CS desk if the item ever did become available. The thought crossed my mind, but by this time I was so aggravated I decided the 20 bucks wasn't worth EVER stepping foot in K Mart again. SERIOUSLY.

All this could of been simply avoided had the CS desk woman looked or called someone to see if this item was even carried. and WHY does our local ad that JUST came out yesterday say it was available?

Never mind that, I am just sure of a few things:
Stores do NOT save money by under staffing and under training and
I will NEVER go to K mart again (or at least for a few months). I'll just stick with price matching at Wally World or Target.

I did find a nice bundle package on Wally's website for $169, and I am giving myself a DAY to think it over. Surely, my daughter may change her mind again, or will be thrilled to see how many OTHER toys she can get for that same price. But again, I always remember wanting something similar in the 80's but of course, we were a one income military house hold and it was out of the question (I even think back then they were twice the price they are now) :)

Oh, Barbie dream house, you are so overrated, and if for some reason my daughter DOES get you from Santa, you better be a valued toy ;)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pottery Barn Inspired Glass Bathroom Canisters for 1/3 the price!!

Every once in a blue moon, I can afford to splurge at Pottery Barn. It's usually only during income tax return, AND it's usually on an item I can't get cheaper or similar ANYWHERE. (Like the bedding in our master bedroom).

When my Pottery Barn catalogs come, I drool over the new things, and get a zillion ideas of things I want to do in my humble abode. Of course - much of this is typical day dreaming.

Lately, I have been eyeballing these glass bathroom canisters.
The large ones retail for $44

I obviously can't afford the $44 sticker price tag. So, I was tickled pink to see these LARGE glass cookie jars in Wal Mart's kitchen isle. Price tag? Less than 8 bucks for the EXTRA LARGE and only 4.99 for the medium :) cha-ching!  I scooped them up and cleared my cluttered built in bath cabinet ASAP!

Don't they just look right at home in the bathroom?

On jar houses q-tips.  Then you have my kohl's candle with dollar tree rocks in a hand me down hurricane. And my extra large canister..I was at loss what to do with it..and I decided my star fish from Key West, FL would make a lovely addition :)

So for under 15 bucks for BOTH I have a CHEAP - Pottery Barn inspired bathroom setup. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!

I got the lovely bath towels from kohl's on sale (FREE TO ME with a $50 visa rewards kohl's card). and the shower curtain was also from kohl's.

To see the before photos of the 65 rancher bathroom remodel - Take a peak here.

Here is what the cluttered built in's looked like before I made them look "pretty"


mmm - hmm, we know which one looks better :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Exterior painting. The 65 brick rancher.

My house is so ugly on the outside. I mean it really is.

There is not a whole lot you can do to a 60's brick ranch on a low budget. I mean, let's face it, they offer no architectural elements. They are rectangular and chances are every other house in your neighborhood looks close to the same. :)

I decided (being on a limited budget) I had to atleast make her look some what more appealing. I mean she's had these red shutters and iron railing FOREVER.  Then the siding and trim is all white on white. BLEH. no contrast. :(

Also being on a strict budget means, NO pressure washer. It is a MUST to wash siding before painting. SO, believe it - or not - I got on a ladder and conquered my fear of heights and HAND washed all the siding and shutters with a bucket of dawn dishsoap and a sponge and spray hose.

Sometimes, it's amazing what a little soap and water does to a house haha (it was filthy).
See the before:

This is part of the after:
It's not much, but $40 bucks in paint goes a long way to make it look a lot better. I used some birthday money my sister sent me to do this project. I used Valspar paint. The burgundy color was $16 for a small can (yikes). But I got the $20 gallon can for the siding. I used Cliveden Stone as the siding color and Royal Garnet for the shutters. I promise it looks better in person.

My next task is to sand the old iron railings and spray them oil rubbed bronze. I wish it was in the budget to do wood railing, but it's not. I plan to build a bench seat for the porch to give it more curb appeal, but as money becomes available of course:)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Exterior Painting.

Yesterday I turned 29. Seriously. Where did my twenties go?? Kids :) Literally. I don't even remember anytime in my twenties really prior to my kids. I spent just about every ounce of my twenties with my kids.

2...9...sounds so old. Some one once said, "You're only as old as you feel". In that case, I will take the 29, since I feel like a much older person these days. :) haha.

I recieved a little bit of birthday money from my sister & parents. What I didn't spent on the kids, I used $50 bucks in quality Valspar exterior paint. I have wanted to paint my exterior since the day I moved in in late November of 2004.

So for my house's 7th year of having us (yes, I say having us). We are treating the old girl to a fresh coat of exterior charm.  All this white on white trim and siding and red on red shutters and iron porch railing really lends no dimension to the old girl..but..I hope to change that.

Today I climbed on a raggedy wooden ladder and with a soap bucket and sponge, CAREFULLY hand scrubbed the front of the house and housed her down. Windows and all. She is sparklin'!!

I've never seen the front storm doors look so great and bright white. hmm, who knew a little elbow grease and cleaning could make her look so youthful ;) ?? haha.

In the end, I did have Doug remove the exterior shutters for me (all four of them) to clean them better.

YOU NEVERRRR want to see what your shutters harbor BEHIND them. SO GROSS. I mean's pretty filthy. The only cute thing I found was a family of 4 lizard/salamander things.

I scrubbed and sprayed those down and they are now air drying.

Tomorrow I hope to paint them.

Previously they were red. I played in photoshop and thought burgandy looked great, so I picked out "royal garnet" by valspar in semi gloss for the shutter color.

The small bit of siding between the bedroom windows will be "Cliveden Sandstone". And the trim? Bright white.

In actuallity the fascia boards need replacing, but I wanted to spruce the front up a little before the big overhaul in the summer.  The siding is salvageable so I wantd to go ahead and paint it.

I guess we'll see tomorrow if this is a hit or miss. Personally - I think ANYTHING will look better than the house looks now.

I even have plans to sand the rod iron railings on the porch and paint them black. I KNOW that will be a mundane and very aggrivating task, but it MUST be done.  The red paint the previous owners globbed on is bubbling and falling off since day one.

Before and after pictures in due time :) Wish me luck. I love the 65 rancher and I want to desperately for her outside to match the inside:)