DIY Money Organizer

A few months ago my family began using an envelope budgeting system.  We budgeted a set amount of money for various things, and put that money in an envelope.  After a few months of envelopes, I got tired of searching for the correct one, or losing one in my purse and desperately searching for it in the check  out line at the store.  There are organizers that you can buy that are designed specifically for this sort of money organization, but I decided to continue my frugal streak and make my own.

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Step 1:

Trace your envelope onto heavy weight paper.  Leave at least a quarter inch gap between the envelope and your line.  Cut a duplicate piece of paper and a triangle or rectangle shape for the flap enclosure.  Cut a third rectangle that you will use later.

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Fold  a piece of material with the right sides out.  Lay out your templates with space between each one.  Cut out your material around the templates, leaving a quarter inch gap for seam allowances.

Step 2:

Once your material is cut, sew finishing stitches on the bottom and around the enclosure flap.  Sew a straight stitch between the two rectangle papers.

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For added stability, I inserted the heavy weight paper into the middle of the fabric.

Step 3:

Make your dividers.  Fold fabric in half and trace your rectangle onto the fabric, using the fold as one of your edges on the long edge.  The fold will serve as the top of a single divider.  Cut as many dividers as you will need.

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Step 4:

Place your dividers, fold side at the top, into the middle of your organizer.

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Fold the bottom half of the organizer up over the dividers.  Make sure things line up properly.  Sew the sides shut.  I used a zigzag stitch, which is what I used as my decorative stitch on the enclosure.

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Step 5:

A rubber band works well around the organizer, but I used an old button and some decorative yarn to close it.  I attached the yarn below the button, then wrapped it under and over the organizer, twisting it around the button.

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Step 6:

Make it your own!  My envelopes fit fine into the organizer, but I decided to label cardstock cut to size.

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Super Cute Packed Lunch Ideas

Whether your little student will admit it or not, there is something special about going back to school in the fall.  Here are some great lunch ideas to make your scholar feel special!  Click on each picture to go to the website featuring each idea.  Have fun!

 

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Short on time?  Write a note on a napkin or piece of paper and put with their lunch for some mid-day encouragement.  Nothing makes a kid feel more special than feeling loved!  If you have an older child, consider getting something a little lighter, like “Lunchbox Notes” found on Amazon.com.  It’s a way of saying “I love you” without embarrassing your son/daughter.

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*I am not the creator or owner of any of the ideas featured in this particular post.  I gathered ideas from various locations and combined them in one place to give my readers some great lunch ideas.  Original sites of these ideas can be found by clicking on each picture.

One 49-cent Embroidery Hoop = 2 Great Wreaths!

What to do when you have a sick child and can’t leave the house?  Raid your craft stash for a project!  I made both of these wreaths in a morning and used supplies I already had around the house!  The base of both of these wreaths is half of an embroidery hoop I bought at a local thrift store for 49 cents.

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BACK TO SCHOOL

Use thrift store items or things you have at home.  I made this for less than $1.00!

School starts in less than a month, and while I was browsing Pinterest I saw some super cute wreaths made with crayons.  I decided to make my own version, pictured above.  Here are a couple of links to wreaths similar to the one I made:

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/99149629271395685/

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/99149629271395614/

Directions:

1. Choose the foundation for your wreath.  If you are using an embroider hoop, you can split it apart and only use one piece or keep them together for more stability.  Since I split my hoop, I cut a piece of cardstock slightly larger than my hoop and hot glued it onto the hoop.  This gave the crayons more surface area to attach to.  NOTE: If you are going to use a fabric hanger like mine, you will want to attach it before you glue the cardstock onto the hoop.  I simply tied it around the hoop, then glued the cardstock over the top of it.

Here is the back of my completed wreath.  You can see the card stock that I glued to the embroidery hoop.

Here is the back of my completed wreath. You can see the card stock that I glued to the embroidery hoop.

2. Paint or cover your foundation in a color that you want to show through.  In my wreath and the two inspiration wreaths, there is a gap between the crayons.  I painted my cardstock in a teal color.

3. Wait for your base to dry if necessary.  Choose your crayons and any pattern you may want to use and begin hot gluing them onto your base.  To avoid seeing extra glue on your base, apply your glue in a single line so that your crayon will cover the glue.  If you apply the glue in a large circle, you will see it since the crayons don’t cover the entire surface area.

4. Choose your embellishments.  The options are endless!  Check out the scrapbook section of your local stores, or make your own little decorations.  I chose to make mine out of cardstock, then colored them with marker and colored pencil.  To give my embellishments some added height, I glued a broken crayon onto the wreath then glued the embellishment to the broken crayon.

Fabric bow: I achieved the worn look to my fabric by ripping two strips.  It is easy to do- simply cut a quarter inch into your material where you want your rip to be, then use your muscles for the rest!

Here is the same wreath on a darker background.

Here is the same wreath on a darker background.

OWL

The owl wreath was super quick and easy!  I began the process the same way: I cut a cardstock circle slightly larger than the hoop and hot glued them together.  Instead of painting the cardstock, I wrapped the whole thing in fabric.  I ripped fabric strips and wrapped them around the hoop, hot gluing each end in place.  I used a spare fabric strip to use as a hanger.

The “Welcome” is a wooden cut out I had picked up at a thrift store and stashed in my craft supplies.  I painted it a teal color, then highlighted it in a pale blue.

The owl is actually a felt applique piece I picked up in the craft section of a store.  All I had to do was hot glue it in place!

This whole wreath cost about $4.00 in supplies.  The owl was the most expensive part at $3.50.

Super cute and easy wall accent!

Super cute and easy wall accent!

 

Squished Fries- Healthy, Paleo-Friendly

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My four year old son coined the term for these fries the first time he had them, and the term has stuck.  The way I cut these fries makes them thinner and wider than traditional fries, which is why he referred to them as “squished.”  I have made these fries using acorn squash, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes.  Each has their own unique flavor, but all are tasty and my son can’t tell the difference.  To him, they are all “squished fries.”

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Directions for Squished Fries

1. Decide what you’d like to use for your fries.  If you’re using a squash, microwave it whole for 1-2 minutes.  This makes the squash easier to cut and slice.  If using a sweet potato, microwave for a minute.

2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

3. With a sharp knife or good vegetable peeler, peel the squash or potato.43. Cut squash or potato in half.  Scoop out seeds if needed.

4.  Use a sharp knife or mandolin slicer to cut your vegetable into even slices.

5. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray, preferably olive or coconut oil.  Place the fries in a single layer on the cookie sheet.  Coat with oil and salt.

6. Cook fries 7-10 minutes, flip and cook 7-10 minutes more.  Cooking time depends on the thickness of your fries.

7. Optional- finish by seasoning with some sort of fry seasoning.  We love Red Robin’s seasoning.

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8. Serve warm.  Be prepared for them to disappear!  They are addicting!

Plastic Tote Makeover

It's hard to believe this was once a dirty old green storage tote!

It’s hard to believe this was once a dirty old green storage tote!

I have a preschool son, and we had some of his toys in a ratty old tote outside our front door on our patio.  I had wanted to build a wooden toy box, but after checking out lumber prices, I decided it would be too expensive at the moment.  Solution?  A little spray paint, some stencils, craft paint, and polyurethane!  The colors and style go great with the rest of the items on my porch, and my son loves it because he picked out the yellow chandelier and flower for the sides.  If you look closely, you’ll see that the corners of the tote were chewed by our dog.  Even that imperfection doesn’t take away from the great look this tote gives.

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Step one: Spray paint your tote.

Step two: Stencil or paint your design on the dried coat of spray paint.

Step three: Let dry for a few hours.

Step four: Apply a thin coat of poly to the painted surface.

Step five: Let dry and enjoy!

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Weird Animals VBS Decorations and How-To

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Weird Animals VBS Stage Area

The stage consisted of a waterfall, grass, flowers, and a jungle-view plastic window.

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The waterfall was super easy to make and was my favorite part of the decorations.  We used green plastic tablecloths in the background and a large cross canvass for the foundation of the waterfall.  Since most churches probably don’t have a canvass of this size sitting around, a piece of plywood would work well, too.  We simply draped a blue sheet over the canvas, then followed with blue lights and a dark and light blue tulle.  We started with the blue sheet because the tulle was kind of see-through.  The rocks were created by crumpling up packing paper and taping/tacking it in place to look like rock.

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The grass was time-consuming but made a good overall impact.  It was created by cutting cardboard boxes in the shapes of grass blades, then painted green.  We used two different shades of green to add depth.

The flower attached to the cart in front was made from construction paper.  The ladies that made these for us did a great job!  You will see more construction paper flowers in some other pictures as well.

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The large flowers were created using pool noodles, paper plates, and 5-gallon buckets.  They were super cool and the more “weird” they look, the better!

All of the paper plate flowers complete.  We painted the plates, then hot glued them together.

All of the paper plate flowers complete. We painted the plates, then hot glued them together.

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Once the plates were complete, I had to attach them to the pool noodles.  I poked two holes in the back of the flowers and strung craft wire through the holes, then attached the wire to the pool noodle.  Some of the flowers were heavier than others, and the pool noodles needed some extra support.  I taped a broom handle to two of the six flowers I made for added support.  Don’t be surprised if the next day your flowers need attached tighter.  Once I adjusted them, they lasted all week without falling off.

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I taped the pool noodles into 5-gallon buckets.  Since my buckets were orange I decided to hot glue some confetti-like paper around the edge to give the flowers a whimsical feel.  The buckets could be spray painted green to blend in with the grass more, but I liked the orange.

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Entry hallway- the kids had to walk through this hall to get to the main stage.

Entry hallway- the kids had to walk through this hall to get to the main stage.

We decided to line our hallway with green plastic table cloths and posters of the Weird Animals.  We added green balloons to the ceiling to make it feel more jungle-like, and had vines strung throughout.

The vines were created by twisting packing paper into a tight vine-like form, then taping leaves.  It was a great look!

Beware- Weird Animals- Caution- This Side Up

Beware- Weird Animals- Caution- This Side Up

 

These boxes were right inside the main doors to VBS.  The bottom one had holes poked in it and glowed from orange Christmas lights.

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This little guy was in the ages 2-3 classroom.  So cute!

This little guy was in the ages 2-3 classroom. So cute!

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I hope these ideas helped with any events you might be planning.  If we inspired you, leave us a comment and let us know!

Our Weird Animals VBS was held July 7-11th, 2014, in Soldotna, Alaska.

Crustless Quiche Makeover, Paleo-Friendly!

Yummy bacon, garlic, onions, spinach, and green peppers make this dish delicious!

Yummy bacon, garlic, onions, spinach, and green peppers make this dish delicious!

This recipe is a makeover from my previous Crustless Quiche Recipe.  I omitted the cheese and added meat and more veggies.  Feel free to add/omit any veggies or meat you want- the possibilities are endless!

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Paleo-Friendly Crustless Quiche

3 eggs
3 egg whites
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup minced green onions
2 cups fresh spinach
4-5 pieces turkey bacon, cooked and chopped
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
dash of pepper
cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Spray 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray.
3. Heat skillet over med-high heat.  Coat with cooking spray and cook garlic and spinach until spinach wilts.
4. In a large bowl, wisk eggs, egg whites, milk, salt, pepper, bacon, green onions, and spinach.
5. Pour into pie plate.
6. Bake 35-40 minutes or until eggs are set and the top is golden brown.

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