Our yard and garden – five year update

June 30, 2014

Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of moving into our house and getting our dog back (best day ever!)  This place has certainly come a long way in half a decade.  We finished the basement, which has been a huge improvement.  And the yard has gone from being a field of weeds to being a place [...]

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Should we prioritize our taxable savings over our retirement accounts?

June 16, 2014

My husband and I have always been big fans of retirement accounts.  We both opened 401(k) accounts when we started our first corporate jobs in our early 20s.  When we left those jobs to become self-employed, we rolled the funds over to IRAs.  But we had a period of about 18 months when we didn’t contribute [...]

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Giving our boys the world

June 11, 2014

We’re not usually procrastinators when it comes to projects, but this one took a while.  Back in January, I ordered a world map wall mural when it was on sale on Zulily (normally $100, I got it for $40).  And then it just sat in its box for five months.  We had never hung wallpaper [...]

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Kids need a Lego umbrella? Show them how to make one!

June 5, 2014

Our older son loves Lego.  He’ll play with it for hours, and he’s usually creating things he dreams up himself.  But he also enjoys following Lego instructions, and he adores a book that he received for his birthday, full of instructions for creating all sorts of landmark buildings using Lego.  Some of the structures require [...]

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I cut my own hair!

June 1, 2014

And I really like how it turned out For years, my husband has been cutting his own hair.  Most of the time, he just shaves it all the way off using the closest setting on the clippers, and then waits a few months and does it again.  Sometimes I’ll give him a snazzy haircut that [...]

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Cosmetic home improvement – making a list and waiting a few years

May 29, 2014

Some friends of ours are remodeling their kitchen this spring, and I know that the end result is going to look amazing.  I was flipping through the kitchen catalog with them when they were looking for ideas, and all of the kitchens are pretty great.  I had to stop and remind myself that our kitchen [...]

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I finally made my own sunscreen!

May 13, 2014

And I’m pretty darn excited about it I’ve been reading posts on other blogs about making sunscreen (this one was really helpful), and I decided to make my own.  I now have this lovely little jar of whipped sunscreen in the fridge: Storing it in the fridge keeps it nice and fresh, but it also [...]

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Our little grill is just fine

April 29, 2014

I hope all my northern hemisphere readers are having a great spring!  Summer is trying its best to get here, and that makes us think about grilling.  So I have to tell you about our grill: Here she is on the inside: You can see how big she is in relation to the little propane [...]

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Our New Washing Machine

April 6, 2014

Five years ago, when we bought our house, we got a great deal on a second hand washing machine.  That machine served us well ever since, but it started to fritz out a couple months ago.  It wasn’t spinning the clothes out, and would sometimes just stop in the middle of a cycle.  We live [...]

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Life… It doesn’t have to be as expensive as people think it is

March 23, 2014

Hello friends!  I know it’s been a long time, but work and family keep me busy constantly.  I’m still here though!  We’re just finishing up spring break – it certainly flew by.  We spent the first few days visiting my in-laws in Arizona, and then we’ve spent the last few days recovering from our vacation [...]

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Clutterfree with Kids

February 3, 2014

A few weeks ago, I received an advance copy of Joshua Becker’s new book, Clutterfree with Kids.  The book went on sale last week (and quickly became the #1 self-help book on Amazon – congratulations Joshua!), so you may have already heard of it or read it.  But if you haven’t yet, I highly recommend [...]

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Gifts and Celebrations – Keeping Things in Perspective

January 27, 2014

So far this school year, I think we’ve been invited to seven birthday parties (we’ve attended three).  One was for our son’s best friend, where only a few kids were invited.  But for the other six parties, every kid in the class was invited (there are 21 kids in the class).  I don’t know all [...]

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A Great Reminder Of What It Means To Be A Parent

January 22, 2014

Just a short post today, to share a great article with you.  Francis Thompson’s How I made sure all 12 of my kids could pay for college themselves is an excellent read.  His final sentences – “We were and are not our kids’ best friends.  We were their parents.” –  are key.  And so many [...]

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Thrifted Clothes Can Be Trendy Too

January 17, 2014

This winter, I’ve really gotten into the boots/skirt/leggings trend.  I’m a few years behind on this one, but that’s ok.  A few months ago, I found these great Teva boots at Goodwill for ten dollars: They’re as comfy as tennis shoes, but much cuter.  And the price was hard to beat. I also came across [...]

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Great Gifts And Thrift Store Scores

January 3, 2014

I am a perpetual list-maker.  I love lists.  The old-fashioned, paper kind that I can scratch off with a satisfied flourish as I finish things.  I make lists on whatever paper I have nearby – often the back of envelopes.  For some of my more complex lists that are constantly a work in progress (mostly [...]

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Kids Love A Simple Christmas

December 27, 2013

I hope you’re all having a fantastic holiday season!  The week between Christmas and New Years has always been one of my favorite times of year.  Work-wise, it’s a bit crazy around here because of all the changes that the ACA has brought and open enrollment season being in full swing.  But we’re still fitting [...]

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Thanksgiving Sale on Freezer to Crock Pot Cookbooks

November 26, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you all have a wonderful week, filled with lots of good food and fun with loved ones.  Once it’s all over, you might need a break from cooking (leftovers help with that!), so here’s the inspiration you need to get your freezer filled with meals that you can put straight into [...]

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Biking, Walking, Running… They’re Not Just Exercise and Entertainment, They’re Transportation Too!

November 20, 2013

Good morning!  For the last three months, I’ve had to become a morning person again, after five plus years of getting up at 8am.  Our son has to leave for school by 7:40, which means we need to be up by 6:40 in order to get breakfast cooked and eaten, teeth brushed, and have him [...]

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Making Progress Towards Our Savings Goals

November 4, 2013

Happy November!  I hope you all had a good Halloween and that your week is off to a great start Last spring, we refinanced our mortgage.  We’ve been loving our 2.44% interest rate, and we haven’t made any additional principal payments since we refinanced – it just doesn’t make sense with that rate of return. [...]

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Diaper Extenders to Keep Tiny Shirts Clean and Dry

October 5, 2013

I was just browsing through Zulily, and saw a great idea for people with babies.  I especially like the fact that it looks like it would be pretty easy to make it yourself if you wanted to.   If you go to the main sale page, just scroll down until you come to the Melzy [...]

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You Can Avoid The News And Still Be A Good Citizen Of The World

October 2, 2013

Last December, I stopped reading the news.  (I did the same thing a few years ago, but ended up going back to reading the news after a few months – this time, I’ve been much better at sticking to it).  For the last ten months, I’ve focused on news that’s related to healthcare reform (my [...]

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Easy DIY Mouse-Proofing

September 26, 2013

Don’t you love it when you open your silverware drawer and a mouse jumps off the forks and scurries to the back of the drawer?  Yeah, me neither. And the next two hours spent cleaning everything in the kitchen drawers and under the sink aren’t much fun either.  Seriously, mice, why do you have to [...]

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Updates From Our Frugal Abode

September 23, 2013

Good morning!  Long time, no blog – I know.  It’s been a bit of a whirlwind around here for the past several weeks, but I haven’t forgotten my little corner of the internet here. Our son has been in kindergarten for a month now, and he loves it.  I don’t love the 6:40am wake-up, but [...]

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$20 Window Well Makeover

August 25, 2013

When we moved into our house, the basement was completely unfinished, and that included the window wells.  We spent a year and a half finishing the basement, but we never did anything about the window wells.  For the past six months, “window wells” has been on our “to-figure-out” list, but we weren’t sure what we [...]

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If You Use A Credit Card, Maximize Your Rewards!

August 6, 2013

My husband sometimes has to double check with me to make sure he’s using the right credit card before putting gas in the car, because we have specific cards that we use in different situations.  It might seem a little complicated at times, as there are four credit card bills to pay each month, plus [...]

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Let’s Make One Instead!

July 25, 2013

Our older son really loves Playmobil.  We got a small set at a thrift store a few years ago, and then a larger box at a garage sale a few months later.  Then some friends with a son who had outgrown his Playmobil gave us several sets.  Our son often plays for hours at a [...]

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Cherry Chocolate Creamsicles

July 23, 2013

I noticed this morning that Zulily has Tovolo popsicle molds on sale (plus a bunch of other Tovolo kitchen stuff, but the popsicle molds are the only things I personally use).  I’m a big fan of those popsicle molds.  I have three sets and they’re pretty much always all in use.  At any given time, [...]

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It’s Still Clutter, Even If It’s A Great Bargain

July 21, 2013

A few months ago, I was at Goodwill and I noticed a nice red leather bag.  It was larger than the purses I normally use – more like the size of a laptop bag.  And although I didn’t recognize the brand name, I could tell that it was a very well-made bag.  It was made [...]

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50% Off Ergobaby Carriers

July 9, 2013

Just a quick post to let you guys know that Ergobaby carriers are 50% off  today on Zulily!  They’re going fast (in the 15 minutes since I first saw the sale, the lowest-priced carriers have already sold out), but there are still several available in the $70 range.  When I was pregnant with our second [...]

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Back To School With Garage Sales And Thrift Stores

July 5, 2013

School starts on August 20th, and although I’m still wondering where the last five years went, I’ve got pretty much everything we need as far as school clothes.  We’ll have to do some supply shopping once we get the list from our son’s teacher, but that should be a pretty quick trip for things like [...]

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Every Day Can Be An Awesome Day, Plus A Tightwad Gazette Winner

June 24, 2013

Happy Monday!  I hope you’ve all had a good weekend.  I just used Random.org to pick a winner for the Tightwad Gazette give-away, and Lara is the lucky one (comment number 6).  Congratulations Lara!  I’ve emailed you to get your address, and I’ll get your book in the mail to you right away. I wanted [...]

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Shoes My Way, Plus A Giveaway!

June 17, 2013

When it comes to secondhand shopping, patience is key.  I’ve found over the years that I can get just about anything secondhand, if I’m not in a hurry.  So I try to make sure that no shopping trip is ever an emergency.  For the most part, this is pretty easy to do with a combination [...]

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Evaluating Spending At Any Income Level

May 30, 2013

I recently came across an article about how families living in Silicon Valley Valley need to have equity in a business – in addition to a $250,000 household income – if they want to send their kids to a “good” college and also retire well.  The authors included a sample spending spreadsheet for their hypothetical [...]

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Going Out On The Town, Goodwill-Style

May 15, 2013

My husband and I are going to a fancy work reception next week.  I looked through my closet and realized that the only even slightly dressy shoes I owned were a pair of flat sandals, and they pretty casual-looking.  I am not a fan of heels, because I like to be able to walk without [...]

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Frugal Wall Art With Engineering Prints

May 8, 2013

A few months ago, I decided I wanted to blow up some photos for our walls.  I had ordered some poster-size enlargements a few years ago for our living room, and although we love how they look, they definitely weren’t cheap.  This time around, I went looking for a way to get some personalized wall [...]

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A Kitchen Cabinet Turned Into Shoe Storage

April 29, 2013

For a long time, we’ve had a tiny little set of shelves by our back door to hold shoes.  We put the whole family’s shoes on it, and space was a bit tight.  Plus, it always looked cluttered, since it had four people’s shoes crammed onto it and no doors or drawers to conceal them. [...]

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Decluttering Made Easy Giveaway Winner

April 25, 2013

And the winner is… comment number six!  Congratulations to Victoria, who was comment number six on the Decluttering Made Easy giveaway.  Victoria, I’ll send your info over to Tiffany so that she can get you set up with your subscription and you can get going with the videos.  Best of luck with conquering the clutter. [...]

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Decluttering Made Easy – Enter To Win A Subscription!

April 18, 2013

For the last few years, I’ve been writing about getting rid of clutter and our efforts to have “just enough” stuff.  It’s an ongoing process, because clutter always seems to make its way back in.  But we’ve got a pretty good habit of “out with the old, in with the new” (secondhand new, of course!) [...]

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Towel Racks On A Budget

April 15, 2013

When we were putting the finishing touches on the new bathroom in our basement, I knew that we needed somewhere to hang towels that were currently in use, as well as a place to store additional towels, since that is now our guest bathroom.  I didn’t know exactly what I wanted in that room, so [...]

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A Few Good Links

April 3, 2013

One of my favorite financial bloggers, Mr. Money Mustache, wrote an excellent article last week about how spending a ton of money on our kids and financially supporting them long-term might put them at a disadvantage. I couldn’t agree more. My own family sounds a lot like MMM’s. My parents raised four kids too (although they didn’t [...]

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