In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:6

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Coffee Beans and Tea Lights.....


Confession…..I have been really bad about posting on my blog lately:( That’s no secret, seeing as how this is only my third post this month:(  I have a good excuse for the lack of blog posts though.   Are you ready for it?  Here it is.  We have been working on a lot of things around here lately…..yep, that’s my excuse, and I think it’s a pretty good one;)  I have several projects that I want to share with you, and as soon as things slow down around here, I’ll try to get some posts together.  At the end of the night, I am just happy that we are progressing on projects, so blogging about those projects has kind of been put on the back burner for now.
 

In the mean time, I have an old, super-easy project to show you that I thought would be a good tip for the fall season.  I saw someone do this on Pinterest recently, and I thought to myself, “Oh, I’ve been doing that for years.  I should post about it on my blog.”  So that’s what I’m doin’ todayJ
 
 
Years ago….long before Pinterest days….and really even before I had internet in my apartment (only because I was too poor to afford it, seeing as how I was just getting out on my own), I scored a candelabra at Kirkland’s for like $5.  This was back when coffee themes were very popular in Kitchens.  Like many people, I had a few java/cafĂ© things goin’ on in my kitchen, so I decided to use actual coffee beans in my candelabra to make my kitchen smell fabulous! 
 
First, I bought some good smelling coffee beans at my local grocery store.
 

Then, I scooped the beans into each votive holder, making sure to switch my beans out every few months to keep the coffee aroma in my kitchen.
 
 

Lastly, I set a tea light on top of each votive holder, so that when I light the votive, the warmth of the candle heightens the aroma of the coffee beans:)
 

Even when the tea lights are not burning, the coffee smell is fragrant for the first few weeks. This idea can be used in any kind of candle holder.  It’s decorative, it’s cheap and it smells great!  Can you really go wrong there? 
 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Trip to the Apple Orchard


 
Fall….it’s officially here! It’s my favorite season!  It’s a season full of cooler weather, colorful leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, hot apple cider, warm soups and stews, and trips to pumpkin patches and apple orchards! 

The girls that I take care of look forward to fall, because we go to all sorts of kid-friendly places this time of year.  Last week, we celebrated the official start of fall by taking a trip to our local apple orchard, Tuttle Orchards. Due to the drought, there wasn't any apple picking this year, but we still had fun.  Here are a few pictures of our day……










Saturday, September 8, 2012

How I Shop at Goodwill on the First Saturday of the Month.....


 
While this particular post is geared more towards my  local readers, anyone can read it and pick up a few tips here and there,  as I lay out my plan for shopping the first Saturday of the month at Goodwill and even give the locations of the stores that I go to when I shop at Goodwill.

 

Here’s how far $50 went this month…….
 

 
Shopping….my husband says that it’s my gift.  I’m not sure if that is a complement or not, but his point is that he knows that I am always going to get the most for my money when I buy something.  When it comes to shopping for clothes, I only shop clearance racks, major sales or thrift stores.  Like most women, I wouldn’t say that I really ever have a need for new clothes; but like most women, I do have a desire to have new clothes.  This is something that my husband doesn’t really understand about women; ass long as I can achieve this in a budget-friendly way, he has come to accept it and even appreciate it about me.
 
Out of all the clothes that I buy throughout the year, the majority of them come from Goodwill….and the majority of the clothes that come from Goodwill, come from Goodwill stores on the first Saturday of the month when everything in the store is half off.  I love a good deal, and there really is no better way for me to get good deals than to get serious about planning these particular Goodwill shopping trips.  I mean I take it seriously folks…it’s like black Friday shopping for me.  Last week, was an example of this kind of shopping trip.  Here's how I planned for the trip and how successfull it was for me this month.
 
 
Preparing for my Shopping Trip

Step 1 – Scout it out!
I scout out my five favorite Goodwill’s within 15 miles from my house the night before my planned shopping trip.  When I scout a store the night before, I am in and out of each store within five to ten minutes.  My only purpose of scouting stores is to see which stores are going to have the most bargains the following morning. I make sure to do this step in the late evening, so items that I am scouting are more likely to be there the following morning.  To be efficient with my time and gas, I plan my weekly grocery trip around my Goodwill scouting.  For me, a typical Friday night before the big day would go as follows: Goodwill at 116th and Olio, groceries at Noblesville Wal-Mart, Goodwill at 37 and Pleasant St., Goodwill at 37 and 126th St., groceries at Fishers Target, Goodwill at 116th and Allisonville Rd., groceries at Castleton Trader Joes, Goodwill at Center Run Dr. and 82nd St.   
 

Step 2: Pick and choose.
Out of the five stores that I scout, I usually pick the two best ones to go to the following morning, and I always start with the store that I think will give me the greatest finds.  For this particular trip, the most promising stores were at 116th  and Allisonville Rd. / 82nd St. and Center Run Dr. The actual shopping process can be lengthy due to picking out clothes, trying on clothes, and waiting in line to buy clothes. If I tried to make it to all five stores, most of the good picks would be gone by the time I got to my last few stores.
 

Step 3: Get there early.
I make sure to get to the store when it opens.  The stores open at 9:00, and I am usually in line to get in the doors with the rest of my fellow Goodwill hunters by 8:45. 
 

Step 4: Set a limit.
I am in an out of Goodwill’s all the time.  In fact, because I am still trying to find a few specific things for the house, I am in a Goodwill at least once or twice a week.  Occasionally, I might see an article of clothing that is a great deal and pick it up (especially if it is marked half off with the color of the week), but I don’t actually go on a clothing shopping spree until I schedule one for the first Saturday of the month.  Even then, I only allow myself to shop the first Saturday of the month four times a year, once at the beginning of each season. The reason for this is because I really don’t need to get a ton of new clothes every month.  Even great deals without a purpose can end up not being really great deals.   In all honesty, I probably don’t NEED everything that I buy on my quarterly shopping sprees, but there’s nothing wrong with occasional WANTS.  All things in moderation I say, and I do love clothes!   I might not need everything, but I certainly do USE everything I buy.  The bang for my buck is just an added bonus:) 
 
Step 5: Set a budget.
Everyone’s budget is different.  At this point in my life, I think that $50 is a good amount to budget for a season.  I know that I can do a lot with $50 at Goodwill.  It is tempting to go over budget, so I advise using cash that is put an envelope marked Goodwill Shopping Day:)   

Step 6: Have a plan.
It’s always wise to have a plan once the doors to the store open.  Here’s mine…..I avoid carts, they get in the way.  The store is crowded and my arms are just fine for holding piles of clothes.  I immediately go into the store and do a quick review of the isles, grabbing anything that immediately sticks out to me and says “Grab Me”.  Then I go back through the isles and do a more thorough job of quickly looking through each article of clothing.  I don’t overthink this process.  If I like it, I grab it.  There’s no commitment until I buy it, so why give someone else the opportunity to snatch it up while I “think about it”?  I always start with dresses and skirts, before moving on to shirts.  I’m leery of shoes that have been worn, but many times Target donates shoes that still have the tags on them.  I typically avoid pants.  They are hard to look through, and my body type only looks good in certain brands.  Once, I’ve gotten all of the clothes that I like, I wait in line for a dressing room and only pick clothes that 1) fit, 2) I like the way I look in them not just the way it looks on the hanger, 3) I will buy to wear not just buy because it’s a good deal.  This process usually weeds out a lot of my “pile”.  Once I’ve made my selection, I politely hang up the things that I am not going to buy….don’t skip this step, it’s rude…..if you’ve ever worked retail, you understand.  Lastly, I wait in the long line to make my purchase before going to the next store and doing it all over again.  I usually make it home by lunch time with bags full of my finds.

Step 7: Go alone.
I took my husband to this one time, and he swore he’d never go again.  He said it was madness, and to be honest, he slowed me down.  If you go with other people who like to shop, the selfish side of me advises to make sure they aren’t the same size as you and don’t have same taste as you…lol.  Goodwill isn’t a typical retail store….there’s only one of a kind items….if you like it and your friend likes it, it becomes a competition to see who can get to it first.  My preference is to go alone.  It’s like a game to me….to see how much fabulous stuff I can get for my money.  A man might spend $50 on a game of golf….me, well I prefer to spend it on a game of Goodwill hunting on the first Saturday of the month;)

 

This Month’s Finds……


Wet Seal coat - $3…Love it!


4 tops (Forever 21, Target, Charlotte Rouse, Loft) - $2.15 each…..the striped Target shirt still had the tag on it:)

5 dresses -$3 each….a Kohl’s sweater dress and a purple dress that still had the Target tag on it…..



….and three more Target dresses. Again, the one with the floral bottom still had the tag on it! Can’t wait to add cardigans and a pair of cute boots to some of these dresses for the upcoming fall season!


Speaking of cardigans, I scored 5 of them – $2.15 each! The two hanging on the mirrors still had the Target tags attached and the polka dot one is Old Navy….


….the grey one is from Kohl’s and the black one is from Target.


Moving onto sweaters and long sleeve layers, a total of 5 - $2.15 each….2 button up sweaters that could also work as a layered cardigan….


…a zip up hooded sweater, a pull over sweater and a long sleeved shirt.