Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saving Money

When I was pregnant with K, Nick and I decided we needed to start living just off of his income, as practice for when she was born and I'd be staying home with her. At first, it was really tough. I was worried we weren't going to be able to do it. We were spending over $400/month on groceries and eating out. Our bills were outrageous. Although we didn't buy "extras" a lot, these fun purchases (movies, etc) really started to add up. I started reading articles, forums, and blogs on saving money and devised a plan.

First, we stopped eating out. This was hard for both of us. Nick really liked (and still does) getting to eat out at lunch with his coworkers. I liked not having to cook every night. We started slow and backed down to only eating out a few times a month. Now we eat out maybe one or two times a month and honestly, we don't miss it at all. In fact, we generally feel terrible after eating out. Fast food is addictive and once you break the habit of eating it, it's hard to eat it without feeling gross.

Second, we stopped buying movies. Nick used to buy at least a couple of movies a month. We got Netflix and he committed to only buying or asking for the "must-haves." This was a big sacrifice on his part and I'm still impressed with the fact that he hasn't bought a movie in almost 9 months. I also got a library card and stopped buying books. We still spend money on fun things sometimes, but not nearly as much as before.

Third, I decided to tackle our grocery bill. I have really gotten the hang of shopping sales and using coupons and I've brought our grocery bill down by about $100/month so far. My goal is to get it down to $200/month.

Fourth, I started finding ways to save money around the house. We use a lot of reusable products and try to conserve water and electricity.

I'll share my tips and tricks on these last two in separate posts. It's too much to put into one post. Being frugal isn't the easiest thing, but it's not as hard, boring, or as embarrassing as I thought it would be. I tackled this like I do any other project or job, with determination to make it work and to make it fun. Now, I get a thrill from getting good deals and saving money. Like this week, when I spent $7.78 at Kroger on 4 bottles of Old Spice body wash, a bottle of Herbal Essences shampoo, a 12 pack of Charmin toilet paper, a bag of Cascade dishwasher tabs, and a deodorant. Yeah, you read that right...$7.78. It's been a good week for me :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Pretty Girl

I made K a headband to match her monkey dress. We had her 10 month pictures taken in this outfit today. Can't wait to show you next week!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monkey Dress

I found this great monkey fabric remnant at Joanns a few weeks ago. Cost me a whopping 65 cents*. I knew it'd be perfect in this dress by From An Igloo.

This worked up pretty quickly and, as always, Christine's tutorial was fabulous and easy to follow. I only made two changes:

1. I didn't have enough of my monkey fabric to cut 2 strips 40" long, so I only cut one. This wouldn't have worked out for a larger dress, but it was perfect for 9-12 months size.

Drool queen

2. I didn't shir the back. I really, really wanted to. I spent 2 days (not kidding) trying every way I could think of to get my machine to work with the elastic thread. I watched shirring videos and read blog posts and forums, but I just couldn't get it to work. There was no way I was scrapping the dress, so I decided to sew in 2 pieces of 1/4" elastic on the top and bottom of my back bodice. If you're going to do it this way, it's better to only cut your back bodice piece by 1.5x your needed width instead of 1.75x like she suggests. It was not easy stretching the elastic that much.

Even though I cut my elastic to be the exact width of her back, it still turned out to be a little loose. Not a big deal, since the straps go through a buttonhole in the back and can be adjusted easily.

I can easily see her being able to wear this for the rest of the summer, this fall with a light cardigan, and probably next year as a shirt. Not too shabby for 65 cents (the brown fabric was a freebie from my Granny)!

*Did you know that at Joanns you get 50% off the current price per yard? That means, if you find a remnant from fabric that is on sale for $3/yard, you get that remnant for $1.50/yard. I found out the day I bought this and since then I've gotten a couple of really good deals on remnants.

Friday, July 23, 2010

10 months

My baby girl is 10 months old today!

What she's up to these days:
- Crawling at lightening-fast speeds and into everything. She can spot a cord a mile away.

- She's learning how to drink from a sippy cup.
- Eating solids is hit or miss with her. Some days she eats a lot and other days she won't have anything to do with it. I'm thankful she's still nursing really well or I would be worried about her.
- She has 4 teeth now and is about to cut 2 more.
- She is starting to pull up on things.

- Yesterday, she started saying "doy" (rhymes with "toy"). I think it's more of a fun babbling sound than an actual word. So now she says Mama, Dada, Nana, and "doydoydoydoydoy"
- She still thinks playing peekaboo through the slats of her crib is the most hilarious game ever.

- Going outside is one of her favorite things. She loves swinging and playing in her kiddie pool.

Only 2 months til her birthday. I guess I should start party planning soon!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Watermelon Girl

One of K's favorite games these days is to crawl away as fast as possible while I "chase" her and tickle her. She squeals and laughs, takes a breath, and starts it all over again. I love her laugh :)
"Can't catch me, Mama!"

"Ok, fine. I'll be still."

"Just kidding!"

Does anyone else have a kid that likes to chew on metal? So weird.

Her Daddy said she looked like a watermelon in this outfit. Cutest. watermelon. ever.

Not sure what she's doing in this picture, but it makes me laugh.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Friday, July 2, 2010

4th of July Dress

I made K a 4th of July dress using the One Hour Sundress pattern on From An Igloo's blog.

I modified it a bit, making it without the top ruffle and adding a basic contrast hem instead of a ruffle at the bottom. This is a great tutorial and the dress was really easy and fast to make.

It looked really cute on her when I helped her stand in front of a mirror, but as soon as she's loose on the floor, it rides up. Straight-cut dresses and crawling babies don't really mix. She still looks adorable, though :)

And here are a couple of cute 4th of July tutorials I found after I made this. I've got these ideas bookmarked for next year.

4th of July Shirts by Make It and Love It