DIY Dollar Store Advent Calendar

see & explore

I grew up enjoying the chocolate filled advent calendars which my kids and have adopted the advent calendar tradition. These advent calendars are hot commodities in my area and sell out very quickly so we have learned to be on the hunt for them. Last week, Danyella and I went into Hobby Lobby and found the calendars…

They wanted $8 for an advent calendar that was smaller than the ones we have bought in the past. No way was I going to pay $8 for cheap chocolate in a cardboard box! That is just absurd inflation when I could make a better one for the same price or cheaper.

So, I headed to my favorite place for cheap crafts…. The Dollar Store! I purchased snowflake printed zip bags, small bags of Danyella’s favorite candies, a pair of socks (she loves penguins), lipsmackers, holiday bracelets and holiday erasers. Plus I had some holiday kisses to use as well. All of these would be fun treats for her to open once a day and better than the overpriced advent calendar. I already had leftover wrapping paper, tape and a cardboard box to cut up and I printed the numbers through my Google Docs account. So I spent a total of $7 plus tax for our DIY advent calendar!

Materials:

wrapping paper

cardboard box (cut into the size/shape you desire)

tape (I preferred double-sided but you can use regular clear tape)

printed numbers 1-24

fun goodies for 24 days

zip lock baggies

Directions:

  1. Create 1-24 and cut each number out than tape them to the bags
  2. Fill the bags with your goodies
  3. Wrap the piece of cardboard with the wrapping paper
  4. Create row with the tape to stick the bags (I created 3 rows starting with 24 at the top and ending with 1)
  5. Press the baggies onto the tape for the kids to peel off each day
  6. Place your advent calendar on display and start on December 1st
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Baby Girl Winter Hats

Baby Girl Hats

The weather has finally turned cold here in New Jersey which means it is time for hats, scarves and gloves. These items are the bulk of my business which people love to purchase a new one every year. I prefer to use soft yarn that are gentle to the skin which is what makes my items so popular among my local clients.

Being pregnant with this baby girl has made me want to make more and more baby items. I have been continuing to make headbands which are so cute but with the months getting cold, I have started to make baby girl crochet hats. I have been using the same Mandala yarn with the unique color changes so each hat is different. Currently, I have 2 hats in size 0-6 months to choose from in purple shades and a pink/purple combination. These make wonderful baby gifts or a Holiday gift.

You can find these hats in my online shop: Kaella Boutique 

Photo Nov 08, 10 16 42 AM

 

Small Vacation Budget Goals

Supermom Says

Now that you have your vacation destination set and your budget laid out, it is time to set your budget goals. The ultimate goal is to raise the money you need for the trip and spending money but breaking this big goal into small ones are what make each step feel like a great accomplishment. I love the feeling of setting a goal, whether it is a goal for a day, a week or a month, and achieving those goals. Time to put those goals into manageable ones for your family vacation! Do you have your Family Vacation Notebook ready?

For our family vacation to Disney World, we are first saving for the deposit and airfare which is only an approximate because the airfare rate can change. Then, we have to save for the balance of the trip. Lastly, there is the most important savings…. Spending Money!

I prefer to break these larger goals down to months and then down to weeks. This makes the big goals feel so much more achievable when you see them in small amounts. So what are your goals?

Starting with our deposit which is $1300 and due on January 1st. The balance will be $7130 which I don’t find out when that is due until I pay the deposit. That part is a little frustrating because it should be broken down on the payment options page. I am going to figure that the balance will be due in March so I am breaking that down for a 3 month goal. After that we will save for our spending money which everyone knows is alot when it comes to Disney spending.

As much as I wanted to begin my savings for our family vacation in October, life and unexpected bills and car repairs proved otherwise. So we are starting our savings in November. Breaking down our deposit over the next 8 weeks, we need to save $650 per month or $163 a week. That can seem like a lot since that is nearly our rent payment a month but it is achievable with my money-saving system that I have been implementing and strategizing. (I will go over these next Sunday!)

Danyella is already enjoying participating in placing our vacation savings into the savings jar which is starting to get some money in there. Along with the Savings Blog on Sundays, I will be updating how our goals are going every Friday on my Facebook Page: Kaella Boutique so that everyone can see how my strategizing and savings are going. Feel free to like our Facebook Page so you can follow along and share your own vacation savings stories!

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Week of Eating Out #feedmefriday

bake breadWhen your week consists of being on the go between classes, mid-terms, doctors appointments, dance, family life and just life itself, being able to cook was not on the menu this week. We ended up eating out for most of our meals or eating the leftovers because we needed everything to be quick and easy.

So I will admit not all of our choices have been healthy ones…. Breakfast was between Dunkin Donuts or one of the two diners that we frequent. The diners are not as bad because I was able to order eggs BUT I had to have my crispy bacon with it which is not so healthy. Lunch was either a diner or fast food because we were on the go from one place to another and really didn’t have time sit for to long to eat. So this was a lot of sandwiches or burgers/fries. Not so healthy either. I did try to keep dinner a little healthier with salads and soup from Panera. I have been obsessed with the Fuji Apple salad and Chicken and Rice soup from Panera lately. The only downfall is that the soup is only available on specific days… that doesn’t work when a pregnant woman is craving something lol. My poor boyfriend has been stopping at Wawa for one of their bowls or ending up with late night cereal after a long day for dinner.

This just proves that I really need to start meal planning and meal prepping because when the baby comes, I won’t be able to just go out and pick up something for breakfast/lunch/dinner. Not to mention how much money we spent on eating out this week. It had to be twice as much as our typical grocery bill budget… that is scary!

With the holidays coming, it will get to easy to try to stop and eat out but I am determined to make meal plans and keep to them. Does anyone have any tips on easy meal planning?

fast food

Recycled DIY Ghost Windsock

DIY Gifts forDad for Any Occasion

This Teach Me Tuesday is so easy and cute and best of all…. kid friendly! This cute ghost windsock is created from an old plastic container, paint, string, tape and toilet paper! I used a leftover chinese container from our take-out last week. I love to keep these containers for all kinds of diy projects and what a better way to use one but to have it be the center of this project!

My original idea was to poke a hole through the top of the container to string the string but the plastic is not flexible enough and cracked the top so my suggestion is to just use tape. Plus using tape makes this 100% kid friendly! So get an old container, paint, toilet paper, string and tape to make your own Ghost Windsock!

Danyella had alot of fun making her ghost though the wind kicked up when she was drying it outside which ended up with grass and smudge-marks on it. I told her that it just gave her ghost some character. Here is Danyella’s Finished Ghost:

 

Vacation Savings Jar DIY #savingsunday

savings jar

This week we are getting hands on with our savings by making a savings jar! The kids love this part because we hit Michaels and the Dollar Store for fun stickers and a jar. I like to pick out a jar with the chalkboard stickers because we can write where we are going and a countdown on the sticker.

The kids love to decorate with the stickers and talk about how we can save money for the cool trip. They can come up with some awesome ideas on how they can help us save money. Usually it consists of giving up a favorite food they like to eat so it is one less thing to purchase in the grocery order or giving up toys or other things to sell on the yard sale groups. I love hearing them get into all of this and it gives them satisfaction to be a participant in the vacation planning and saving instead of the adults telling them what we are doing and how we are saving for it.

Our jar is Disney themed but you can find cool beach, camping and other destination stickers and you can reuse the jar by taking the stickers off using Goo-Gone or soap and hot water which saves for the next trip. Even if you are using this for your spending money on the trip, it teaches the kids how to save and have fun doing it.

What are you going to put on your Vacation Savings Jar?

vacationkids

29 Weeks Pregnant and the Hormonal Imbalance

29 weeks

 

If you have ever been pregnant or been around a pregnant woman when they watch a happy or sad movie, when they feel stressed out or when they are just sitting there and nothing is actually happening? You know that they can be happy one minute, go into a psychcoatic rage the next minute and end up in tears by the end of the moment.

I can’t remember being so hormonal with the other pregnancies but with this pregnancy, I have been off the chart with these hormones. Since the beginning  of this pregnancy, I have been crying at everything or going into a rage and yelling at everyone. I am not one that cries in front of anyone unless it is a huge thing. I don’t cry at funerals or other sad moments. This pregnancy, I cry at everything!

A couple of weeks ago, I started to hysterically cry and Doug just couldn’t understand why I was crying. So between breathes, I tried to explain that I was crying because the puppy was getting more of his attention then I was. All he could do was laugh which just made my crying even worse. I mean really, I was crying over being jealous of the puppy, I am going freaking crazy!

Then there are the movies and tv shows that make me cry… I love to watch my romantic movies but I have been craving the romance, almost like I was forcing myself to cry. Even my tv show choices have had me in tears! I watch my normal shows like NCIS and Hell’s Kitchen but Grey’s Anatomy and This Is Us has triggered tears just a few shows into the season. There is a new show, The Good Doctor, about an Autistic doctor learning how to communicate with his co-workers and patients. Every single episode has had me in tears!

Now, add all my tears to the crazy dreams that send me into rages when I wake up in the morning and it is surpsise that Doug is still alive. The other morning, I woke after another one of those dreams that he was cheating on me with some skinny, pretty girl, and just started hitting him with my pillow. All he could do was turn around with a smirk and ask if I had “one of those stupid dreams again?”! No, I was just wanting to hit you becuase I had a happy dream. In my baby mama group, this has been a repeating topic of discussion about the crazy cheating dreams we have been having even though we know they are not real or going to really happen. Crazy, Crazy Hormones!

Currently, I am torturing myself by watching Call the Midwife for the third time! How can I watch babies be born and not cry? I can’t so bring on the box of tissues while I survive the last 11 weeks of this pregnancy. Also, wish my friends and family luck while they deal with temporary hormonal insanity!

**Weekly Update: We had a growth check on Wednesday and Evelynne is looking great. She stuck her tongue out which made a cute picture. She is weighing in at almost 3 pounds and growing right on track. Everything is keeping closed like I need them to so we have graduated from the bi-weekly ultrasounds which is kinda sad because I loved seeing her so often but she lets herself be known by moving all day and night.

Photo Oct 18, 2 02 18 PM