I accidentally saw this offer today while searching Swagbucks, when a small box opened up on the bottom of my screen. Get 700 Swagbucks when you buy a certain $2.99 game at Big Fish Games. I would normally never buy a $3 Halloween game, but since 450 Swagbucks can be redeemed for $5 at Amazon… that makes this a moneymaker of $4.78 if my math is correct. (450/9 = 90, so every 90 Swagbucks are worth $1. 700/90 = 7.77 – 2.99 = 4.78.) I tried it out and the Swagbucks have already credited, so I can verify that it works. The offer popped up for me and said it was for today only, but I found the same one for 675 listed under “Offers” and “TrialPay” on the site. Search for something and see if you get the one for 700 first, though. :)
If you’re not already a member, I’ve written about Swagbucks before here: Swagbucks. I like getting paid to search.. :)
I feel lucky for I have a child who theoretically enjoys trick-or-treating, and not one who actually enjoys it. We were out for maybe 45 minutes and we went to more houses than Princess Evie really felt necessary. She had fun, but she had enough after the first five houses. Better than last year, though–at least she wasn’t afraid of all the spooky stuff.
So, here’s the dress I made! I mean, here is my adorable child, all decked out in princess finery! Oh, forget it. I am mainly just seeing the dress. *laugh* With puffy sleeves and a beautiful neckline!
I started with the Cinderella dress found here, but I didn’t really stick with the tutorial in all parts. I used satin for the top instead of a knit fabric, and I did those useless little flaps totally differently–didn’t have enough of that pink to do it her way, so they’re turned and topstitched. The only thing I really had trouble with was attaching the skirt, in the end, and that was only because my stupid sewing machine hiccuped on sewing so many layers together. Let’s just say that I won’t be posting pictures of the inside stitching in that location. :) I also lined the inside with cheap pink cotton that I bought for a baby quilt once but then decided it was too thin to use. That wasn’t really part of the project, but I thought it’d be more comfortable and warmer that way. It was a lot of fun and I’m glad I went to so much trouble. She’ll enjoy playing with it now that Halloween is over… if I can stand to have her wad it up and shove it in her dress up box to get all crushed. ;) Oh, and gathering things. I have now entered a torrid love affair with the gathering stitch.I shall henceforth put ruffles on anything that sits still long enough for me to do so. M, you’d better hide your shirts, or be prepared for some awkward outfits.
M and I dressed up, too. That was kind of fun.. It’s been years since I dressed up. I am the Witch Queen. I thought the crown was hilarious, and also, I allowed my husband to hot glue it directly to my head. Well, to the paper thin hat on my head, of course. That is a test of love and trust right there, also an unwillingness to remove the hat after I’d already pinned it in place. One or the other. My face was even quite green, but the camera really refused to pick it up so mainly I just look like I need to get out in the sun a little more often. Much as always.
And M was….. I don’t know. M was M. He scared small children. Much as always. ;)
“She’s so pretty,” one of the men handing out candy said, “and you two are so ugly.”
Thank you,” I replied.
Only a parent would consider “you are so ugly” as a compliment.
Near Christmas, there are often gift card specials at restaurants–like give a $25 card, get an extra $5. We will take advantage of those at places we eat often, but of course, the trick is not buying so many gift cards that mean you will eat out more often!
Anyway, we bought one at Max & Erma’s before Christmas year before last. Actually, I think we bought two. A few months later, we went to use the last one and pulled into the parking lot and…it was gone. Gone! They closed both of the locations near us in one weekend, along with a bunch of others around the country. Anyway, I came home and looked for the nearest location and found one in Cincinnati. Driving two hours just to eat dinner at a regular old chain restaurant? No thank you. So I did what anyone would have done–I stuck the card in my wallet in the event that we found ourselves somewhere near a Max & Erma’s, and promptly forgot about it.
Anyway, it struck a nerve with me recently, when I was cleaning out my wallet, and I noticed on the back of the card that they would deduct $2 per month after two years of inactivity. That’s coming up pretty soon, and I’d just as soon not watch $25 go down the drain, so I called the number on the back of the card. They tried to direct me to another location, but when it turned out that it was so far away, she gave me the phone number of their parent company and suggested that they would be able to reimburse me (which is what I was hoping for.) I had a hard time getting someone on the phone, as the customer service guy never answered his phone or returned a message, so I kept calling and finally, this week, he returned my call.
(I finally inquired politely in my last voice mail as to when the appropriate time to call this number would be, as I had made several phone calls and no one ever answered the phone or returned voice mails. Four or five days later, I actually got a phone call! Never give up. ha!)
The point of the story, of course, is that they’re sending me a $25 check for my worthless-to-me gift card. If this ever happens to you, keep it in mind that they may be willing to work with you if you give it a little effort. Alternately, you could try selling it on eBay or one of the gift card swap sites, but I hated to lose part of the value if I didn’t have to.
p.s. It’s not weird to just suddenly post something after six months, is it? ;)
I put a Silhouette cutting machine on my Christmas list, but the stars did not align correctly.
One of the things I enjoy about having a little girl is fixing her hair. Now that she finally has a “big people” head of hair to play with, I’ve spent a lot of time fixing super-cute hair styles. Of course, the more hair products you buy, the more storage solutions you have to come up with. Headbands are the most annoying hair accessories because they get caught on everything and they get lost in the drawer. One of the classic solutions is an oatmeal canister. We bought a super-sized amount of dish detergent capsules at Sam’s that came in a similar container, only larger and sturdier, so I used that instead. And of course, it has to look a little cuter than a bulk canister.
Nothing too fancy, but I like it. A couple of pieces of scrapbook paper and some Mod Podge… a really easy project, and one that I worked on while Evie was doing a crafting project of her own. She’s funny about Mommy’s craft projects. She approves, in a general sense, but she has no vision about what I’m going to do. I told her that I was making something to put in her room, and she looked at the container like I had suggested that I was going to wallpaper her bedroom with boogers. She always loves it when it’s done, though. On the other hand, if I attempt to do something that strikes her as interesting, she will quickly lose interest in what she’s doing and try to take over what I’m doing instead. :)
The container with headbands on it. She doesn’t have that many, truthfully, but what she does have is now organized and she’s worn them more often now than she ever did before. There’s a lid on top, creating an area inside for her scrunchies. Evie was thrilled when I put her in charge of putting the headbands on. Being “in charge” of anything is a big deal to a child her age.
Last year, we made Evelyn a dollhouse bookcase. I wanted to use it as a bookcase, but she had other ideas. It has been used exclusively for Barbies ever since it made it into her room in the fall.
It has been a real mess mostly since, but she’s enjoyed it and I love it that we made it for her. Anyway, this morning, on a whim, I decided that poor Barbie needed a place to sleep. She’s had some Megablocks-covered-with-a-washcloth beds since shortly after the above photo was taken in October, but I reorganized the bookcase this week and created some better storage for clothes and accessories, and I think that inspired me. My child loves projects, so I thought this would be a good way to entertain ourselves on a fine spring Friday morning. For the record, it was, at first, but then she got bored before I finished the parts she couldn’t help with. Win some, lose some.
First, you start with a box. I used a Cheerios box, unfolded. I thought that the side of the box would be a good height for the bed, and four inches would be a good width. I determined this very scientifically, by grabbing a Barbie out of the basket and laying her down on the box. Measure four inches (or the width of your desired bed) on one side of the box and draw a line–let’s call it line A. Do the same thing on the other side (line B). Measure the width of your side panel–in my case, two inches. Measure that distance from the lines you just drew and draw two more lines–let’s call them lines C and D.
Cut the box on lines C and D. You should still have two lines, two inches inside the box. Lay a long ruler down firmly on line A and use the tip of your scissors to score along it. You don’t want to cut all the way through it, just make it bend nicely in that spot. Do the same thing to line B.
You should now be able to fold your box up into a smaller box. If you measured and scored correctly, it will fit together perfectly, as so.
Use hot glue to glue the box together. If I’d had any masking tape handy, I’d have taped all around the box for extra strength, but I didn’t really feel like it was worth getting up for. I did know that if I left the box empty, it would be light and flimsy and easily destroyed, so it needed to be filled up. What better to fill it with than some of the contents of my fabric scrap trash? Little odds and ends of various sewing projects. This is the part that Evie got to help with (still in her pajamas, of course) and she thought that was pretty fun, but she greatly disagreed about several pieces of scrap fabric that I had placed in the bag. She’s an even worse packrat than I am. The scraps made the box feel solid and even a little soft, like a real mattress.
She also got to pick out fabric from my flannel stash. She decided on a blue for the sheets and a cheerleader print for the blanket. I covered the box with the blue “sheet” using hot glue. This was quick and easy except I did “hem” the sheet using hot glue. I didn’t want raw edges visible anywhere. Evelyn, by the way, had to be convinced that it was okay to glue the sheet down. She wanted to be able to take it off and on, but I finally convinced her that this would just be the bottom sheet covering the mattress so we’d never have to see the Cheerios box. If I’d been choosing fabrics, by the way, I’d have probably chosen something that matched the pink cheerleader fabric a little better but I just do what I’m told. :) Anyway, after the box was covered, I whipped up a little blanket for the bed and a pillow. The blanket is just turned and topstitched, two layers of flannel, with a bit of lace trim added. I even quilted the thing.
The back side of both the blanket and the pillow is the complementary blue print to the bottom sheet, so it’s fully reversible.
Doesn’t she look nice and cozy? I am really happy with how it turned out. I didn’t spend a dime on this project and it’s pretty cute. It sure looks better than building block furniture, which I’m pretty sure is the doll equivalent of milk crate furniture. ;) Of course, she’s currently sleeping on a cardboard box so I guess that’s not really much better? ;)
What an exciting day! My daughter has a twin sister that I had never met! May I introduce you to my newly discovered other daughter, Chella Mademoiselle? (That’s her full name, according to Evelyn. I was apparently very out of it the day she they were born because not only did I block out the memory of that second child, I went completely insane and named her Chella Mademoiselle.)
Chella Mademoiselle was created on a whim today, when Evie decided she wanted to write on the big brown paper. We have previously had good results from big drawings like this, when she is so inclined, so I taped it to the kitchen floor and had her lay down on it. I traced around her–in pencil–and then outlined it all with a permanent market when I finished. It is not as easy to trace an entire child as one might think, by the way, especially if one is no good at drawing. Her head has serious problems but it looks a lot better than it did when I first started drawing, I can tell you that much.
Here we have the artist, hard at work. I used the permanent marker to add some basic details like clothes, shoes, ruffles and a flower on the shirt and polka dots on the shorts. Evie made the decisions about what I was drawing, though. I have found that she isn’t really comfortable with filling in so much of a drawing without some basic guidelines. To be honest, she’s not a huge fan of coloring, although she says that she likes to color. She bores with it easily and would generally rather be drawing or practicing her writing.
We worked on it before lunch and then finished it this afternoon. When she was done, I cut her out carefully, only severing one arm in the process. Ooops! That’s why she has a band-aid on her arm in the first picture, by the way, and why Evie is comparing her own band-aids to her twin’s. We used that poster-hanging putty to hang her to the wall behind her play table in the living room so they can play together. :)
I really love that picture. It was a fun project. She was pretty excited about it, and thrilled to show her daddy when he got home. I think that she would have enjoyed it more if she did like to color more. It kept both of us entertained for a good while, though I had envisioned it requiring a little less attention from me. Poor E, though, thought about her imaginary twin all day and then cried to her daddy at bedtime about how she wanted that girl to be a real girl, who would do everything with her, like play together and skip stones together and have lunch together and go to gymnastics together and apparently, Chella Mademoiselle would do everything Evelyn told her to. From my experience with siblings, I fear she would be pretty disappointed by a real Chella Mademoiselle, don’t you think?
I went through some old school papers recently and found a science project that I made when I was about ten or eleven. It was a leaf collection, put together in a folder with different leaves carefully stuck onto the pages and sealed with contact paper. I have a vague memory of doing this, surprisingly, and leaving it to the last minute and therefore going the lamination route because I didn’t have time for pressing leaves or anything fancy like that. Evelyn was very impressed with Mommy’s apparent love of leaves, so she spent the weekend collecting leaves from outside to bring to me. (How sweet!) Anyway, clearly I needed to do something with my new collection, so we made a little college using the same medium as the original project–DIY lamination. :)
I was fairly happy with the results except that the contact paper wrinkled a bit. I also found that taking photos of it with flash was hopeless, so this doesn’t really do it justice but as far as I can tell, the sun is not planning on coming back out until at least May so I gave up on getting a better picture.
It’s not fancy kid art, but we had a good time making it. :) I think we’ll do more contact paper art soon because Evie found it pretty fascinating to stick her pieces down on sticky stuff.
While I’m still talking kid crafts, I’ll add that earlier in the day, we also made a Valentine Heart Lei, as per the instructions here. I had everything cut out and ready when we started, which made it one of the least stressful craft projects we’ve done in a while. She usually gets pretty impatient while I get out the supplies. (Kiddo, if you take a nap every day like you did on Monday, I will have more time to set up crafts. You might want to give it a try. Please?)
It turned out pretty cute, though I ended up untying it and hanging it on our fireplace instead of using it as a lei.
I went back out shopping tonight and am happy to report that my drugstore shopping for the week is adequately completed. If possible, I will hit at least one or two more Rite Aids, time and weather and circumstances permitting, but if I can’t, then I will not fret too greatly about it. When I first started couponing, Walgreens was my favorite, followed by CVS and then Rite Aid. The deals were usually lackluster and the store clerks hated me (unfairly!). Now I pretty much hate Walgreens and find myself in Rite Aid several times a week. I guess the deal love comes and goes.
Anyway, at Rite Aid tonight, I received a lovely comment that I took as a compliment. One of the cashiers kindly remarked, holding the huge stack of coupons that I had used, that this shopping trip must have taken me hours. I was pleased by that because you know what? IT DID. Compiling that many coupons and making notes on that many deals takes time, not even counting the time it takes me while I’m at the stores themselves. We had a short conversation about how useful a saving-money hobby is compared to other hobbies that I’ve had, and then I waved goodbye and headed out the door.
It was later, in the car, that I realized that I actually appreciated that an outsider recognized just how much time and effort that I spend on couponing. I enjoy it–less than I did at first but it’s still like a giant game to me. There’s often a bit of implied “you must have so much free time on your hands if you can do this because I just don’t have time to fool with coupons” vibe when people talk to me about couponing that drives me crazy. It’s in part to the way that I shop that I am still able to staying home with my child. I spend maybe ten hours a week on it, averaged–more this week but less last week. It evens out. But hey, compared to working 40 hours a week (or 37.5… hey, I worked for the state) I figure it’s a bargain at twice the price. ;)
October made me feel very warm and posty (HA!) but November apparently sapped all my will to write. I think I was probably anticipating Thanksgiving, and more importantly, Black Friday, so I stopped thinking of topics to write about in favor of perusing advance ad scans and the like. They say it takes three weeks for something to become a habit, but I can tell you that getting OUT of the habit of blogging? It takes much less than that.
Christmas also came and went since last I dusted off ye olde blog, and it was great. My daughter is three and she felt very, very strongly about getting a fish for Christmas. A real one, with no batteries! :) It’s so much fun to have a child old enough to appreciate the magic of the holiday season. I personally spent the entire month of December trolling Slickdeals and forcing my child to do a ton of crafts and help with Christmas baking. She did not seem to mind much, as crafting and cookign with Mommy are two of her favorite activities…but I will say that she has not been as enthusiastic about crafting after Christmas as she was before. I think we both appreciated a little break from all the engaging, enriching activities.
I feel a bit giddy tonight because I had some excellent drug store shopping. The most interesting thing that I bought was six 1.5 quart containers of Edy’s ice cream for $.94 (total), making them almost sixteen cents a piece. Have a Rite Aid and a Wellness card (free)? You can do it too! Just buy six containers of ice cream, assuming you can find them in stock. Pay $2.99 x 6 = $17.94. Receive six $2 UPs (which print on your receipt) and one $5 Up. If you’re not a regular Rite Aid shopper, immediately tear those coupons off and spend that $17 on something in the store that you need that’s on sale. Rite Aid prices are murder if there’s not a sale. You could actually spend that money on more ice cream, but you will only get the six $2 Ups, not the $5. My store actually had plenty in stock, which was somewhat shocking. I also bought twelve packages of pads, making me look like a walking stereotype for PMS. :) The manager came to the front and hovered over the cashier while I was checking out. I wonder if he thought I was going to get violent or something? I don’t know. The whole trip worked out to be $17 of profit and I just really love days like that.
When I became a stay-at-home-mom, I promised I could save our family money by shopping sales and maybe even using a few coupons. I had no idea what I was getting into. These days, I am on a first-name basis with the cashiers at the local drugstores, I haven't paid for toothpaste or shampoo in over a year and I spend my free time here, helping others do the same. So please, make yourself at home while you learn how to save, and when to spend!