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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas Baby Announcement

Christmas Baby Announcement

So on Christmas Eve, Ben and I announced that we will be having a baby due July 30th, 2015! I poured through posts on Pinterest showing different ways to announce your pregnancy and man, did I find some of everything! I saw posts ranging from super cute to downright wacky! After looking at them all I finally decided to take a picture of our mantel with our stockings and the new baby stocking.  Right before Christmas we had our first ultrasound and got pictures of our little peanut.  My Mom gave us a cute frame to put our ultrasound picture in so I decided to include that in the picture too above Baby Murphy's stocking.  The results turned out super cute, and I love the pic we took announcing our pregnancy to Facebook and Instagram! Here's the picture we ended up using, so excited!
Also, our stockings we got from Goodwill several years ago, with the tags still on, and they are so cute! The baby stocking we got at Target and the chalkboard tags we got at Michaels.  The candles are a diy from fall that I use all year for the different seasons.  Check out my blog post of how to make them if you're interested.  Get excited about lots of pregnancy and mom-to-be posts coming soon! Here's a pic of Ben and I with our mantel on my birthday.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Painted Swim Team Keds

Painted Swim Team Keds

So this Saturday is the State Meet for James Island Charter High school. I am the assistant swim coach and decided I needed some cool shoes to wear to the meet.  I found these "Ked" like shoes at
Walmart for only $5ish and thought they would be perfect to paint. 

I used acrylic paint and painted over where I had drawn in pencil the design I wanted.  I used the design from our tank tops we got a while back as my inspiration for the logo and font.  The word "HONK" on the back is something the swimmers yell at meet when cheering.  It's from a motivational speech the coach reads every year at practice. 

After letting them dry, I sprayed them with Modge Podge glossy sealant.  For the laces, I took the white laces out and added ribbon that was the same length in blue and orange. Total cost for this project was less than $10.  So excited to wear them to the meet!


If you are interested in the Lessons from Geese Speech, here it is, author is unknown, but feel free to use!

Lesson 1 - The Importance of Achieving Goals
As each goose flaps its wings it creates an UPLIFT for the birds that follow. By flying in a 'V' formation the whole flock adds 71 percent extra to the flying range.

Outcome
When we have a sense of community and focus, we create trust and can help each other to achieve our goals.

Lesson 2 - The Importance of Team Work

When a goose falls out of formation it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back to take advantage of the lifting power of the birds in front.
Outcome
If we had as much sense as geese we would stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.

Lesson 3 - The Importance of Sharing
When a goose tires of flying up front it drops back into formation and another goose flies to the point position.

Outcome

It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks. We should respect and protect each other's unique arrangement of skills, capabilities, talents and resources.

Lesson 4 - The Importance of Empathy and Understanding

When a goose gets sick, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to the ground to help and protect it.

Outcome

If we have as much sense as geese we will stand by each other in difficult times, as well as when we are strong.

Lesson 5 - The Importance of Encouragement
Geese flying in formation 'HONK' to encourage those up front to keep up with their speed.
Outcome
We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups and teams where there is encouragement, production is much greater. 'Individual empowerment results from quality honking'












Thursday, October 9, 2014

Swim Team Pre-Meet Treats




Like this post? Check out the giveaway for the Jar Candle Favors!
Swim Team Pre-Meet Treats


It's almost time for State Meet for my high school swimmers and to celebrate, I have been making treats for them everyday.  I have found some sayings from Pinterest and some I had to make up depending on what I found on sale. If you like these, be sure to check out this season's post on swim meet treats here!

Day 1: I didn't take a picture of day one's treat, but it was Blow Pops, Bubble Gum, and a note that read "JI Swimmers will BLOW away the competition at State Meet!"



Day 2: Tuesday's treat had a Frozen theme since Gatorade was on sale at Bi Lo.  For this one, I picked out Frozen fruit gummies, and blue Glacier Freeze Gatorade.  Some of the fruit gummies ended up having Disney Princesses instead of Frozen stuff so I printed out pictures of Elsa and Ana to put on them instead.  The note on these read, "JI swimmers will FREEZE out the competition at State Meet!".  They drank the Gatorade hot when I gave it to them like most kids would and made sure to mention it was not frozen...


Day 3: Wednesday's treat was bags of popcorn I popped at home the night before. It was super hard to come up with a phrase for popcorn since everything on Pinterest was baby shower or wedding shower related, so I had to come up with my own.  The saying I went with on these was "POP, lock, and rock it...out at state!".  They loved the saying on these and the popcorn held up well in the bags in my car all day.


Day 4: Thursday's treat was a pair of fun socks for each of them with a tag tied on that said "Knock the SOCKS off the competition at State!". These socks were fun because I found large packs at Big Lots that were mix match socks but I bought two packs so they all had matches.  The boys got plain socks.



Day 5: Friday the 5th and final day of treats, I got them a basket of shaving supplies.  They are having a shaving party at one house so I loaded the basket with girls and guys shaving cream, razors, and blue and orange nail polish.  They can bring the whole basket with them to whoever's house.  The saying for that day is "SHAVE off lots of time at State Meet!"
I will post the picture after I give it to them tomorrow!



Hope this gives you ideas for any team events coming up! Have you done a spirit week for a team before? What kind of treats did you make and what sayings did you use? If you like this post, be sure to check out the 2015 season post on more treats! The link is here: http://annaslifetravels.blogspot.com/2015/10/swim-meet-treats-round-2.html









Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Mini Jar Candle Giveaway!



Mini Jar Candle Giveaway!


It's the first day of Spring and its time to celebrate! Since my Pinterest pin and my blog post on these jar candles got so many likes and repins, I thought it would be fun to give a few away! I have three of these mini seashell jar candles to give away to readers! Its super easy to enter, leave a comment on this blog post! If you want to see how to make your own candle and mason jar twine and shell accessories to match, head over to my blog post on Katie's Beach Themed Bridal Shower! Let me know if you have any questions on anything on the site, or love any of the craft projects you have tried or love! Thanks, and have fun!



Monday, September 22, 2014

Chi Omega Bid Day Decorations













Chi Omega Bid Day Decorations
This past weekend, I attended my 7th Chi Omega Recruitment and Bid Day Celebration! I worked this week on some decorations for them for Bid Day and finished some more this weekend with my Big Sister Tracy.  These would be fun for any occasion including Big/Little Reveal, Greek Week, Recruitment/Rush, or Homecoming.  Everything I made with simple materials that I got at the Dollar Tree or Walmart.  If you have any questions about the construction of anything, let me know!

This sign was a special request from the chapter and it includes their special events coming up and the number of days until those events.  This project used a dowel rod, cardboard, paint, a permanent marker, fake flowers, and hot glue.  I stuck the sign in a pretty mum I got from Walmart that actually had owls(our mascot) on it.  I think this would be super cute for an engagement party to have all the special dates coming up for the wedding party.



All of the flower posters were super simple to make.  We used red and yellow streamers that were .97 cents a pack at Walmart and school glue.  We started on the outside and pinched them as we glued them down to the poster board in layers.  I think these would be cute at a birthday party or wedding.

The Chi Omega Letters were a total Dollar Tree project.  The foam board, and fake flowers came from the there, and I already had hot glue and my hot glue gun at home.  I pulled all the flowers off their stems and went to town gluing them all over the letters until the white foam board was completely covered.  I used an exacto knife to cut out the letters before I started gluing.  These were super cute and light weight. I would have loved to have these at my wedding with our new initials to take pictures.  The girls had fun posing with them and they matched the flower headbands they ordered for everyone.


The cardboard crown was a bit tricky to cut out but it turned out cute too.  The theme of recruitment was "Only royals wear cardinal and straw" so the crown went along with it. 


I am so glad they enjoyed Bid Day and all the decorations! The girls did a fantastic job with recruitment and it paid off! They now have 31 owl babies in their new pledge class! So proud of all my Theta Lambda sisters!











Monday, September 1, 2014

Velvet Hanger Closet Revamp

Velvet Hanger Closet Revamp

So I realized I had a problem with where I hang my dresses when I couldn't fit anymore hangers on the rack.  My plastic hangers, were not working out, and breaking when I pulled too hard on a garment.  

This is what my closet looked like before, pretty scary!



I researched and read Amazon reviews on tons of different products to help in small closets and decided I needed some thin velvet hangers.  The 50 pack on Amazon was out of stock so I decided to look around in a few stores to see if I could find something similar without having to order online.  After reading the reviews, I came to the conclusion that most of the brands work the same whether its the cheap version or the expensive version some of the home stores sell.  I first checked Family Dollar and didn't think they had any until we checked their new arrivals section.  Sitting on the shelf were these colorful 10 packs of velvet hangers! The hangers even had the indent for hanging tank tops and strappy dresses.  



It took two trips to two separate Family Dollars to get enough, but I ended up with 150 hangers for around $60.  They ended up being roughly .42 cents a piece which was cheaper than Amazon's 50 cents a hanger price.  



Got them home and made sure to take a before pick of how crazy the dress section of my closet had gotten.  Next, I went through and separated out all the clothes into piles, work clothes, summer casual, winter casual, and fancy dresses.  I switched all the hangers, and was impressed that the velvet didn't rub off and the metal hook can swivel.  I hung them all back up and ended up with plenty of room.  

These are the lovely after pictures! It looks so much better and feels so much more organized!





This morning when I got up to pick out clothes for work, it was super easy to pull something out and put it back in.  I will update this once I have used them for a while.  I am also working on replacing my plastic shirt hangers with thin coated white wire hangers.  I will post on those later on.  Hopefully if you are having the same trouble as I am with small closets and too many clothes, this will help you out too! Happy shopping!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July 4th Burlap Wreath

July 4th Burlap Wreath


So I got crafty last week for July 4th and wanted to share my patriotic wreath with you! For this craft, it was super inexpensive and took hardly any time which is just what I wanted with camp going on.

Supplies:

Wire Wreath form
One roll of solid burlap
One roll each of red and blue chevron burlap
Wooden Letter
Tacky glue

Directions:
1. I cut the burlap in about half yard lengths.  I decided how many of each so I could space out my chevron print amongst the plain burlap.
2. I began looping over and under leaving a big loop each time and pushing the burlap to each joint.
3. Tuck the ends of each piece into a loop to hide it.
4. Once you finish filling in the entire loop, cut any frays and strings hanging off the burlap.
5. Figure out where you want your letter to sit.  Put tacky glue on the back of the letter wherever it will sit against the burlap.
6. Let dry, hang, and enjoy the holiday!

Hope you guys enjoy this wreath as much as I have! Its festive, fast, and makes quite a statement on your door.  Let me know if you have any questions, have a fun and safe 4th of July!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Quick Cheap DIY Graduation Party Decorations

Quick Cheap DIY Graduation Party Decorations

 The graduate after it was finally over, way to go Dean!

I am proud to say my little brother Dean graduated from University of South Carolina last weekend.  We decided pretty last minute to throw a get together at his apartment.  I decided we should have at least a few of my usual DIY projects thrown in with the Dollar Tree and Party City decorations.  The first project was super quick and involved very few materials.  I made little tags on the computer then printed them out to glue on cardstock.  Tied a ribbon around three mason jars to hold the utensils, glued my tags on and voila, adorable USC themed utensil holders.  Total time for this project was about five minutes and total cost was free since I had the ribbon, computer paper, and mason jars already.

These looked super cute with utensils in them sitting next to the gamecock cookie cake. 

The second project took a bit more time, but not much still.  I wanted to make something cute to hang on the outside of the apartment so that guests knew which apartment it was.  I used a cereal box to cut the outline of grad cap out of.  Glued the two pieces together with tacky glue.  Painted the cap and wrote congrats in paint.  Added a cardboard tassel, a ribbon at the top for hanging, and some crinoline like ribbon for a bow and the tassel end.  Total time for this project was about an hour including letting the paint dry, I used acrylic so it dried quickly.  Total cost for this project was free because I had everything sitting around in my fabric and recycling bin.


The sign could be hung on a wreath hook or anything else you have around like this clip by Dean's door.
The third project was a "Congrats Grads" banner to hang on the stair railing.  I printed the triangles with a faint outline for cutting in Microsoft Word then glued them onto black construction paper.  Cut around the white triangles leaving a border then hole punched the corner of each.  I did have to buy a roll curling ribbon at the Dollar Tree to complete this project, but it still only came to $1 for total cost.  The curling ribbon I cut into little strips, tied each triangle to each other separately and curled the ends.  This project took about 45 minutes to complete due to the cutting and curling. 

You can see the sign behind them hanging on the stairs.

So there you now have three super quick ways to decorate for a grad party.  These were the perfect personalized touches that the gathering needed.  The grad loved them as did my family! Do you have any quick and easy grad party suggestions? I would love to hear about them!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

DollarTree DIY Easter Centerpiece



DollarTree DIY Easter Centerpiece

So I pulled out my super pretty spring tablecloth that we received as a wedding gift last year from our wonderful friend Katherine, ironed it, and got it onto our dining room table.  The tablecloth looks great, but needs a great centerpiece to go with it.  After some Pinterest searching nothing was really jumping out at me, and I decided against any of the centerpieces using jelly beans, peeps, or any other kind of bug attracting edible.  I went to the DollarTree to see if I could find any inspiration.  I found three packs of these egg ornament type things left and snatched them up.


I also brought one of the matching napkins to the tablecloth so I could pick which items matched best.  I picked up so Easter grass while I was here too, they had the flat paper kind that looks so good so some pink grass went in the cart too.  For the glass cylinder, I picked a tall circle shape, it was the tallest and widest they had.


Before I started layering in the grass and eggs, I cut the foam insert that will be what the flowers go into so it would fit into my vase.  I also painted it white so it blended with the eggs better.


I also had to pull all the ribbons off the styrofoam eggs. If I pulled gently and slowly the ribbon would pop out and the whole wasn't too noticeable.  


Next, I had to clip all the flowers from the thick stems.  I used wire cutters we had in a tool set and they worked great.


Finally, I started layering the grass and eggs around the foam insert.  I used the end of a paintbrush to push the grass in the tight spots.  Once all of the grass and eggs were in, I arranged the flowers by sticking them into the insert.  I used the extra grass and eggs around the base and voila, it was finished.  In all, this project cost around $10 to make! So much cheaper than any of the centerpieces and decorations I looked at buying. Hope you enjoy! Happy Easter everyone!



Monday, January 20, 2014

Couponing 101

Couponing 101

Its official! Ben and I have been couponing for two years now! I know lots of you have seen the crazy couponing show, and thought how much work it looks like they put into it.  I am here to tell you it can be done with very little work and lots of rewards.  We also do couponing for two people so we do it on a much smaller and more reasonable level than the families on TV.  To celebrate our couponing anniversary I thought I would do a post on how we do it.  We have found this is the best way for us to do it, but there are tons of ways people do it.

Our coupon supplies:
Three ring binder
Plastic sheet protectors (8.5x11inches)
Letter size envelopes
Paper clips or bobby pins
Two Sunday Papers each week


Every Sunday we buy two Sunday papers, this is always the first step.  We cut the coupons and make piles, we have ours in different categories based on roughly where they are in the store.  You can do this based on the store you shop most, for us we base it on our local Harris Teeter.  When cutting coupons, some people use photo cutters like you can get in a scrapbooking section and some use plain old scissors.  We are only cutting a few inserts so we use scissors.  Ben likes to stack the two sets and cut the two together, I prefer to cut them individually.


Once they are all cut, we sort them into sections.  For example, all shampoo and conditioner goes in a stack, razors in another, deodorant in one, and dental products in another.  We go through the coupons already in our binder and pull out all the expired coupons.  Some places have programs where you can donate coupons to military families overseas.  Military families in other countries can use coupons up to 6 months past the expiration date at base commissaries.  If there's no program like this, we toss them in our paper recycling.


We then paper clip the individual stacks to the existing stacks in our binder.  If you run out of paper clips, we have found bobby pins will do in a bind. 

After everything is paper clipped it goes into the correct envelope, we have envelopes by section of the store, so they are labeled with men's products and women's, cereal/bars, frozen, dairy, baking, etc. The envelopes then go into plastic sheet protectors based on the larger section of the store they are in.  These categories include Snacks, Dry/canned goods, cold, hygiene, cleaning, etc. 

Before I go to the store, I like to print our the Evic coupons, evic specials, and any good printable coupons.  Also, make sure you know your store's coupon policy as this changes in each store.  I have several sites I like to visit before that usually have lists of the best deals at each store each week.  Two of my favorites include http://thekrazycouponlady.com/ and http://www.mycouponteacher.com/.  Both of these websites are great sources, especially if you are just starting out.


When we go into the store, we know during Super Double time at Harris Teeter we can do twenty coupons a day doubled per VIC card so we are constantly counting the coupons we are planning on using.  Once we pull an item off the shelf and decide we are going to use a coupon, we slide the coupons in the back pocket of the binder.  When looking for deals, on a regular day, coupons .99 cents and under will double unless they say do not double.  During Super Double at Harris Teeter, coupons $2.00 and under will double.  Also, if there is a BOGO or Buy One Get One deal, you can use a coupon on each of the items or buy just one and it rings at half price.  During Triple Coupon time, coupons .99 cents and under will triple.  We follow these basic principles and go aisle by aisle looking through all of the coupons for deals.  With our envelope system, I can hand Ben an envelope and he can take it and do another section of the store to get the work done faster.  At checkout, I like to swipe our VIC card after everything has been rung up so I can write the total before everything.  I then swipe the VIC card, write the new total, hand them the coupons, then write down the total at the end.

Some of our best trips, we got our purchases down to where we spent roughly 15 percent of our total.  On average we do anywhere from 15-33 percent of what our total would have been. Thats a ton of savings! You can see some pictures below of what we have gotten with coupons.  Hope this helps, feel free to ask any questions or give any tips, thanks!






Eclipse and Space Themed Sensory Bottle

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