Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas clearance update

Happy New Year's Eve! Have any of you found some awesome holiday clearance deals? If so, please let me know! Here are the discounts as of today. Take these with a grain of salt because they can vary from store to store.

Hobby Lobby - 80%
CVS - 75%
Target - 70% (may go to 90% January 3 or 4)
Kmart - 50%
Walmart - 50%
Walgreens - 50%
Dollar General - 50%
Lowes - 75%
Michaels - 70-80% (but really picked over)
Shopko - 70%
Kohl's - discount varies

Tomorrow Dillard's has their biggest sale of the year. You can shop in store starting at 10 a.m. or online at 12 a.m. (So after you ring in the New Year hop online and score some deals. Just make sure you haven't drank too much champagne... shopping and booze = never a good idea! Or is it?) The discount should be an additional 50% off sale items (pink tags). Holiday is usually 75% off.

Enjoy the rest of 2013!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Bath & Body Works haul

Bath & Body Works started their semi-annual sale today. Now is the time to stock up! Do you have any coupons that expired on December 24? If so, you can use them up to three days after they expire so head in tomorrow if you haven't already. If you don't have any coupons handy, print a $10 off $40 one here.

Below is what I purchased and how much it cost me.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

After Christmas sales

I said I wouldn't be back until after the new year, but I just couldn't stay away! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! Can't believe it's over already. It always goes so fast :(

My little assistant.
This year the after Christmas deals are expected to be huge! Retailers had a lackluster season so expect good deals now. Some sales even started online today (Kohls, Target, and Amazon).

As you all know, I usually wait to do the bulk of my after holiday shopping until it's 90% off. I don't expect 90% off until sometime after New Years Day. I do plan to hit up Michaels, Bath & Body Works, and Hancock Fabric tomorrow. Here are some of the sales:

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas break... projects galore!

Today is my last day at work until January 6. Hallelujah! Bring on the two weeks vacation!

So what will I be doing on my days off (besides eating and drinking too much)? You guessed it - projects. Lots and lots of projects. I've been at Lowes and Menards constantly making sure I have all of my materials.

Since I'll be so busy making messes, I won't be blogging. I'll be back on January 6 to show you my hard work. Here is what I hope to accomplish:

Homemade edible gift

How cute are these little guys? Okay, okay. I did not make them. I'm a terrible cook, but how hard could homemade granola be? I bought these at HyVee for $4.99 each. Something a bit healthier than the usual sugary fare this time of year. We're putting them in gift baskets that will also have wine, cheeses, gift cards, etc.

If you want to make your own all you need is a ball jar, festive fabric, raffia or ribbon, and craft paper for the to/from card. Oh and candy canes if you wish! Here are some recipes for homemade granola:

Food Network
Joy of Baking
Elizabeth Rider
Amateur Gourmet

I have not tried these recipes, but they look promising. Do any of you make similar homemade gifts?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Free Friday recap

Free Friday was on December 6 and I just realized I never posted about my findings! I didn't find much this time... maybe that's why I spaced it. I did manage to bring a few useful things home though. Check them out below.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Free 8x10 at Walgreens through 12/22

Use code TODAY8x10 at checkout. If you pick it up in the store this will cost you nothing. Great gift idea for those still trying to conquer their Christmas lists! This is good through December 22, 2013.

DIY barnwood shelf

We have a long boring hall off the kitchen that leads to the laundry room, office, and garage. I hung some pictures along one wall, but it just looked blah. And now I've taken them down. And now I'll need to patch and repaint. One step forward and two steps back!

I thought a long hall table might look nice... something I could set frames, candles, and plants on.  I didn't want anything too wide since we need room to walk.

My father-in-law has a bunch of old barn wood and my husband and him were able to build what I wanted. The great thing about DIY is you can make it to fit your space. I wanted it to be four feet long and no wider than ten inches.

Here is how it turned out:

Obviously it isn't a table. We decided a shelf would be best. My temperamental cat likes to knock things over. A long skinny table seemed risky!

Here is the write-up from my husband:

Free shipping day!

If you haven't finished your Christmas shopping, now is a good time to do it. Today, December 18, is free shipping day. Almost 1,000 stores are participating. Check out the list of stores and find the free shipping codes at Free Shipping Day.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Adult Christmas craft

We went to a Christmas party last Friday evening and there were some neat decorations. I thought this wine bar project looked cute and easy. There are 24 slots for wine bottles so you simply take gift tags and write a number on each one. The numbers represent the days in December leading up to Christmas (like a calendar).

Bonus points if you're able to drink each bottle on their respective day. Just kidding. Don't do that. You might not make it until Christmas!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Save money on haircuts

UPDATE: I've now been purchasing Living Social and Groupon deals for hair coloring and cuts at salons. Sometimes these deal sites have codes for an extra % off so it's actually cheaper than College of Hair Design! Plus, the stylist is more experienced and it doesn't take near as long. 

I get my hair cut and colored at the College of Hair Design in Lincoln, NE. I go to both the downtown and south locations. It saves me major $$$! There are hair schools all over so anyone should be able to take advantage of this.

My husband and I went in last week and both got haircuts. We had a two cuts for $10 coupon (so $5 each). Now if you're nervous about a student cutting your hair, don't be. The instructors are there and check periodically to make sure the student is doing it right.

I get a trim every couple of months... sometimes with a reconstructor which really strengthens the hair. I color my hair only a couple times a year. If I get just highlights and a cut, it's usually under $30. If I get highlights and lowlights, the total is closer to $60. A reconstructor is $10. Kids can get $5 cuts every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (no coupon needed).

Since I can't pass for a kid, I always bring a coupon. You can print your own here. I was paying $100+  at the salon before switching over several years ago.

To ease your mind, here are some pics of my cut:

Friday, December 13, 2013

Befriend an alcohol sales rep

It's Friday and I have one thing on my mind - alcohol.

We get a lot of free booze. It's wonderful. Occasionally my husband and I will have a glass of wine in the evenings, but we mostly save the alcohol for entertaining.

We get it free because a good friend and family member of ours is an alcohol rep. He hosted an event a while back and these were all the extra unopened bottles that he took home. He invited us over and we were able to have our pick. Hot dog! You know I love free stuff!

This is what we took home:

Befriending an alcohol rep might sound easier said than done. So in the meantime, stop by my house and help me drink all of this! Tis the season to be merry!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Animal stories always get me

I'm switching gears today. Someone shared this on Facebook and it just made my day. Animals are the best... and humans who love and care for animals are even better! Check out this heart warming story about an orphan baby squirrel taken in by humans and their pet dogs.

Here is the link: He Was Found Freezing and Dying. Yet Somehow The Last Photo Made My Entire Year. 

Most days I'd rather hang out with animals than humans. Anyone else feel that way? I swear I'm not antisocial! I just love how animals love unconditionally. My favorite part of everyday is getting home to my pets!

Think we have enough pillows?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Scrounging up greenery and pine cones

The great thing about Christmas is that we can use items in nature to decorate! Best of all... free! I bet a lot of you have pine cones and branches in your backyard so grab a basket and a saw. With a little imagination, I'm sure you can find many uses for them.

My mother-in-law put greenery, pine cones, and red bulbs in a wood crate. Cute!

I put mine in a basket by my front door with a Hope sign. I used burlap underneath.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tomato cage Christmas tree

My mother-in-law has this cute Christmas tree in her entryway. At first glance, I never would have guessed she made it out of a tomato cage! I've seen people wrap only lights around tomato cages and put them outdoors, but I had not seen this done before.

It looks fairly simple. Flip the cage so the bottom is now the top. Tie the four top stakes together (I think a couple thick rubber bands would work). Then decorate!

She used burlap ribbon, garland, mesh ribbon, beads, lights, and ornaments. I'm sure you could keep wrapping the garland and ribbon to the bottom if you don't like the cage showing. Have some long twist ties on hand in case you need to secure the garland, etc.

Here are some other ways people have decorated their tomato cages:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas printables

If you missed my post on using free printables, check it out here. Hop on pinterest or google and search for "free Christmas printables" or "free holiday printables". All you need is some cardstock, a color printer, and a cute frame!

I had this frame lying around my office and am glad I finally found a use for it! The printable is from the 4 My Kiddos blog. There are different colors of it if gold isn't your thing. There are also a ton of other cute designs!

This Rudolph printable is from Fox Hollow Cottage.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Displaying Christmas cards

There is something so exciting about opening the mailbox and getting Christmas cards throughout December! It's a nice change from the usual bills and spam. Normally I hang our cards on the fridge, but this year I decided to switch it up.

Remember how I picked up a ton of free shutters from EcoStore? Their Free Friday is TODAY by the way! I've done other projects with the shutters (see here and here), but still have a few leftover.

Why not hang Christmas cards on them?

Free Friday! Free Friday!

If you live in or near Lincoln, NE you might want to stop by Free Friday at EcoStore this morning. If you're wondering what the heck that is, check my recap from the last time I went. Technically you have until 6 p.m., but it'll get more and more picked over as the day goes on.

Keep an open mind, use your imagination, and good luck :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Free outdoor Christmas trees

I have big planters all around my house which normally have spring flowers, hostas, or mums in them. Since those plants had died off, it was time to put something festive in the planters!

Since Christmas items aren't discounted majorly right now, I didn't want to spend money on fake trees. Luckily, we are surrounded by farm ground and wild trees that grow in ditches and fields. I know a lot of my readers are too! At Christmas time, my mom used to walk down to the crick with her siblings and chop down a tree when they were young so this is nothing new, but most people buy artificial or head to a tree farm nowadays.

My husband was nice enough to chop down two trees from my grandpa's land for the planters in front of our garage.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I'm back! Savannah Recap

Good morning! Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving! I flew home from Savannah yesterday and am trying to get back in the swing of things. If you haven't been to Savannah, GO! Go now. I LOVED it. We had such a nice trip and thanks to their strong appreciation for the military, we were able to save a lot of money. I couldn't believe how many places offered military discounts (and big discounts at that)! Southern hospitality at its finest. Today's post will be about my trip since I haven't had time to do projects lately. Hopefully you don't mind! I promise to start back up with projects tomorrow.