Decorating with one of a kind pieces: Consignment shopping

If you are anything like me you are always on the hunt for one of kind pieces that will help add a unique touch to a space! I love that my home is filled with vintage charm and fun bright pieces I have picked up over the years. My Vintage Bowling pins, a painted shoe cabinet in my entry, my old teal bank drawers…each piece always seems to find a place in my home and into my heart! My entire home is an eclectic mix of pieces I’ve either refinished myself or found at favorite consignment shops.

A new darling shop recently opened up near my house! It pretty much makes living where I live perfect! I’m right by my favorite dessert cafe, my favorite fabric store and now Forget Me Not Boutique! This adorable new store is  filled with beautiful painted furniture, antique charmers and fun accessories! I picked up this antique tablecloth last week…

Isn’t it beautiful! There was a stack of table clothes to sift through but this blue beauty grabbed me and I had to bring her home!

Check out the other fun finds waiting to be adopted…

 

Check out that China set! Tea Party anyone?

Loved this blue cabinet! It’s a bold punch of color that would add a fun feel to any space! Those vintage school chairs are perfect for any playroom!

 

Consignment shopping can be intimidating! It can be a little overwhelming to walk into a shop brimming with possibilities. I’ve discovered a few tricks when it comes to shopping at places like Forget Me Not and other consignment home stores.

- Go with something in mind. It’s hard to see through all the beautiful colors and displays but if I go in looking for a DRESSER it helps me narrow in on looking for a dresser! Everything is a bonus! If I find the perfect dresser AND a cool new lamp them I win big time that trip!

- Take two walk throughs. I always walk a store twice! The first walk through is where I take it all in, get a good idea of what’s there and see if anything jumps out at me. On my second walk through I always look a little deeper. I look high and low and revisit an item that might have caught my attention. If I still love it and linger then I know it’s worth considering.

- Chances are if you fall in love with something at a consignment store you better get it! These are one of kind finds. If you pass up that vintage table cloth you’ve always wanted thinking you’ll find it again, the reality is you might not! This is good and bad! The good news is because it is so rare not everyone will have it but you! Bad news…if you pas it up you might not find it again!

- Get to know the owners! Strike up a conversation! Tell them what you’re looking for! Often times stores like this have a wish list. They too are on the hunt for things they know their customers will love and if they know you are looking for a vintage globe or wing back chair they too will put it on their radar and hopefully help you find it.

- Visit often. Inventory at consignment stores are changing all the time, daily even in some cases. Take advantage of an ever changing selection of finds. You might even find something you didn’t even know you were looking for!

 

Consignment shopping is my absolute favorite kind of shopping! I have found some of my favorite home decor items in shops just like Forget Me Not! These pieces add personality and charm to a room that no big box store could replicate! Jump into the consignment world and see what your local shops have to offer and if you live in the Salt Lake Valley area be sure to check out Forget me Not Boutique located at 9200 S Redwood Road, West Jordan, UT 84088 They are open Thursday, Friday 11-7pm and Saturday 11-6pm.

 

 

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Cupids night in

This year I am all about creating more family memories and planning fun meals together is a big part of that goal! For Valentines dinner this year I’m creating a beautiful night in with my husband and girls! This table setting sets the scene for a night of amazing food, fun activities and together time! This is just a sneak peek at what I’ll be doing but I wanted to share a little preview…

Apothecary jars make great center pieces and can be filled with anything to fit a season or theme. I filled my two jars with affordable treats, pink marshmallows and red hots!

The dinner table isn’t the only thing that gets dressed up! I hung hearts, tissue paper balls and pin wheels on the walls to make the entire dining room ready for the night!

My everyday simple white dishware looks almost fancy set up on top of layered paper place mats and white doilies both found at a local party supply store. No plastic kid plates or cups here! Make the night special and set the table with “fancy” glass ware and grown up place settings!

I created these easy love letter hanging mailboxes to hang on the back of each chair! Our activity for the night will be to write each other “love notes” and deliver them to each family member.

This night is one of many fun filled theme dinners I’ll be experiencing with my family this year! Stay tuned for more! Steph for Somewhat Simple and I have an ebook coming your way that is filled with themed dinner ideas for you and your family! Menus, activities, decor and more! Each night planned out with memory making in mind! More to come!

 

 

 

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It’s tax season! YIKES!

Anyone freaking out about Tax season? Ugg I hate it! 1099′s, receipts, deductions! It’s enough to stress a girl out! I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has no clue when it comes to taxes and as a blogger who makes an income it makes it a little more tricky then normal!

There are a million questions out there when it comes to filing personal and business taxes. What qualifies as a deduction? What do I do with a 1099? How do I file? Thankfully I have a good friend here to answer and help out with all your tax questions and needs!

Innovative tax Solutions is here to help! Instead of stressing out why not let a professional handle this years taxes. Randy Homer and his team specialize in personal and small business taxes. If you are a blogger or etsy shop owner filing taxes for the first time I bet you have a ton of questions!

Innovative Tax Solutions is offering a special deal for Blue Cricket Design readers who want a little help this year. They are offering a flat rate of $150 or less to file personal taxes! They can file in any state! This is quite a saving! Typical professional filing runs about $300 so why not keep more of your hard earned money in your pocket and let the professionals stress out about your taxes this year!

Get in touch with Innovative Tax Solutions today at 801.935.1715 or in person at their office at 9400 S. Redwood Rd, West Jordan, UT.

 

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“Kids in Training” ebook

I am so excited to announce that my first e-book, “Kids in Training,” is finally ready for your viewing pleasure!

If you’ve followed my blog over the years you’ll remember me stepping away from blogging full time last May. That much needed break came at a time in my life when I desperately needed to slow down and refocus. It took walking away from something I loved in order to be still long enough to know what I needed to do next. These last 8 months have lead to a lot of wonderful things, the biggest being a renewed love and appreciation for my family and my responsibility as a mother.

It was during all this new free time that I was reminded about the joys of being a full time mom. It also put into perspective the moments I might be missing out on to teach my kids important lessons. Born out of this realization came the idea for this book. I asked myself “What are the things I want my kids to know how to do, and do well, once they leave my home? How can I help them learn?” My time as a mom of young kids could be more then car pool and bed time kisses. I felt an urgency to be teaching them more! I wanted to maximize my influence and take advantage of their young teachable spirits as best I could and yes, still kiss them good night knowing we all did our best that day!

I focused in on 10 “Training Lessons” that were things I wanted them to understand. I put into action new routines, new responsibilities and new opportunities for growth and amazingly enough I am seeing great things happening not only in my kids but in our whole family!

These were the topics that came to me as I made my list of what I needed to be working on with my family…

In the book I dive into each topic and share a few war stories, talk about ideas and activities that are working in my home and hopefully inspire you to create new ideas to implement into your own family. I share what is working, where I have failed miserably and how gaining a grasp on these concepts will help prepare our little ones to be productive, responsible and grateful kids!

It’s been an adventure as I’ve discovered the potential myself and my kids have had all along! These life lessons are helping us develop skills and a lifestyle that promotes family unity, team work and productivity. I hope and pray that you too can see the benefits of teaching kids at a young age the important skills that will help them join the real world prepared.

This e-book is being sold as a downloadable PDF and will be emailed to you once your order is complete. It is 52 pages long and can be bought by following the link below! Check out is via Paypal. A million thanks to all of you for your support!

Click below to order your copy of “Kids in Training” for $7.95

Add to Cart

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HomeRight Steam Machine giveaway and review

I was given the chance to tryout and review the HomeRight Steam Machine and man am I glad I did! I have always wanted a steamer for deep cleaning but never knew which product to invest in. I’m not one to drop money on something and just cross my fingers that it works well so to have a chance to try one out was just what I needed!

This little baby is a power packed deep cleaning machine! I put it to the test and tackled my bathroom. We have Super hard water! I’ve tried convincing my husband to get a water softener but to no avail so that means I get to deal with horrible hard water stains, calcium build up and hard scrubbing! Check out some of these before and afters…

Check out that result! That nasty calcium buildup on my faucet has taunted me for years! No cleaning product before has been able to touch it and with metal finishes I have been too worried to use super harsh products for fear it would really damage the hardware. The Steam Machine and a little elbow grease it put the buildup to bed!

The track on my shower door always attracts its fair share of yuck! Because it stays wet the longest I think it’s just the perfect storm for buildup and grime. The Steam Machine took care of that.

I’ve only found 1 cleaning product that can cut through the hard water spots in my shower but it’s pricy and the fumes are hard to handle especially while pregnant. Check out how great the Steam Machine cut through the hard water spots! This is probably my favorite results!

All in all I have loved the results I am seeing! Here are my Pro’s and Con’s on this product.

Pro’s

-Love how long the power cord and hoes is. I can reach high and low with out having to move the canister.

- Has lots of attachments for different cleaning needs. LOVE the metal scrubber attachment.

- Eliminates the need for harsh chemicals.

- Has a large water capacity so you don’t need to refill right away.

- Heats up fast, about 8 minutes.

- Totally cleaned things I haven’t been able to clean with traditional techniques.

Con’s

- I cleaned for a long time (Yep! I was excited!) and when my water ran out I wanted to refill it and keep going but you have to wait for the system to cool before it will allow you to open the water cap. This is a safety feature so I can appreciate that but I did have to stop cleaning.

- The handle that you hold can get uncomfortable after a while. Maybe it was my HORRIBLE hard water that made me really have to work at that contributed to the discomfort but I did notice a sour hand afterwords.

I’ve never used a steamer before so I will admit that I totally thought a steam cleaner would melt away any and all dirt with the wave of a wand. In reality you still have to scrub and wipe down and steam an area more then once. Still well worth it!

My toilet has never looked better! It really got into the tiny cracks and crevasses that are on the sides that are so hard to reach. The photo above is from their website! My toilet is wedged in between my shower and a wall so I couldn’t get a great picture but man alive it looks brand new!

The Steam Machine comes with a variety of attachment. Attachments for steaming a floor, scrubbing an oven, bristle brushes and even an attachment to help remove wall paper! It has everything you need for any job you can think of. The instructions are easy to follow and it only takes a few minutes to get it ready to use for the first time.

I feel very comfortable recommending this product. I have been impressed with it’s quality and capability. I have a laundry list of jobs I am excited to use it for and will be recommending it to my friends.

HomeRight wants to give one lucky reader their very own Steam Machine! Hip, hip hooray!

Enter to win below in the raffle copter widget! Winner will announced Jan. 28th on the Blue Cricket Design Facebook page and prize must be claimed within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen.

I was not paid for this review.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Love letter hanging mailboxes

Love is in the air! If you are looking for a super simple way to collect those endless love notes you expect to get for Valentines why not create these hanging mail boxes! Simple supplies and 5 minutes is all it takes! Shall we get started!

For this project you’ll need large mailing envelopes and decorative paper. This beautiful paper is actually wrapping paper! Cut your paper slightly smaller then the envelope.

Use a glue stick to glue on your paper and embellish with cute Valentines decor. I found a pack of glittery hearts at my local dollar store and used a hot glue gun to attach them.

Fold back the flap that seals the envelope and use a hole punch to make two holes at the top of your envelope. String a ribbon for hanging.

These sweet little guys are perfect for a family Valentines party, school party or to hang at your desk! They were the perfect finishing touch to the “Cupids Night In” dinner I created for my family! More details on this fun dinner to come! My sister-in-law Stephanie, from Somewhat Simple, and I are creating a fun e-book filled with family dinner ideas you won’t want to miss! This is your first sneak peek! I know…I’m such a tease!

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Grocery shopping and saving money

This year I am really going to try to cut down on our grocery bill. I was noticing our spending creeping (too many visits to Costco and the Holidays will do that to ya!) and I’m anxious to get it back on track. In the past our family of 5 was spending on average about $400-450 a month with occasional purchases to help stock our food storage. We have a really great stock pile of reserve food that we eat from as well so that also contributes to our weekly menus. I love a good challenge so the thought of cutting our costs and cutting down on the unnecessary spending is exciting to me! I started it at the new year and hope to keep it up all year long. My goal is to cut $100-$150 off our monthly total. That’s a nice chunk of change at the end of the year! I’m saving receipts and keeping track all year long.

My latest trip to the grocery store helped me get supplies for the next two weeks. In addition to these items, please remember that I’ll be using items from our food storage, and other frozen meat that I already have on hand. I was getting some skepticism on facebook when I shared a preview photo of my haul but I’ll show you all how this works for my family and explain more as I go.

Total cost: $105.53

In addition to this meat, I already have about 10 lbs. of frozen chicken breasts I buy at Costco along with frozen chicken drumsticks, frozen sausage and ground turkey.

2 lbs. Beef Round Steak $6.43

2 Pork Roasts $6.66

Ground Beef $6.78

Included in this haul are frozen meals my husband will take to work  for lunch. He takes about two frozen meals a week and I stock up when they are on sale or if we are running low.

2 Marie Calendars meals:4.78

2 Zataraines meals: $4.95

6 Rice bowls: 12.97

This is part of our breakfast. In addition we also eat cereal, toast and eggs.

2 packs mini bagels $2.96

Blueberry bagels $1.48

8 count Yoplait yogurt:$3.78

We eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies. I only like to buy these as needed so I will go get more apples and other produce before the two weeks are up but I hate to over buy and let it go to waste. I estimate I’ll spend about another $10 for apples, lettuce and broccoli down the road IF I need them!

1 package strawberries $1.48

1 Pomegranate $1.48

2 onions $1.06

Cantalope $1.94

3lbs. Apples $3.12

Mini Sweet Bell Peppers $3.98

Yellow Bell Pepper .48

1lb. Baby Carrots $1.28

5 lbs. Gold Potatoes $2.68

3 ct. Romaine Lettuce $1.98

I do like buying frozen veggies. They are easy to keep from perishing and are great to have on hand. I will stock up on these items if I notice them on sale. This week was a light buy…

Broccoli $1.48

Sweet Corn $1.12

Green Beans $2.48

This is a rare occurrence. We don’t typically buy a lot of processed snack foods but once in a while I’ll grab a few boxes of crackers and really monitor how often I give them to my kids. And the pudding is for me! It’s my latest pregnancy craving so don’t judge! This food is kept up high and only I can distribute it, it’s not free range!

3 boxes Cheese crackers $4.50

2 boxes Snack Cracker packs $3.36

4 boxes Mac ‘n Cheese $2.72

Saltines $1.08

2 pack Snack Packs $1.56

Here are our essentials, things I buy regularly. I was getting a lot of “Only 1 gallon of milk for 2 weeks!” comments on FB when I first shared my sneak preview photo. If you follow me on FB you’d also remember that I have a huge milk phobia! I won’t drink it if it’s not fresh so I don’t make a habit of buying milk in bulk if I can help it. I will for sure pick up a gallon as needed but I MUCH prefer buying fresh, so yes! We drink more then 1 gallon every two weeks!

Milk $2.46

Eggs $1.16

Flour Tortillas $.98

Butter$2.38

Sour Cream $1.28

Cream Cheese $.98

2 packs Lunch Meat $3.96

2 loaves Whole Wheat Bread $2.76

Chow Main noodles $.98

4lbs. Jasmine Rice $3.86

I didn’t use any coupons for this purchase except one voucher that was sent to me in the mail by the grocery store for $10 off your total bill. I might start using coupons but in the past I’ve seen that when I use coupons I tend to buy things I wouldn’t have normally bought and a lot of it is for processed foods. I did make a special trip to this grocery store because of the $10 coupon. I noticed a big difference in the cost so I think I’ll take the extra 10 min. to drive there and shop at WinCo more often.

Total cost for this haul $105.53

Here is a list of meals I’ll be making with all these groceries for the next two weeks

Chicken Wraps

Waffles with fresh Strawberries

Porcupine Meatballs with Green Beans

Pork Roast with carrots and potatoes

Hawaiian Haystacks

Pulled pork Salad

Chicken Divan

Breakfast Sandwiches

Fajitas and rice

Glazed Chicken, rice and corn

Mexican Skillet

Potato and Corn Chowder

For lunches I pack the girls

Sandwiches, apple slices, carrots, almonds, crackers, turkey roll ups, bell peppers

And at home my youngest and I will eat for lunch

left overs, sandwiches, soup, veggies, roll ups, mac n cheese

Like I said before, I do expect to run out of milk and produce at some point during these two weeks. I have estimated about needing to spend about $20 more for restocking those fresh items. I also mentioned that we have food storage. About 4 times a year we’ll stock up our food storage and buy items we use regularly. Things like cream of mushroom soup, canned veggies, soups, pasta, peanut butter, cereals, beans and canned diced tomatoes, etc. In Jan. we spend $136.13 on case lot sale items to fill our food storage. This is a great way save throughout the year.

Tips that are helping us save on our monthly grocery bill

  • Make a menu! Meal planning helps you narrow in on what you need and makes it more likely that you won’t be buying things you don’t.
  • Some meats can pull double duty and will cost less if you buy larger portions. Pork roasts can be cut in half and used for a roast and pulled pork for a second meal.
  • Avoid or reevaluate your shopping at large warehouse stores. Sam’s Club and Costco are great but this is where I noticed my spending getting out of hand. Everything looks so good! I wanted it all. We jokingly call Costco “The $100 store!” cause you can’t get out of there for less then $100! Now I only try to buy the following things at Costco and limit it to stocking up on Frozen Chicken,  Whole Wheat Bread, Vitamins, toilet paper and canned chicken and some produce the I have noticed is cheaper there then at the grocery store.
  • Loading up a few times a year on things you know you use will help cut back on cost. When I shop case lot sales I can get items up to 50% off. We use these items throughout the year so they are rotated regularly and won’t go to waste.
  • After you make a shopping list for the week/month, shop your pantry. You might be surprised and already have a lot of what you need.
  • Food that goes to waste is a waste of money! Only buy what your family can eat before it goes bad. This might mean having to make a run for fresh milk and produce.
  • We save a lot of money by not buying things like cookies, soda, chips and ice cream. Occasionally we’ll treat ourselves but those sorts of things don’t make it on the list very often and subsequently save us a lot of money.

 

So that’s my plan! I’m looking forward to seeing how we do. Do you guys have any great money saving shopping tricks? Who uses coupons? Tell me where you cut corners and help stay on a budget! I’d love to hear how you manage your families grocery bill.

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Vintage trailer hunt!

I NEEEEEEEEED one of these little cuties…

I’m on the hunt for an old, beat up, vintage trailer that I can fix up and turn into a cute play house for my little ladies! Would that not be the funnest thing EVER! I’ve always wanted a really cool play house for my girls to have in the back yard but the size I want always runs WAY to pricy! I started looking on online classifieds for an old camper that I can work some DIY magic on. I’m just waiting for the right one to show up so I can snag it up, park it in my back yard and get to work!

If you know of any small trailer for sale that has potential in the Salt Lake City area PLEASE let me know! I need one without a bathroom and needs more work on the inside then the outside. I can reupholster but my patching a fiberglass roof skills seem a bit out of my skill set! The cheaper the better!

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