3 Tips To Keep You On-Budget With Family Holiday Cards

Family-Holiday-Cards
It’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays, but before you start to stress about all the gifts you still have to purchase or what you still need to make, decorate, attend, and so on, I thought I’d share a few tips that may help you stay within budget when it comes to family holiday cards.

1. Create A Budget

First things first, decide on a budget. Be honest with yourself and consult you’re pocketbook.

2. Create A List

Creating a list with the names of all your friends and family members you plan on sending a holiday card to will help determine how much you can spend per card and again, help you stay within your budget.

3. Get Creative!

A) Hiring a professional photographer is the way to go but if you’re on a tight budget this holiday season, paying for a photographer fee may not be feasible. Instead, ask a friend to take photos of your family and in turn you take photos of theirs. Just be sure to agree on the date, time and location. Having additional adults on hand is always a plus – helps keep multiple eyes on all the kiddos while the photo shoot is in progress. This year, I asked my sister to take our family holiday photos. No fancy expensive cameras used. Simply a couple iphones and a tree farm as our backdrop. “Auntie Buddy,” as Mia calls my sister, did a fantastic job. We love all the photos she took. 😉

B) Use editing sites to edit your own photos. My go to editing site is PicMonkey.com. It’s free and offers endless options including a design section in which you can create your very own family holiday card.

c) Lastly, depending on your budget and total number of cards needed, here are a few inexpensive ideas on how to create and print your holiday cards.

1. ¢0.33- ¢0.69/card: Friend/family photo taker + free editing site + Costco Photo Center. Costco offers a set of 50 6×7 1/2 cards for $14.99 or $17.25 for a set of 25 premium stationary cards. Note: The Costco Photo Center gives you the option to print your very own design or choose from a wide selection of Costco templates.

Costco-Photo

2. Less than $1/ card: Family/Friend photo taker + free editing site + your printer. If you already have a photo printer at home, use it! Depending on what type of paper you prefer, you can easily print your very own holiday card for under $1 each. Note: Staples.com sells a pack of 10 photo card sheets for $8.99 or a pack of 50 5×7 photo sheets for $17.99.

3. $1-2 /card budget: Friend/family photo taker + free editing site + custom card site. Sites such as Tinyprints.com or Paperculture.com offer discounts right around this time of year. Tinyprints.com is currently offering 40% off + free shipping until 12/9/14. Note: Although there are many custom card sites to choose from, I’m simply mentioning a couple of my favorite that happen to have a sale going on today. Hint, Hint.;)

Family-Holiday-Cards

Cheers to creating the perfect holiday card all while sticking to your budget!

— Gladys

 

Frozen Party Game

Frozen Party Games

Frozen Party Games

 

Although kid parties are essentially planned with kids in mind, I’ve always wondered why most gatherings tend to leave the parents out of all the fun. I’m not talking about the petting zoo or the occasional face painting per say. I’m talking about the birthday party games. Why not have the parents get involved and party it up (i.e. all booze aside)?

You see, a couple of weeks ago, a friend of ours had a Frozen themed birthday party for her daughter. She mentioned she would like me to bounce some ideas her way for the party. So I suggested to play the “Do you wanna build a snowman game”. She gladly agreed and off I went with my toddler to create the items needed for this fun inexpensive birthday party game.

Object Of The Game:

Parent(s) to build a snowman using their own child/children, toilet paper, three black buttons and a carrot.

Winner:

The birthday boy/girl gets to judge and picks his/her favorite snowman. Winner gets a fun prize!

Frozen Party Games

Frozen Party Games

Frozen Party Games

Frozen Party Games

Frozen Party Games

Frozen Party GamesItems Needed:

  • Toilet Paper: Purchase inexpensive rolls at your local dollar store
  • Black & White Poster Board: Less than $1 at most craft stores
  • Martha Stewart Circle Cutter: Craft store or Amazon.com $11.99
  • Orange Paint & Paint Brush: Purchase at dollar store
  • Sharpie
  • Scissors
  • ZOTS Clear Adhesive Dots: Craft Store $3 for 300 dots w/ coupon

Directions: Using the black poster board and Martha Stewart Circular Paper Cutter, cut small circles. Three circles per snowman. Using sharpie, draw carrots onto white poster board. Cut out carrots and have your little one paint them with orange paint. You can by pass this step using orange poster board but a toddler with paint is much more fun! Once paint is dry, add Dot glue to the back of the carrots leaving the paper on the outside so that the parents can just remove it and add the carrot to their child’s nose. Do the same for the black button cutouts. Note: I used individual envelopes to store 1 carrot and 3 buttons per snowman.Frozen Party Games

Also, although this game is perfect for any Frozen themed birthday party, it’s definitely great for holiday parties which are right around the corner. Such a fun way to get the parents involved!

Cheers to creating memories! –Gladys

Frozen Party Games

 

 

 

Halloween DIY: Bat Decor #HalloweenDIYDecorations

Halloween-DIY-Decorations-BatsWith Halloween being just around the corner, I wanted to share one last DIY you can make with your little ones. It’s tons of fun and easy to do… two of my favorite words. Because let’s face it, as moms we already have our hands full caring for our children and working on projects around the house that require too much of our time will most likely end up at the bottom of our to-do list!

Halloween-DIY-Decorations-Bats DIY Bat Garland

Items Needed:

– Black poster board: Found ours at our local Dollar Tree store

– Bat Template: I used Country Livings template. Click HERE to download it for FREE.

– Scissors

– Glue Dots/Tape: Purchased the glue dots at our local craft store

– Marker: Used a black sharpie but anything that can be seen against black poster board will work

– Black Yarn

– Hole Puncher

Halloween-DIY-Decorations-BatsDirections: Trace the bat template using a sharpie onto the black poster board. Make as many as you’d like. The more the longer your garland will be. Cut out the bats from the poster board. Tap center pieces together. Hole punch the tips of the wings, slide bats through yarn and hang up garland. Done and done!

Speaking of bats, would you believe me if I said this is the exact manzanita tree we used for our wedding centerpieces? Yes, this tree is somehow still being schlepped around in our family. It’s also a perfect centerpiece for any season! Hence, Halloween bats! 😉 Side note: I purchased multiple manzanita trees at the Los Angeles Flower Mart for $20 each. The glittery bats are from the 99 Cents Only store. They came in packs of five. Score!Halloween-DIY-Decorations-Bats

Cheers to inexpensive holiday decorations!

Posted in DIY

Show Your Family’s Disney Side

Raise your hand if you love all things Disney. If you raised your hand, boy oh boy are you in for a real treat!

A few days ago, I received a pretty neat email from Disney. It read something like this, “Hello Jimenez Family! Turn your family side into your Disney side! Showcase every character in your family with your very own FREE stick figure decal! It’s easy and fun to create. Just customize each family member with “Disneyized” accessories. Then share your creation instantly online or have it mailed to your home.” – Disney

#DisneySideYes, that’s a FREE decal sent right to your home! How cool is that?! So here’s a couple of our family Disney side stick figure decals I created. So much fun to make! They even have churros and turkey legs in the accessories section…Yumm!

#Disneyside

#DisneySide

Now go create your free decal HERE and tag me on your social media posts! I’d love to see everyone’s “Disneyized” accessories. 😉

Sharing is caring! – Gladys

DIY: Artificial Pumpkin Topiaries

October2014Hello October! I can’t believe you’ve made your way into our home already. Feels like just yesterday we were celebrating New Year’s Eve with the family. Seriously though, can someone hit the pause button? This year has literally flown by!

October is my favorite month. It calls for pumpkin lattes, pumpkin patches, hay rides, brisk air, Halloween parties and pumpkin spice everything! Ok, let me rephrase that, pretty much pumpkin everything. So with that said, I wanted to share with you all a super inexpensive DIY Artificial Pumpkin Topiary.

 

Pumpkin TopiaryItems needed:

  • 6 – $1 Orange foam pumpkins from the dollar store
  • 1 – $0.29  Dowel – purchased a 1/8 x 36 dowel at Joann’s. You can also find these at Home Depot for $0.29. Click here.
  • 2 – large candle holders – I already had these in my fireplace…use what you already have or check out your local thrift store for some thrifty candle holder deals.

artificial topiary

DIY TopiaryDirections:

Place foam pumpkin on table and insert the wood stick into the center of the pumpkin, from the top down.

DIY topiary - Pumpkin

Place a second pumpkin on top of the first pumpkin. Make sure the pumpkins line up with each other. Note, foam pumpkins are very fragile and can break apart. Be sure to insert the wood stick as gently as possible.

DIY topiary - Pumpkin

Lastly, insert the third pumpkin so that it lines up with the first and second pumpkin. Break off the remainder of the stick by gently using your index finger and thumb or use shears to cut through the stick. Place topiaries onto candle holders. Add one artificial pumpkin topiary onto each side of your fireplace and viola!

DIY topiary - Pumpkin

DIY topiary - Pumpkin

Pumpkin TopiariesBy the way, most of the items I used for our fireplace Halloween deco were under $1!Dollar Deals

Banner found at Target Dollar bins for $1. Glittery wood signs, large witch cauldron and black pumpkins found at our local dollar store. Score!

Dollar Deals

Cheers to pumpkin everything!

Posted in DIY

Halloween DIY: 3 Boo-tiful Blogs & Their Crafty Treats

This week, I’ve been working on a collaboration with two talented and awesome mommies on some fun Halloween DIYs. Gisella from Serendipity Events NYC and Marisa from Burlaps and Bananas. We’ll cover a quick tutorial on how to make a haunted house with the kiddos, a quick and easy way to spruce up your mantle as well as a super inexpensive way to boo-tify the entryway of your home using items you already have or new ones at little to no cost. So take a mommy break, sit back, kick off your shoes, grab a cup of joe and let your creative juices start flowing! Let’s create!

Entryway

EntrywayEasy way to Boo-tify Your Entryway/ Foyer

This year, I decided to stick with last year’s black and white Halloween decór for our entryway. As most of you know, I’m far too obsessed to let go of this color palette. Plus, I wanted this project to be thrifty because lets be honest, what’s the point of a DIY if it’s not cheaper to make, right? So I opted to use what I had at hand and just Halloween-ified it (I just made this word up… bear with me for a minute).

Ok- let me start by letting you in on a little secret. Shh! Don’t tell a soul. Pinky promise?! Most of the items you see in my entryway are either dollar store items, recycled or created through www.PicMonkey.com. Yes, Brace yourselves- PicMonkey! For those of you that don’t know what this is, it’s a free editing/design site! To see where and how I created each piece in my entryway, simply pair the item to its letter.

Entryway-DIY-Halloweena. These cute little framed designs are simply scrap booking paper from Michaels (Sale:7 sheets for $1) plus the critters are PicMonkey designs I printed, cut out and pasted onto the scrap booking paper. I also used the same exact frames I already had up on our wall.Halloween-DIYBe sure to use the ‘Design’ mode to work with a blank space. The picture below shows how you can add these critters onto your photos as well.

PicMonkeyb. What’s a halloween entryway without some spooky family photos? I used PicMonkey to edit our Christmas family photos from 2013 taken by the beautiful and talented LilyRo Photography. So much fun creating these! Plus, I printed these out in our home printer. Here’s the before and after.

PicMonkey Collage -Halloween

Photo Credit: LilyRo Photography

artwork-collage-picmonkey

 

c. You can create any type of design on PicMonkey.com. For our entryway, I decided to use our wedding canvas and place a Halloween canvas design over it. Use what you have! I simply covered the canvas using a large paper (to avoid getting any marks or glue on our beautiful canvas). I then placed my canvas artwork which I had printed out on canvas at Staples for $9.99 (Note: Or print on poster paper for less than $3) onto the canvas frame using small pieces of clear tape on each corner.

CoverUp

CanvasCover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

d. Spray painted an old bird cage in black and added a fake raven that I purchased at our local dollar store.

e. Old candle holders topped off with black pumpkins from our local dollar store.

f. – g. White pumpkins and Boo! banner from my 2013 halloween post! Click here to read post.

Here’s the before and after.

BeforeAfter

Haunted house DIY

“There is something so awesomely “spooky” about Halloween and all of the neat DIY and crafting that comes along with it.  I have created a Haunted House that’s simple and thrifty, not to mention, a fun project for you AND your kiddos to create.  Come on over to www.burlapandbananas.blogspot.com to get all the eerie details on this Halloween Haunted House DIY project, and several other exciting Halloween and Fall craft ideas.” — Marisa 

Haunted-House-DIYHalloween Mantle DIY 

Here’s  a cute, quick and inexpensive way to spruce up your fireplace mantle for Halloween! Check out how Gisella from Serendipity Events NYC made these items via her blog page HERE.

SerendipAlso, be sure to check out all my black and white Halloween DIY projects including this awesome DIY table runner. Click HERE.

Table-Runner-DIYHave a Boo-tiful Day!

 TMO SHOP HALLOWEEN SALE ENDS 9/30/14

TMO SHOP

Be Our Guest: Styling With Kleenex

KleenexIIAs some of you might know, I’ve been working on a few home projects. Currently, I’m attempting to revamp our guest room and guest bathroom. I think it’s important to make overnight guests feel at home and ultra special, rather than an inconvenience for our family. I’ll be honest, it would be nice to have everything a hotel offers but rather than stress, I simply purchase a few inexpensive items throughout the year so that I’m not scrambling last minute trying to find everything our guests may need.

Here’s a list of my top 7 must-haves:

– Basket filled with colorful washcloths, bath toiletries, toothbrush & toothpaste. Many of these items I’ve found at our local 99 cents only store. If you follow me, you know I’m obsessed with finding awesome 99 cents only items (insert wink).

– Fresh flowers

– New magazine (we usually have GQ on hand)

– Fresh towels

– Water bottle

– Clean linens

Kleenex tissue box

Speaking of tissue boxes. Have you seen the new Kleenex Isaac Mizrahi designs? They are ultra modern and chic. Click here to see the designs.

Let’s pause for a second and play a game shall we?

Kleenex

 

Kleenex

Kleenex

Kleenex

Kleenex

Kleenex

Kleenex

Kleenex

KleenexAs you can see, I’ve placed the Kleenex tissue boxes throughout our home and even updated our entrance photo gallery with them. I’m loving all the new bright and modern designs! To see the tutorial on how I made the DIY Kleenex frames click here.

Oh, and by the way, did I mention I love making breakfast?! Our overnight guests will for sure have full tummies in the morning. Who wants to come over? 🙂 How do you make your overnight guest feel at home?

Cheers to overnight guests!

You can check out the Isaac Mizrahi video, other awesome Kleenex style designs, and take the Kleenex Style Quiz (bonus: if you take it, you get a sweet coupon) all at the Kleenex Design Studio. Click here! This post is sponsored by Kleenex, but my love for their style is all my own!

Family Room Makeover On A Budget

living-room-makeoverAfter nearly three years of moving into our home, I finally made time to give our favorite room a much needed makeover. It all started with a Sherwin Williams paint sale which gave me the extra push to get it done. Not to mention an inspiring mom/interior designer I follow on Instagram (Kristen Rockwood over at Studio7InteriorDesign) which showcased a room she painted using Sherwin Williams Cityscapes. Her work is budget friendly and simply amazing! Go follow her for daily home decor ideas and/or inspiration.

Items Purchased For Our Family Room Makeover

Paint: Sherwin Williams Cityscapes – $30/gallon sale price (I purchased the paint with primer)

Large Mirrors: Burlington Coat Factory – $66 for all three

familyroom-mirror-Burlington-Coat-Factory

Command Strips: $10 (used on 2 out of the 3 mirrors shown above)

Command-Strips

Curtain Rod: Big Lots – $11

curtain-rod-big-lots

Fabric Medium: Martha Stewart – $4 with 50% Joanns coupon. Note: I used this to stencil the curtain along with the Sherwin Williams Cityscapes paint.

fabric-medium-martha-stewart

Curtain Clips: Martha Stewart – $7

Spray Paint: 2 Cans Valspar White High Gloss – $8 (for curtain rod and mirrors)

Total Spent: Less than $140!

*Note: I used an old white table cloth to make the curtains. Plus, I purchased a couple stencils a while back to use for our walls but instead decided to use for the curtains.

How To Make Curtains Using An Old Table Cloth

Step 1. Measure your window. Make sure the table cloth is large enough to cover your window.

Step 2. Cut material in half vertically.

Step 3. Sew the table cloth (i.e. there should only be two sections to sew)

stitch-brother-sewing-machineStep 4. Clip on the Martha Stewart curtain clips. Done and done. 🙂

If you’d like to add a stencil to your curtain, I recommend using the same paint you used for your wall plus adding the Martha Stewart’s Fabric Medium. I’ll admit, this project can be time consuming. I had to wait until my little family was asleep to work on this. Thankfully, I enjoyed working on this project with a little help from Pandora and nice glass of Moscato (insert wink).

Also, be sure to check out my Halloween table runner tutorial here for step by step instructions on how to stencil fabric. Lastly, I highly recommend adding black out material to the back of the curtains to hide any paint imperfections.

As you can see, our family room is still a work in progress. In fact, I’m currently upcycling a vintage coffee table I found at a second hand store last week. Can’t wait to incorporate the table into our family room. Also, I’m still trying to find new pillows and the perfect rug at a great price point. Any suggestions?  🙂 Oh and we definitely could use a new sofa but let me just stop there. Clearly it never ends (insert laughter)! For now, this little budget friendly makeover will do. 😉

BEFORE

Before

AFTERliving-room-makeover

after

Fireplace

living-room-makeoverUntil next time! Cheers to decorating your home on a budget!

DIY Birthday Centerpieces For Men

DIY Birthday CenterpiecesIf you’re anything like me, finding the perfect centerpiece for a birthday party is a must. I’ll admit, I’m kinda obsessed with centerpieces. This doesn’t mean I have to dish out loads of money on them but rather I enjoy spending time finding inexpensive ways to create them.

Today happens to be my grandfathers 77th birthday party and I was in charge of making the main centerpieces. Go figure. I think my family knows I love doing this sorta thing. It was definitely a bit challenging to think of something that A. was not feminine B. didn’t include flowers and C. wasn’t sports related or the go-to themed centerpiece.

My grandfather likes to collect seashells. He likes to clean them and varnish them to protect them from breaking. So we decided to use his beautiful seashells as party decorations throughout his home (party is being held at his home) and on the tables. I kept thinking…”what should we add to the seashells?” Then I remembered I made these quick and inexpensive custom lanterns for my father-in-laws 60th birthday party last year. Viola! Lanterns would complement the seashells perfectly!

These are the items I used and the steps to create the DIY custom lanterns. I hope you find this DIY useful for your father’s or grandfather’s birthday parties as well.

DIY Birthday Centerpieces

DIY Birthday Centerpieces

Found these lanterns at Target for only $4.48!! Note: I removed the LED candles it came with to add my grandfather’s picture and birthday info but wanted to point out that the lanterns came with LED candles. Such a great deal!

DIY Birthday Centerpieces

DIY Birthday Centerpieces

DIY Birthday Centerpieces

DIY Birthday Centerpieces

DIY Birthday Centerpieces

DIY Birthday CenterpiecesCheers to DIY birthday centerpieces!