Category Archives: Frugal Finds

Holiday Celebration ~ Indiana Jones Style

Jay’s company holiday party is only about 2 weeks away and I am trying to tie up some loose ends with our outfits.

This year is an “Adventure. Action. Thrills.” theme with nod to Indiana Jones so I immediately thought I would wear a khaki safari inspired dress I’ve had sitting in my closet waiting for the perfect occasion. It looks similar to this one…



However, last week I found this Jennifer Lopez jumpsuit at Kohl’s for about $15…


I LOVE jumpsuits. I always like to be comfortable at these big corporate parties. For the most part they are business casual so I could totally get away with the simple khaki shirt dress, but because I love to get out there and dance with the other wives, I like to be extra comfy. This jumpsuit fit like a dream and I loved the reddish orange color thinking that it would be a little more festive.

I plan on wearing these wedges I found at Target over the summer with either of the pieces…


I also have some chunky wooden bangles and a leopard print clutch that I will accessorize with.

I ran the idea by Jay of wearing a cheetah print bow tie. 😉 He immediately showed his disapproval, but I was on a mission to at least find him a tie that coordinated with my outfit. Behold….I stumbled across this gem at Kohl’s the other day and had my trusty 30% off coupon which brought the final price to right around $15.


He approved since the print is more subdued and doesn’t obnoxiously scream, “CHEETAH!!”.

I really want to wear the dress, but am afraid I won’t be as comfortable as if I were to wear the jumper. I’m glad that I have options, though, and BOTH pieces together were less than $25 so I can’t go wrong.

CanNOT believe that it’s holiday party time once again. This is the ONE night that we both really look forward to every holiday season. His company always does such a beautiful job choosing the venue and carrying out the theme.

I’ll report back with pictures from he evening and the outfit that I end up wearing on our adventure to The Temple of Doom!

You Paid HOW Much For That?

I’ve really wanted to blog lately, but haven’t really had a lightbulb moment with a great topic…

I’ve wanted to share more recipes especially since I’ve been doing Weight Watchers and have been experimenting with more low fat/low-cal dishes in the kitchen these days. I started WW on September 3, 2014 and have lost 32 pounds! It’s something that I often wonder “why didn’t I get started sooner?!?”, but here I am 6 months into the program and fiiiiiiinally things are starting to click and I can definitely see changes on and off of the scale.

With that loss of 32 pounds comes the opportunity to buy some new clothes. I’ve always loved shopping for clothes, but when you are carrying extra weight and don’t feel the best about yourself, it’s hard to really go shopping and feel good about your purchases. I think I have been loving shopping for clothing for the kids to fulfill not being able to buy cute stuff for myself, but that is all changing! Lately I have bought some new pieces that I would not have worn prior to September 3rd.

Another thing to know about me is that I HATE to spend a lot on clothing. Growing up I remember being taught to start at the clearance rack and see what you can find first before paying full price for something. I recall heading directly to the clearance areas of Contempo Casuals, Wet Seal and Charlotte Russe when I was in high school trying to stretch my hard earned allowance and baby sitting money. After awhile it becomes a game to see how inexpensive you can find something and you’ll never want to pay full price for anything ever again. It may hurt a little when you don’t find something on sale or clearance, but it all balances out when the majority of your shopping is done mindfully and your items have a red clearance sticker affixed to them.

Lately I’ve come across some ridiculously amazing deals that I want to share with you…..


I picked up this Michael Kors leather jacket for about $40 out of pocket. I had a gift card from Christmas and was looking around the dress department in Macy’s one day and the saleslady asked if I wanted a great deal on a leather jacket. I tried it on and it fit like a glove so I HAD to get it! After a coupon and my gift card, I spent a little over $40 for this jacket.


A couple weeks ago I strolled through the shoe department at Target and spotted these for $3.56. They were an on-line return and my size {which is a 10 now!!}. Pays to have big feet! They look super cute with a pair of boyfriend jeans and a fun top.


My latest stupidly cheap find was this pizza shirt for Holden that Old Navy gave me for 47 cents. I have no idea how they come up with these prices, but I don’t care, I’ll take it! It’s a little big for him still, but I’ll tuck it away for next year. That’s another way to save money when shopping for your kiddos….if you see something at a great price, pick it up and hang it in the back of the closet for down the road. I also try to buy multiples of stuff like this for birthday gifts. The kids always like having matching shirts with their friends at school.

I’m trying to teach Elliott the art of bargain hunting, too. She loves to shop, but has no idea about stretching a dollar just yet. When she was really into Justice {thank goodness that phase has passed!} she would go in there and want a pair of shorts for $40-something. I would go to the clearance rack and find some shorts in the SAME style and ask her “would you like two pairs of shorts AND a top or that one pair of shorts for about the same price?” Most of the time I shop for the kids when they are in school and save the receipts in case it doesn’t work out. Holden is easy and will wear anything I put out for him.


My goal is to start a little frugal fashion blog and show just how easy it is to dress on a dime.

I look forward to sharing more finds with you as I expand my wardrobe in the coming months.

Happy shopping, friends!


Hand Santa-tizer Class Goody

Hello friends!

We’ve been enjoying the holidays with Jay’s annual corporate party, soccer playoffs, shopping, wrapping and getting little goodies packaged up for those important people that bless our lives during the year.

Over the weekend the kids helped me get their classroom treats labeled, washi taped, stuffed and stapled. I stalked the Bath & Body Works after holiday store clearance in early-mid January and picked up enough pocket hand sanitizers…..ahem, Santa-tizers…..for both their classes. They were 75% off and came up to 44¢ a piece. That is a super small price to pay to help do my part in the germ-y hands department. 😉


 I grabbed the little favor bags at Target over the summer for 70% off and the washi tape is from Dollar Tree. I just printed off a little message on a clear Avery address label, added a mini candy cane and DONE!

I will most definitely be visiting B&BW in the new year for next years’ supply.

Can’t go wrong for under 60¢ per classmate!


I hope you’re decking the halls, setting up nativity scenes, sipping peppermint hot cocoa, ice skating under the stars & white twinkly lights, getting frustrated when your kids waste all the Scotch tape and there isn’t any to be found when you need it {just me?}, cruising the streets to see the Christmas lights and just enjoying sitting on your couch staring at your tree!

10 more days.


Blue Ribbon Day ~ An Afternoon at the OC Fair

Yesterday we ventured down I-5 and headed to the OC Fair. My friend Angela is well schooled in this fair and assured me it was bigger and better than our more local Ventura County fair that is also currently going on. She had gathered some budget friendly information for our trip, too.

1. Bring $5 worth of school supplies {with receipt} for entrance into the fair. Entrance also included one FREE ride. It’s a win/win.

2. Read & Ride Program {kids ages 5-11} ~ Read two books, fill out a form, turn it in and receive 3 FREE rides.

The kids obviously wanted to IMMEDIATELY hit the death traps…..I mean rides, but we encouraged {OK….MADE} them check out some animal exhibits and the area where the biggest produce is awarded and displayed ~ AKA lemons and avocados on steroids!

The girls then made leather cuffs and bookmarks. This was perfect for Elliott and she can never find anything personalized with her name. I thought this was a nice fair souvenir for only $5.

The mamas figured it’d be better to go on a couple rides BEFORE eating lunch. Holden was turned down for a ride that he desperately wanted to go on due to his height and a kind young man and his girlfriend handed over their 2 tickets so that he could enjoy 2 other attractions as they had purchased a bracelet for “daily unlimited death trap usage”!!

As you can imagine, pin pointing a lunch item can be difficult at the fair. I talked Holden out of a $13 smoked turkey leg and redirected him to a $6 piece of cheese pizza! I had spotted a place that sold sourdough garlic bread which you could order gussied up in many different fashions….I chose the buffalo chicken version and was NOT disappointed. They also had a Nutella/bacon option which I’m sure received high marks, but I went with savory and was glad I did.

After lunch the kiddos explored some sketchy fun houses and we eventually embraced redneckness by making our way to the Turkey Stampede. It actually was tons of fun and now I think the kids will be questioning what we put on the table this Thanksgiving. Immediately after that, we crossed over to the Pig Races and secured a seat in the shade. Holden was chosen as one of four pig coaches for the finals and his choice, Bob, was the grand champion! He was so cute getting the crowd pumped up and rooting for “his” pig which was #6 and wore a blue bib.

We then took our blue ribbon winner and the rest of our crew for their long awaited sweet treat for the day…soft frozen lemonade, shaved ice, deep fried Oreos and Dippin’ Dots. Believe it or not I passed up my sweet treat for an ice cold water and Diet Coke! I’d never been so thirsty in all my life. Calories saved, I guess…….

We closed our day with a bird’s eye view of the fair on the sky ride. I praise the Lord that they have enough sense to require an adult to go on this because there is NO way I’d let Holden ride with his friends. I winced the whole time watching the three 9-year old girlies in the chair in front of us, yelling at them, “Please sit back! Don’t lean forward!” Longest 8-10 minutes of my life!!

BUT, we had a great day and the kids loved it. It had been 6 years since they had been to the fair! We went to the San Benito County Fair in the summer of ’08 before we moved back to So Cal. Holden was just 18 months and Elliott barely over 3 years old!

Here are some iPhone memories…..



















Despite my newfound old lady fear of heights, I think we need to make the county fairs a permanent fixture on our summer bucket lists from here on out.

Missing the San Diego County Fair {or the Del Mar Fair for us locals} and the memories made there over the years…..

Doorstep Deliveries

I’ve always been a “hands-on” shopper. I’m not one to sit at my computer and click through the internet and shop. I like to come home with bags filled with my purchases.

A lot of my friends prefer to shop on-line and swear by it. I can understand if browsing is not something you enjoy, but I am a big time browser. I love to stroll through the racks and go hanger by hanger until I find the right article of clothing. I also like to try things on at the store to prevent any of the {get home-try it on-hate it-have to return it} syndrome. Even when I DO try things on, I always save my receipt and keep the tags on just in case a girl changes her mind ~ it’s been known to happen once or twice!

BUT, lately while shopping for wardrobe pieces for our big trip next month, I have had to order some things on-line since the sizes I need were not available in the store. I must say that prices seem to be lower in stores rather than on-line, but I’ve been checking the loads of e-mails I get regularly and have noticed that there are a lot of on-line specials, too!

I wanted to get the kids some July 4th swimsuits and ended up having to order this one from Crazy 8…


I don’t shop here too often, but they do have adorable clothing for the kids. This suit was $9.99, but they didn’t have it in Elliott’s size. The saleswoman checked on-line at the store, charged me, got my address and is having it sent for free to my house!

The same thing happened at Janie & Jack when on the hunt for a pair of linen shorts for Holden. I’ve learned that linen shorts are hard to come by for boys, but think they will make a nice, dressier option for all the wedding festivities. Again, they didn’t have his size in the store, but the salesgirl checked another store and had them sent to me. I did have to pay $8.50, but the shorts were already on clearance and I got them for less than the original price even with the shipping charges.


Yesterday I got an email from The Children’s Place for FREE shipping so I decided to see what they had on-line…I had just been in the store in the last week, but thought there might be some different items. I found this adorable jumper for Elliott for about $15 including tax…


I activated my account and got a code for $5 off my purchase. Along with the free shipping, I thought this was a great deal for a whole outfit!

I also had to order their wedding attire on-line and it worked out perfectly. Holden’s black dress pants came from Macy’s and Elliott’s flower girl dress was ordered on-line through David’s Bridal.


Oh and Jay & the kids gave me a Bath & Body Works gift card for Mother’s Day so I decided to check that out online and placed my order ~ easy peasy! And look at the cute blue & white gingham box all my goodies came in…


The Salt Water Taffy candle……..get one now!


This concept may seem like nothing new to you, but it’s a whole new world for me and I’m hooked. It’s been so fun receiving things here and there in the mailbox or waiting at the front door for us when we arrive home.

I can’t say that this won’t keep me out of my favorite stores, but it sure has opened my eyes to the ease and convenience of on-line shopping!

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of taking the kids school clothes shopping. I usually pick up things myself and hope they like them. Holden is easy, but Elliott has her own style and doesn’t care for some things I choose. I have a feeling I’ll be doing a lot of school shopping from home this summer and I’m pretty excited about it…

Ding dong! Gotta go, I’ve got a doorstep delivery.

Bubbles Two Ways ~ EOY Classroom & Campus Helper Goodies

OK, so apparently I’m on a roll with the EOY goodies…..

Today we’re focusing on classroom treats and little tokens for the campus staff like yard duties, librarian, cafeteria friends and classroom aids.

Holden is in a split class this year ~ kindergarten & first grade. I don’t like to give candy, so I was on the hunt for something summery for him to hand out on the last day of school. One year Elliott received the cutest little bucket of sidewalk chalk and I was trying to keep that in mind as I began my hunt. But, I spotted some fun bubble wands in the Target dollar section and decided to roll with those and save time {and gas!} driving all over town trying to gather other options. Plus, if I decided to go with the wands and go back to Target next week, they may very well be gone. Now I can check this off my list and move onto the next thing {for example: clean the bathrooms!}.


I just thought these were so fun and came up with a cheesy message which I printed on clear labels and affixed to some fish cutouts that I picked up at Dollar Tree and tied on with baker’s twine.


{pretend the labels didn’t get cut off at the top, OK}


Now onto the campus helpers….

In keeping with the bubble theme {well, there really was no bubble theme, but it just sounded good}, Ross had some 4.1 ounce bottles of shower gel in fruity/floral/botanical scents that came in a pack of seven for $3.99. Seriously….this comes out to 57 cents a piece! I grabbed some clear Spritz favor bags at Target and bagged them up with a few paper shreds. I also used up some leftover paint chips from crafts that I did with the third graders earlier in the year and made a little tag with a message ~ again just printed on clear labels.


Done and done.


Now I just need to figure out what I’m going to do for Elliott’s class…..

I hope these ideas have been helpful. In the past I have not done much at the end of the year because I found that I waited until the last minute and was so over the whole school year that I didn’t do ANYTHING. As a result, last year and this year I tried to plan ahead so we could thank all the special school people who become such important parts of our lives.

Seventeen more {school} days ’til bubble blowin’!!!

Office Space ~ EOY Office Staff Treats

Hello friends and Happy Humpday!

I’m back real quick with the second installment of EOY gift ideas.

Today we’re recognizing the hard working ladies in the office. They field and treat NUMEROUS daily health related & accident cases, track attendance, disperse forgotten items that are dropped off late, supervise students during recess and lunch who aren’t able to play out on the yard, etc, etc. Lord only knows what other behind-the-scenes situations they are faced with throughout the school year, but what I witness them doing on a daily basis is enough for me to deem them saints. Annnd, they always have a smile on their face.

See…smiles all around. Aren’t they such a cute trio?


If you’d like to recognize your kind office staff on the last day of school, but aren’t sure what to do, here are a few ideas…


These fun little office supplies were found recently at Target {file folders} & JoAnns {ecard notebook} in the dollar bins!

Fancy folders make filing more fun, right?

Jotting down zillions of notes and messages is always more interesting in an silly ecard notepad, correct?

I must confess that the perfect typewriter thank you card is from several months back at Trader Joe’s. My OCD gift giving self grabbed a few and filed them away for the end of the year.

I’m also making these sweet ladies and equally sweet treat in the form of these sugar cookie bars.


I hope you’re as lucky as we are with awesome people watching over and caring for our kids during school hours and I hope you’ll bless them as you say goodbye to another academic year.

They’ll appreciate it.



‘Round Here

Hey friends!

So here we are one week away from February and I haven’t taken the time to sit and blog. When I read other blogs, I start to miss the daily/every couple days entries. My GOAL is to sit down more and chime in even if it’s just a new healthy recipe I’ve discovered or a little craft I whipped up or a little facelift to the house or a fun, frugal find I came across along my travels.

I miss this space and connecting with you.

Here is what we’ve been up to in the new year {instead of blogging}…..


{Researching monthly quotes for our chalkboard. I love updating this inspirational piece that hangs in the hub of our home. I have another old/outdated framed graphic that I’m going to spray paint and turn into a second chalkboard. It’s on the list of “Things To Do”.}


{This little gallery wall was swirling around in my head for months. I had finished re-doing the aqua table over the summer and couldn’t wait to get something hung over it. This happy space is in our master bedroom and I just love it. It took me awhile to source the makings of this space, but I love the way everything came together. The mirror is from Target clearance, the “I” & “U” hooks are from Anthropologie clearance, the sweet little chalkboard hook with the heart {with hat} is to help support my friend Lena and her heart for Acres Of Love here, the 8 X 10 prints on the clipboards were a gift from sweet Lindsay at my baptism last Spring and can be found here and the smaller 5X7 prints can be found here and here.}


{I love finding printables to stick in these two red frames with the change of seasons or holidays. I just searched FREE Valentine’s printables on Pinterest and voila!}


{Over Winter Break we had some friends over for the day and the mamas made these fun canvases that I spotted on Pinterest. We had to break the boys away from the PS3 and the girls away from their Rainbow Looms to paint their hands and feet, but I adore the way they turned out.}


{I love that Holden’s birthday is in February because it gives me something to focus on after the letdown of the holidays. I always start planning and shopping for goodies in January and let the party planning begin. This year he is having a few little boy buddies over for an early morning pajama party…more fun details to come!}


{With the new year comes the promise to eat less and exercise more. I try to drink plenty of this water daily and find it a little more interesting than plain old H2O. Add a sliced lemon, half a peeled and sliced cucumber and some fresh mint leaves to your water. I refill the jar several times before changing out the produce. Per Pinterest, this concoction is good for detoxing. I’ll let you be the judge 😉 }


{I’m trying to be better about reading the calorie count when in restaurants. On our Santa Barbara day trip last Sunday, I ordered this crispy Asian salad with less than 350 calories at silvergreens. I didn’t eat the roll, but the salad was delicious and filling.}


{At home I’ve been trying to create flavorful, lo-cal versions of my favorites. I could eat pizza every day all day, but with this BBQ chicken tortilla pizza, I don’t need to feel guilty. Ezekiel sprouted grain tortilla, 2 tbsp BBQ sauce, red onion, cilantro, 3 strips of precooked chicken (TJ’s), 1/4 cup lite mozzarella cheese and some Sriracha drizzles added after baking for 8-10 minutes at 325*. It’s around 300 calories and will most certainly take care of your pizza cravings!}




{With friends posting about Snow Days and single digit temps in other parts of the country, it still amazes me that we are on the beach and the kids are frolicking in the surf in mid-January. Our MLK weekend was made perfect with a little day trip to Santa Barbara and we hope to do more of these throughout the year. It’s so easy to get holed up in our little valley, but it sure was nice to take a drive up the coast for the day and still be home in time for dinner and a relaxing evening.}


So, that’s what’s been goin’ on ’round here for the past several weeks. It’s been nice to have a break from soccer, but Spring will get busy again with baseball for Holden and AYSO for Elliott along with some after school enrichment classes that start up next week! Just taking it day by day……

I hope you all have had a great start to Twenty14.


Christmas Goodies For A Buck And Under

At the holidays especially, I like to acknowledge and thank all the people who we see on a daily weekly basis that are a big part of our lives.

If there is any time of the year to stop and take a little extra time to prepare and present little tokens of our appreciation, to me, it’s the holidays.

I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to be a lot, but just a small something that is wrapped with lots of love and care.

Tonight I’m sharing three inexpensive little gifts all which ironically enough I learned about from Instagram!

Last year an IG friend from Hawaii posted the little Bath & Body Works hand sanitizers tied up with yarn along with a lollipop and I thought it was the cutest. I immediately stalked my local B&BW for their after holiday sale and ended up getting the small pocket size hand sanitizers for 75% off ~ about 38 cents each!

For Elliott’s class this year each student is receiving a candy apple anti-bacterial gel and a candy cane Tootsie Pop. I’m adding a little tag that reads,”Have a healthy and happy holiday! See you in 2014!”

I did similar treats for her soccer party which included the holders that I picked up for 25 cents last year…


For Holden’s Kinder/First grade class, I picked up some knit gloves from the dollar bins at Target. Skull for the boys and rainbows/stars for the girls. I just wrapped them in little treat bags from Dollar Tree and added a label that read, “Bundle up and stay warm over Winter Break. See you in 2014!”

Another IG friend posted something about Target having the “Yes to” lip balms for $2.99 with a $2 off coupon affixed to the package! It took me a couple weeks, but our store had several and I grabbed about 15 of them for our yard duties, aides, cafeteria workers and librarian.

Again, a dollar, but I wrapped them up and added a little note to make them a little more special…


The ziploc baggies are also from the Target dollar bins and came with the {enjoy} toppers!

This last little gift idea came from my friend Julie via IG, as well.

I’ve seen this floating around Pinterest, but had forgotten about it. Who doesn’t want their toes all done up for the holidays?


I found the polishes at Ross for a dollar a piece ~ 6 for $5.99. And if glitter doesn’t scream “HOLIDAY!!”, I don’t know what does.

The sweet tags are a free download from Andrea over at Knitty Bitties.

These are perfect for babysitters, hair stylists, fellow mamas, dance teachers or any female really.

I picked up some cute little 1.69 fluid ounce body butters, also at Ross for 6/$5.99, to go along with.



Finding these little deals is sometimes time consuming, and it does require some planning ahead, too.

The key is to but it when you see it and tuck it away. There are TONS of cute wrapping options at all the dollar stores right now.

I hope these ideas are helpful. I joke that I need to stop checking Instagram, reading blogs and going onto Pinterest because I want to do everything!!

I have to remember that there is always next year and we all know how the holidays sneak up on us. They’ll be back before we now it….

Have a blessed weekend, friends!


Little Thank Yous ~ EOY Treats For Teachers, Staff & Classmates

Every holiday my kids bring home goodie bags and treats from their classmates…Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, birthdays, etc. Usually I feel terrible and tell myself that I will get my act together on the next holiday!

This year I promised that I would do a end-of-the-year class treat since I haven’t really done anything all year…or last year for that matter.

Pinterest is full of all sorts of cute ideas and a couple had caught my eye, but I hadn’t settled on anything and we only had a week left ’til SUMMER. {yay!}

I was trolling the aisles of 99¢ Only last week and came across some fun composition books. I immediately e-mailed Elliott’s teacher to get the girl/boy breakdown to gather the corresponding comp books. To my dismay, I could only find half the number of {boy} books at the two stores here in the area.


They DID have plenty of girlie versions in three different styles so I just wrapped a little yarn around them and attached a note to each one for her to pass out on the last day of school. After the fact, I thought the girls could exchange phone numbers and record them in these little books for play dates over the summer, too.


I decided on the collapsible water bottles for the boys in her class since they were such a hit at her birthday party…again from 99¢ Only and BPA-free!


{the tag reads, “Stay hydrated and have a great summer…see you in 3rd grade!”}

Tags are just clear Avery labels [address 18660] that I personalized, printed and attached on manila mailing tags from Staples.


For Holden’s kindergarten class, I went with the “bookworm” idea that I’d seen on Pinterest awhile back. I did these for holiday treats in Elliott’s first grade class…


Individual bags of sour gummy worms, die cut worms, personalized labels and some washi tape later…


{gummy worms ~ Smart & Final, die cut worms ~ Dollar Tree, washi tape ~ Target}


I always like to acknowledge the rest of the staff at the holidays and end-of-the-year. I usually deliver baked goods to the office, yard duties, custodian and aides, but this year I decided to go with paper products!


{typewriter notecards for the ladies in the office and mini purse-sized magnetic closure notebooks for the librarian, cafeteria staff and campus supervisors ~ all from Target clearance}

For our nice custodian who does SO much, I picked up a couple Monster energy drinks and CLIF bars to help get him through the day.


Our principal is retiring and although our awesome PTA organized and put together an amazing gift basket for her, I wanted to give her something special from our family. I made her a nest pendant…she doesn’t have any children of her own, but has been a role model and friend to MANY children through her years as a teacher and principal.


The nest represents our school, the pearl represents our dear principal and the blue and pink beads represent all the boys and girls that are going to miss her so.

Going to get teary eyed delivering this one for sure…..


Trader Joe’s has had so many cute greeting cards lately. If you haven’t checked them out when you run in there for groceries, you simply must…


Both the kids’ teachers are moving to different schools this Fall. I handpicked the perfect cards and wrote them a note from the heart letting them know how much we appreciate them and will miss seeing them on campus next year and included a gift card for summer treats.


I’m emotional just thinking about delivering all these goodies in the next few days.

However, I am looking forward to slower mornings and filling our days with trips to the pool, beach, frozen yogurt or whatever comes our way. Having a virtually commitment-free summer ahead of us is so refreshing.

THREE more days.