Category Archives: Tips

Back to School Shopping Tips

If you haven’t done your back to school shopping don’t stress! Here are a few tips that will help you have the most peace and the most for your money!

1. Figure out a semester budget. Not just for right now but how much do you want to spend through the whole semester, including Christmas season.
2. Stock up on basics for clothing!! Capris, short sleeve shirts, skirts and other warm weather pieces are going on clearance while stores bring in “fall” clothes. They don’t take into account that it will be well above 80 until the end of October! And you can also get some to last into the Spring too!!
3. Watch the sales. Office Max has freebies every week, Target & Walgreens have a few great deals every week. So if you have time, hit those stores for the deals only every week.
4. Don’t spend it all now!!! Kids taste will change tastes just a little as soon as they see what their friends have. So after school has started get the special pieces for their back to school wardrobes and even the must have academic accessory.

5. Remember that they don’t have to have every new, hot thing! They will survive. If they really want more after you do all their shopping think about giving them an opportunity to earn some money and buy it!

Back to school shopping doesn’t have to be crazy and expensive. Just be smart! And if you are shopping online make sure that you use shopping portals to save even more!

Personalized Easter Baskets

(Welcome Central Valley Today viewers! These are the details of my spot today!)

This is such an easy project that I feel kind of guilty devoting a post to it. I mean if it is something I can easily do anyone can. It doesn’t have to be perfect, I mean mine aren’t.

And full disclosure, these here in the picture aren’t mine. I couldn’t get a picture of the ones I did for my older two children without getting their names in the picture. These were done by my friend Angie for our church when my last two were born. And she decorated all sides of the buckets, I didn’t;). And hers are cuter than mine but my kids love the ones I did!

Ok, the main idea behind these personalized buckets is that you don’t have 10 million cheap baskets around the house that won’t hold anything and have to be replaced every year. With  personalized buckets you have 2 choices. The kids can use them all year round to transport their things and decorate their rooms. The other option, and the one we use, is we pack them away after Easter just like you do stockings. Then pull them out and use them year after year. The ones I made are 8 years old already and still look pretty good.

The first thing to do is pick the right bucket! I picked awesome paint buckets when I did this eight years ago. They are shallow but huge! I had to get something smaller for my kids to use for egg hunting for the next couple of years. #MomFail Pick a bucket that fits the kid you are getting it for. While it looks cute to see a child lug around a bucket that is 2/3 their height, they find it very frustrating. Same thing with picking baskets that are to wide. Then they just turn and accidentally dump out everything. That makes kids not want to find all the eggs!

Now that we found the bucket we are ready to go! Wipe down the bucket with a baby wipe or cleaning wipe and let it dry completely. Then you just take your paint pens and go at it! If you want you can use templates too. They can help with basic shapes but you probably won’t get anything to detailed with the templates.  Let is dry for an hour or two and you can use it! I like to let them cure for a day but it isn’t really needed.

And seriously, that is it! Now fill it with goodies or take it egg hunting! Make sure if you are egg hunting though you are looking for my perfect Easter eggs!  Your kids will feel so special and you spent as little as $1 on the bucket! Such a deal!

Happy Easter!


The Perfect Easter Eggs

Ok, was it just my family growing up? My family that would come together for Easter and pool like 7-10 dozen hard boiled, colored eggs. There were so many cousins that we would break up the egg hunt by age and height breakdowns;). It would take a half hour to hide the eggs and something like 3 times as long to find them, if we found them all. Then we would live on egg salad sandwiches for the next week. And after they were outside in the Central California heat for 2 hours doesn’t that sound yummy?

So when I had my own kids my husband and I decided to do things a little different. I have bought a collection of cheap, fillable, plastic Easter Eggs. Then I buy adorable and cheap things (often on clearance the year before;) to fill them! We even separate them by colors and assign them to specific kids. So 1 year I filled daughter #1’s eggs with play jewelry, son #1 got plastic bugs and son #2 got leaping bunnies. It is so easy and fun! We have been doing it for 8 years now and it has always been a hit!

There are no nasty egg sandwiches for days. The kids spend the next few weeks or months playing with their dime store treasures. I just bag up the the plastic eggs and store them in the garage for next year!

And if one gets forgotten in the heat? It’ll be fine tomorrow!

(Disclosure: I am submitting this to the Hershey Bunny Trail and am receiving a basket of goodness as a thanks!)

Buying Smart at the Dollar Stores

(If you found me by my spot on KSEE 24’s Central Valley Today, Welcome! Here is the information I referenced today!)

Some recent Dollar Store finds!

We have all know that the various dollar stores and 99 cents stores have a ton of things but are they good deals? It seems that people either assume it is full of either all trash or all treasure. But the magic of a dollar store is realizing that it has both! Our job is to find the treasure and ditch the junk!

Dollar Store Do’s:

  • Coloring Books
  • Tissue Paper
  • Curling Ribbon
  • Gift Bags
  • Scotch Tape
  • Basket/Gift Bag Fillers
  • Crafting Supplies
  • Plastic Bins/Small Garbage Cans
  • Paper Tablecloths

Even though they seem like great deals there are also some Dollar Store considerations:

  • Counts count! Here is a perfect example I found recently! You know those cellophane bags that are used as treat bags? At the Dollar Tree here you can get 1 package that holds anywhere from 10 to 20 bags for $1. At Walmart I got a package of 100 for only $3.50.
  • Quality Counts!I look at the quality value of a product before I buy it along with looking for flaws. An example of looking at quality value is sticky notes! I have bought generic ones at the dollar stores that don’t stick! That doesn’t help so I pay a little more and buy the Post It notes on sale so I know they will work! Often if you find glassware or little knick knacks they will be adorable and obviously a good price. But check for flaws. Sometimes they get a shipment that has flaws in many of the pieces but not all, that is why they go such a great deal to pass on to you. But don’t assume that the dollar item is not in great condition. It does take a few minutes but by finding that treasure you will be happy with the outcome.
  • You can’t return! Don’t over buy in the assumption you can return what you don’t need! Also, this is why it is important to check for flaws before you leave.
  • Inventory varies! Dollar stores with in the same branding may carry different items and not just the seasonal stuff but the regular stuff. I like to make chocolate dipped pretzel sticks for holidays. The bags of big pretzel sticks can run $4 in a grocery store and I used to get them at the dollar store down the street from me. I went in one Christmas and they were gone.  So I called around and found only 1 dollar store that still carries them. So at Christmas time I drive over there and get them when I am out running errands!  And never hesitate to call and ask if they carry something before you drive over to investigate!

The dollar stores have great deals but only if you shop smart! Put a little investigation and thought into your shopping and you will not only have more money but enjoy what you have bought!!!!

DeWaxing Candle Holders

Here is the situation: You have tea lights or votive candles that you drop into adorable little candle holders. And those adorable candle holders can be what you use for parties, therefore you are using bunches. So the party, dinner or just burning is over. You then have this little stump of candle melted along the side of your holder. How much fun is that to dig out? As someone who has done it, let me tell you that it is not fun to do with 1 candle holder much less bunches of holders.

One solution that I use is to freeze your candle holders upside down. Now this is not an original to me idea. I may have heard it from Martha Stewart or Katie Brown or some home diva. But it works!!! Then I throw glass holders into the dishwasher to get rid of any remain residue. Easy peasy!!!

I love candles and now I will actually burn them;).

CD Repairs

Here at NerdFamily Things we like having stuff;). But we also believe that you should care for the things you have. That is why I loved this post over at Tipnut with some ways to repair scratches on CDs. Go check it out and let me know how they work for you.