We built a sandbox

Posted 09-7-2012 at 10:31 AM by whitneywalters

My husband and I are  slowly doing a major overhaul on our yard. We are redoing all the gardening, adding more garden areas and building a nice big  play area for the kids. We live in two lots which makes for a large yard. We have four kids, the oldest three play in the sand box more than anything else and Amelia is starting to like doing it also. The little turtle sand box we had was just not big enough for all the kids. We did some pricing on buying a large one and decided it would be way cheaper for us just to build one ourselves.

A friend of ours came over one afternoon and helped my husband build the box part for the sand box. It is fairly simple, just the boards and we are going to cover it with a tarp until my husband can build some kind of cover for it. We bought sand from the local sand quarry and my dad hauled it for us in his truck.

My kids are beyond happy with their new sand box. It is 10×10 so there is plenty of space for everyone to play. We are going to have to buy one more truck load of sand but it will still have cost us under $40 to make it.

Diaper Swapers

Making the Most of My Garden

Posted 08-30-2012 at 11:15 AM by whitneywalters

My family lives in southern Iowa and as everyone probably knows we are currently suffering from a major drought. Our garden took a huge hit because of this so I am doing whatever I can to make the most of the produce we are getting. This year we grew summer squash, zucchini squash, tomatoes, green, red and yellow peppers, beets, cucumbers, potatoes, pumpkins and dill.

Both of the squashes did really well even though it has been so dry. We have way more than anyone would need and I hate letting anything go to waste. We have been giving it away, making bread, cake, stirfry, adding it to pasta dishes, soup and when we get sick of eating I have been freezing it for later use.

As for the cucumbers, whatever we do not eat in cucumber salad or cucumbers with ranch, we make into pickles. We have made both refrigerator pickles and canned pickles. My family eats pickles like you would not believe so no cucumbers are going to waste here.  The dill was also used in the pickles.

Practicing Financial Self-Control

Posted 08-29-2012 at 12:00 PM by Krista

I wrote recently about being on a budget. It is only day two, and while it does feel easier there is a huge part of me that thinks: we can’t do this. I can’t do this. What is keeping to a budget, really? Besides allocating money for bills, groceries, gas and the like it’s really just about one thing: self-control. My husband and I are on an allowance system (I know—it feels like I’m back in the fifth grade!) and while it is bugging me, he is very nonchalant about the whole thing.

“I don’t really get that much, anyway,” he says.

Ha! I thought the same thing of myself until I actually started looking at the numbers. I scrutinized our account very closely and kept track for two months before putting a budget into place. What I found amazed me. I never realized how much money we spent on eating out. That first month, we vowed to cut back, and we did so—but then our grocery bill practically doubled.

Wasting Food

Posted 08-22-2012 at 09:52 AM by whitneywalters

This is a subject that I am sure all moms can relate with me about. My kids waste a lot of food and it is driving me insane. I have tried just about everything out there to get them to eat their food. I start with small portions and offer more if they are still hungry, I try hard to come up with healthy dishes that everyone will like, I have covered the plates and given it to them again the next day and I have even tried the starving children in Africa talk ( which got me nowhere since they just looked at me and said they would give them their food ).

I am also ashamed to admit that my kids are not the only ones that is guilty of wasting. I recently cleaned the fridge out and we threw out more food than I want to admit. I have a bad habit of cooking too much, then it goes in the fridge and we rarely use it again. My husband does take left overs to work with him but we still end up throwing out a lot. It has become my goal to stop doing this. There is no excuse for us to be wasting as much as we are.

The first thing I am going to do is start cooking smaller amounts at meal times. I am trying to make enough for that meal and one extra plate so Chris can take it to work with him. When we have soup I will freeze whatever does not get eaten that night in small bowls and then he can take it with him at a later date.

We Cancelled Satellite

Posted 08-20-2012 at 09:41 AM by whitneywalters

After months and months of trying my husband finally convinced me to pull the plug on our satellite. He had been making hints about getting rid of it for sometime now but our contract was not up until the beginning of July. My husband never has been much of a television watcher and when he did watch something it was usually on Netflix. The kids and I were watching it pretty often. I would turn Nick Jr on for the kids in the morning and they would watch it off and on until I turned it off for lunch. I filled the DVR with crime dramas that I would watch when the kids were sleeping.

My husband was trying to get me to see it was not worth the price we were paying when we could spend fifty dollars less each month and get netflix and hulu. Between those two he told me I should be able to watch pretty much everything I was already watching and we would be able to save a lot of money in the process. I knew we needed to find ways to cut back so I finally gave in but I was not happy about it.

A Party Fit for a Princess on a Budget

Posted 08-17-2012 at 12:57 PM by whitneywalters

My daughter Destiny loves to pretend she is a princess. She turned five August 4th and this year she wanted to have a princess party. We are still on a pretty strict budget so I went to work planning a party fit for my little princess.
We decided to have an afternoon party and skip the meal this time. We had cupcakes, punch and princess marshmallows.

Destiny wanted pink cupcakes with sprinkles, so I made strawberry cupcakes with white frosting and pink and white sugar sprinkles. I found princess cupcake liners at Hobby Lobby. The marshmallows were very simple. I dipped them in white chocolate and rolled them in purple sugar sprinkles. She also wanted pink punch so I made a simple punch from sprite, pink lemon aid and raspberry sherbert.

We wanted to have a gift bag for each little girl. I got on Pinterest and found an easy felt crown pattern and a diy ribbon dancer. I already had most of the supplies here. All I needed to buy was headbands, plastic rings, gift bags and I bought a package of princess rings in the party section of Hobby Lobby. My mom spent an afternoon helping me make

Birthday Bash on a Budget

Posted 07-19-2012 at 02:35 PM by whitneywalters

My baby girl just turned one. I wanted to throw here a really cool party but we are on a pretty strict budget right now. My mom and I are both pretty crafty so we went  to work looking up different decoration ideas that we could make together and save me some money doing so. I wanted to have an owl themed party and I found a ton of ideas online for cute and easy decorations.

We made her a  birthday banner for the wall,  I found all the supplies at Walmart and spent a total of $7 on them. Plus, we have enough stuff left over from it that we will be able to make banners for the other kids birthdays and maybe some stuff for Amelia’s scrapbook.

Low to no cost summer fun

Posted 06-20-2012 at 07:29 AM by whitneywalters

Summer is here and my family is on a strict budget once again. We have a little more wiggle room then we did last summer but we still have to keep our summer activities low cost. We are an active family of six and we try to do at least one family activity on the weekends.

Here is a list of some of our low cost summer plans-

1. Picnic in the park

– This is one of the kids favorite things to do as a family. We pack drinks, sandwiches, chips, fruits, veggies and a dessert. We eat lunch at a local park and then spend the afternoon playing. The area we live has a nice park with a shelter, a pond and a play area so we always go there for our picnics. We always have a blast and since we have to eat lunch anyway this ends up being a no cost family outing.

Financial Fitness

Posted 05-24-2012 at 09:45 AM by Krista

I have posted quite a few articles on here about physical fitness and now my husband and I are trying to get financially fit as well. I think a lot of the same rules apply. I didn’t really begin to get physically fit until I was literally sick and tired of being overweight. I was embarrassed that every time I did even a little exercise, I got winded and red faced. And you know, as the saying goes, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. Only then did I begin to do something, starting with monitoring my calorie intake and then building up an exercise routine, increasing the intensity over

I believe that financial fitness is much the same. You have to be sick of being broke, tired of debt, and ready to make a change. I have reached that point in my life. I am so exhausted living with the feeling that we have to live holding our breath until the next paycheck hits the account, in fear of over-drafting. There are times when it feels like there is no solution: if we keep more money in our account, our debt will never get paid off. It is a never ending cycle and I know I am not the only one caught up in it. Of course, when anything unexpected occurs, like an illness or a flat tire, we’re back to square one.

Scrap Booking Fun

Posted 04-10-2012 at 09:13 AM by whitneywalters

I have been scrap booking for about 8 years now. I love doing it. It is something that my mom recently started doing also and we have been working on our books together. Right now I am working on several books. I recently finished one from my wedding.  I have started my family book, my son’s and one for each of my three girls. I honestly feel like this is going to take me forever but at least it is something I enjoy doing.

One thing about scrap booking is that is can get really expensive. All the pretty embellishments, stickers and paper can add up quickly. Throughout the years I have gotten very resourceful when it came to different decorating ideas.

Here is a list of tips to help you make great books and save money at the same time .
1. Save birthday cards
– A lot of the times the birthday cards my kids get have little embellishments that I can cut off and use for their books. Things like little glittery presents, cakes and balloons make great accents to pages and great reminders from their parties. I have also cut the words off and used them for titles on the tops of pages and under pictures.

2.  Print your own quotes
– I get nice colored card stock and find my quotes online. I then cut them out with decorative scissors and glue them on my pages.