Design Books for the Home

Can I tell you a secret? I am a TERRIBLE decorator. It’s one of those homemaking areas that I feel I should be better at, but I’m not. Some women seem to have no problem making their home beautiful, and I’m over here just trying to keep the mess at bay.

One of the things I’ve been working on slowly, very slowly, is decluttering. God has been working on my heart lately and helping me to “cut the apron strings” to my stuff. It is just stuff. Actually, it’s not just stuff anymore. It is stuff I’m tired of managing. I don’t want to be a manager of stuff anymore. Hence, the decluttering.

The slow part comes from my learning to stick with a project and work on it in manageable chunks. I’ve come to realize that I’m an all or nothing kind of girl and that doesn’t really work so well in the homemaking realm. So, I’ve been slowly working on getting things decluttered and cleaned as I can.

I’m still in the laundry room. Sigh.

Slow and steady wins the race, right? I sure hope so!

What does all of this have to do with design books for the home? Well, in my quest to de-clutter, I am also wanting to create a more beautiful home. One that has personality (like I like to think I have) and that my family finds comforting. I also want to do some DIY projects.

Design Books for the Home | Vicki-Arnold.com

Enter, the books. I actually am not even sure how I ended up with this particular selection from the library. It probably started with Amazon and then holds being placed at the library. This is a pretty common occurrence for me. Just ask my husband.

In the instance that you might find yourself in the mood for some inspiration, I thought I would share the list with you.

Design Books for the Home

It’s kind of funny to me that each of these books is by a blogger.

Happy Handmade Home by Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman – What I love about this one is it isn’t just decor. There are DIY projects, informational type articles on design how-to’s, and entertaining recipes. Some of the projects aren’t my style, but the general ideas can be tweaked to fit. There are several sections like Cloth Napkins 9 Ways (also mugs, vases, terra cotta pots, etc.) that are super fun.

Blog: A Beautiful Mess

Young House Love by Sherry and John Petersik – This book is full of great ways to update your home, 243 of them specifically. They have a handy little key for each one that gives you cost, time, and work in a bar chart, making it really easy to see at a glance how time consuming or expensive a project is. A LOT of them are free or cheap.

I am also really enjoying their commentary throughout the book. It’s a fun read.

Blog: Young House Love (though technically they aren’t blogging anymore, there are over 3,000 posts to sift through)

The $50 Home Makeover by Shaunna West – This one is mostly individual projects that you can make fit your style. I love the story behind her blog and book. Not all the projects are my cup of tea, but I wouldn’t expect them to be. There are a few that utilize washi tape, which I have only just recently discovered the greatness of, and a couple for Ikea furniture hacks.

Blog: Perfectly Imperfect

Design*Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney

I’m pretty sure Design*Sponge is considered THE original home decor/styling blog. It’s one of the very first blogs I ever read years ago. I am pretty sure it was their Biz Ladies series. But that is not the point here.

This book is so cool because it is a tour of so many living spaces from so many people. It is really neat. A great one to get visual inspiration from people who know what they are doing, or at least pretend really well.

Blog: Design*Sponge

And now that I’ve listed these, I remembered a book that my husband and I came across at the library once that was a lightbulb moment for us. It put a name to our style that we hadn’t heard before. And I CAN’T REMEMBER WHAT IT IS! I do believe some browsing will be happening at the library very soon.

Do you have some favorite design books for the home? Please share them with me!

Frugal Family Dinners – Beans

You can’t not think of beans when you think of frugal family dinners. Dry beans are very economical, even organic ones. It’s a great way to save money on feeding your family.

The PROBLEM with beans, for me anyways, is that I can never think of how to actually fix them. I’m sort of on a mission to whittle down our food costs and I want to take advantage of the economical protein that is beans.

So I took to the internet to find some options.

Frugal Family Dinners - Beans - 40+ recipes to help stretch your food budget.

Frugal Family Dinners – Beans

I’m going to do my best to organize these, but there is some overlap.

Meatless Bean Recipes

Or mostly meatless.

Beans as Meal Stretchers

Or recipes with meat and beans.

Chilies with Beans

Slow Cooker Bean Recipes

Bean Side Dishes

Beans for Breakfast

Yes, seriously. (And yes, I realize this post is called frugal family dinners…)

There you go. Over 40 frugal family dinner ideas for beans. I have added a few to my list to try, which ones do you think you would try?

Sewing Tutorials for Boys

Sewing is a great skill for both boys and girls, so I hunted down some sewing tutorials for boys. Most sewing tutorials you can find are for women, girls, and babies. Since I have a boy, I thought finding him some more boy-ish sewing tutorials would be a good thing.

Just a couple notes: these are sewing tutorials for boys to sew, but I’m sure they would make good gifts, too. The level of difficulty in these patterns range quite a bit. Some are good for hand sewing, others for beginner machine work. Use your best judgement on where your young man is when choosing a tutorial.

Sewing Tutorials for Boys from Vicki-Arnold.com

Sewing Tutorials for Boys

  • DIY Tic Tac Toe Game from Raising Memories – This is a great beginner project. Super simple instructions and few necessary materials. Hand sewing project.
  • Superhero Mask from Crazy Little Projects – A machine is used for this one and it is a bit more complicated of a project.
  • Make a Sleeping Bag for a Stuffed Animal by It’s Always Autumn- Maybe your little guy has a special buddy that would like his own sleeping bag? Machine project.
  • Ninjago Pillow Case from Crazy Little Projects – Transform a plain pillowcase into their favorite ninja. A machine project that would be good for trying a new stitch.
  • Stuffed Ninja from Cheer Up Your Kids – This could be done with a machine or by hand.
  • DIY Felt Campfire from Twin Dragonfly Designs – Hand or machine. A bit more involved because of the number of pieces, but a fun project!
  • Single Sock Dog Tutorial from Little Black Teapot – Have a decent mismatched sock floating around? Turn it into a stuffed dog. Hand or machine.
  • Shark Bag from Stitched by Crystal – A more advanced project simply. Machine.
  • Scarf with Pockets from A Girl and a Glue Gun – Another great beginner project. This would make a good first machine project.
  • How to Sew a Bookmark from Skip to My Lou – This is a great project that is all about your fabric, meaning once they make themselves a couple, they can make them for gifts and simply change out the fabric used.
  • Easy Felt iPod Case from Skip to My Lou – A good easy project for hand or machine.
  • Make a Drawstring Bag from Make and Takes – Beginner project, good for hand or machine sewing. Lots of uses for this: marbles, LEGOs, crayons, etc.

So there you have it, a short list of 12 sewing tutorials for boys. I was a bit surprised, but not really surprised that there isn’t a lot of options available for boys. Something to think about, I guess. Anywho, I hope you find something to intrigue the sewing boy in your life!

Printable Household Planners

Printable household planners can be a lifesaver. Keeping up with the organization of a household can feel overwhelming at times. There are things that need cleaned, meals that need cooked, activities that need to be attended, and holidays to plan. It’s a lot, yo.

If you are anything like me, digital planners and the like are fine and dandy, but they don’t really work for you. I’m a pen and paper kind of gal. I’m a lots of pens and lots of paper kind of gal. I’ve dived headfirst into this super awesome world of planners and I can not wait to tell you more about all that, but that’s not the point of today’s post.

45 Printable Household Planners | Vicki-Arnold.com

Printable Household Planners

Today! Today I have a list of printable household planners for you. And I’m a bit excited about them. I’ve tried to organized them to make it easier to find just what you are looking for. Let me know in the comments if you find one that is just right for you or if you are still needing something different and I’ll see if I can hook you up!

Complete Printable Packs

Daily Printables

Weekly Printables

Monthly Calendars

Cleaning Planners

Meal Planners

Money Management Printables

Outside the House Planning Printables

More Household Management Printables

Other Free Printable Collections

As is bound to happen in the research process, I came across a few other round-ups of free household printables. Here they are:

Printable household planners are a great tool for homemaking. Seeing things on paper often makes prioritizing easier. It’s also pretty darn satisfying to check things off a list. Give one of these planners a shot and see if it helps you feel more organized!

How to Save Money for Christmas With No Extra Money

Do you find yourself scrambling every November or December trying to figure out how to pay for Christmas? Do you find yourself wondering how to save money for Christmas when you have no extra money?

There is a lot of wisdom in scaling back to only the necessities, giving gifts that don’t cost anything, and focusing on important elements of Christmas like family, serving others, and Jesus Christ. If you are feeling led to do this, please follow that.

If you are simply wanting to take some strain off your finances at the end of the year by planning ahead, I’d like to help you with that.

How to Save Money for Christmas When You Have No Extra Money | Vicki-Arnold.com

How to Save Money for Christmas

The simplest way to save money for Christmas is to figure up a budget (how much you want to spend on Christmas) and then divide it up by the number of paychecks you have left before you will need the money. That will give you the exact amount you need to save each paycheck in order to have the cash you need on hand when the time comes.

If you are just looking for some general how to save money for Christmas ideas, you could try one of these ideas:

  • Change jar. Collect all your change throughout the year in a jar.
  • $5 bill challenge. Save every $5 bill that comes through your hands. (My Dad does this.)
  • Try a graduated savings plan. Save $1 this week, save $2 next week, $3 the week after. OR try doubling it each week: week one is $1, week 2 is $2, week 3 is $4, etc.
  • Use coupons and save the money savings in a Christmas account.

Apps & Websites for Saving Money

If you don’t want to or can’t use one of these systems, or if you want to do more, then giving a savings app or website a try could be worth it. What is great about a lot of these is that you can earn cash back on things you are already purchasing. Here is a list of some that I know about and/or use:

Walmart’s Savings Catcher

Walmart has an app where you can scan your receipts and they will automatically price check for you. It is super easy to use and is free in the App store. I’ve used this since the last week of December and have accumulated $6.69 in money that I would not normally get back because I never price matched things before. I also do not do my grocery shopping at Walmart currently so I am not a frequent shopper. If you are, I’d expect your savings to be more.

Ibotta

Ibotta is another smart phone app where you scan your receipts to receive cash back incentives on grocery shopping items. You scan through the list of available rebates ranging from $.25 on milk or paper towels to $10 for a TOMS purchase. Some of the offers are for specific stores or websites, but some are available for multiple stores and even brands (like milk).

There is a teamwork aspect to Ibotta, as well. When you connect with friends on the app, you can earn bonus rebates. If you do sign up, please use my referral code to join my team and we can work together. My referral code: nciuuwm. You get a referral code when you sign up to refer friends, too.

Ebates

I’ve sung the praises of Ebates before (websites every frugal shopper needs). Basically, if you shop online, you need Ebates. You receive cash back on purchases when you first click through the link on Ebates. Not every store is on there, but there are a LOT that are. Be sure to check those out. If you use your smart phone to shop online, be sure to download their app so you get the rebates still.

They also have a referral program where you can earn bonuses for telling your friends about their service.

Swagbucks

Swagbucks is another website I’ve recommended before and there is good reason I still recommend it. The very basis of Swagbucks is that you use their search engine instead of say Google or Yahoo to search online. Randomly you are rewarded Swagbucks. You can then redeem these Swagbucks for gift cards at various stores.

Swagbucks has two apps in addition to the website: the main app is where you can answer a daily poll (and earn 1 swagbuck) and manage your account; and the SBTV app where you can watch videos to earn Swagbucks.

A few other ways to earn Swagbucks (there are more):

  • Printing & using coupons
  • Watching videos
  • Taking surveys
  • Playing games

Swagbucks also has a referral program, so you earn Swagbucks for referring friends.

Snap by Groupon

Snap is from Groupon, which is an awesome site, too. This is a new one for me. You scan through the offers before you shop, selecting the ones you will be purchasing, and then snap a photo of the receipt to redeem the offers. When you hit $20, you can request a check. The thing I like most about this one is that you can shop at any store! The thing I did not like is that the offers that I was interested in were “All Gone” so we’ll see how often they update those.

I have the app, but you can also use it on your desk/laptop via the website. Again, there is a referral program.

Checkout 51

This is another new app for me, but I’ve already earned $3 in 24 hours. I don’t think that will likely happen every day, but it’s off to a good start. These offers update every Thursday and you have to purchase the items and upload your receipts while the offer is still live.

Tips for Using Money Saving Apps

You’ll not likely amass large quantities of money with these apps and websites, but you can definitely put a dent in your holiday shopping budget. Here are a few tips to make the most of your time.

  • Read the rules for each app and offer. You don’t want to waste your time picking up items only to find that you needed to buy them at a different store to get the rebate.
  • Stack offers. The great things about the apps is that you can use your coupons and sale prices in the store, then stack the rebate from the app on top of that.
  • Don’t buy things you don’t need, want, or use just to get the rebate. That isn’t savings. If you ever find yourself tempted to buy something just because there is a rebate, put the money you would have spent on it into your savings account or Christmas fund. You’ll save more money than the rebate and not have something hanging around that you don’t need (clutter!).

Don’t let this list overwhelm you, let it encourage you. Now you know how to save money for Christmas (or any other need) and not even feel it. Just pick one and learn how to use it well. Once you are able to use it without really thinking about it, try another. Those savings will add up!

5 Ways to Use Target’s Dollar Spot Items

I am a sucker for Target’s Dollar Spot. I am downright giddy if I happen to catch it when they are clearancing out items. I’ve picked up little board books for 25 cents when that happened! Since I love a good little round up, today I am sharing 5 ways to use Target’s Dollar Spot.

Oh, and the last giveaway for this week is tagging along on the bottom of the post…Target fans, you will not be disappointed.

If you have discovered the Dollar Spot already, you know how awesome it is. If you have never stopped in this little treasure trove, it is the little section when you walk in to a Target store. There are a variety of items (that change often), all priced at either $1 or $3. It is Ah-mazing.

But what can you do with all those wonderful goodies? I am so glad you asked.

5 Ways to Use Items from Target's Dollar Spot - Vicki-Arnold.com

5 Ways to Use Target’s Dollar Spot

Really, the options are endless simply because the items you find in the Dollar Spot are so varied. I am going to cover the few ways I have used these items today and you can probably look forward to seeing more ways showcased in the future.

  • Operation Christmas Child – This is a great spot to pick up items for your shoeboxes. Lots of little toys, stickers, socks, coloring books, and other items.
  • Homeschool organization – I have found gorgeous file folders, notebooks, baskets/buckets, and little containers in the Dollar Spot.
  • Planners – Up until this year, I used a month-at-a-glance calendar from the Dollar Spot for my blog planning. It worked and it was cheap. In addition to this handy calendar, there are loads of little papers, sticky notes, and stickers that you can use to decorate/add functionality to your planner. More on how I do this coming soon.
  • Journaling – For Christmas last year, I found some really awesome small journals for my kids. There were both lined papers and unlined papers, perfect for written or doodle journals.
  • Stocking stuffers – Similar to OCC, I have picked up many stocking stuffers from the dollar spot.

If you have any creative ways to use Target’s Dollar Spot items, share them in the comments! I’d love to hear them!

$450 Target Gift Card Giveaway

Target Gift Card Giveaway with Pretty Providence!
Hey everybody! Get excited, because today we are helping our friends at Pretty Providence celebrate their 3rd blog birthday with an amazing $450 Target Gift Card Giveaway! Who doesn’t love Target.. am I right? I personally could spend way too much time and money there if I let myself! Such a guilty pleasure, that store! Well one lucky winner will feel no guilt over their major shopping spree, can I get a woot woot?!

We have some of our seriously amazing blog friends helping us bring this giveaway to you today, and it wouldn’t be possible without them, so how about some quick introductions?!instagram giveaway logos

Pretty Providence || Mandy’s Recipe Box || Housewife Eclectic || The Things I Love Most || Simply Vicki ||Redefined Mom || Brunch with Joy || Feel Great in 8 || One Creative Mommy || My Mommy Style || Meg O. On the Go || Moms Without Answers || Meet Penny || My Life as Maya || Crazily Normal || Hawthorne and Main || A Cup Full of Sass || Snapshots and My Thoughts

Okay, now let’s get down to the goods! All you have to do to enter is follow the prompts on the rafflecopter below, and this one is so easy ! I mean, who doesn’t love some great new friends to follow on Instagram?!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck everybody! We hope YOU win ;)! Be sure to check back at Pretty Providence because they have tons of birthday posts and 5 live giveaways up to celebrate their blog birthday this week!

These Are a Few of My Favorite Lilla Rose Things + Another Giveaway

You may be noticing a theme this week. I haven’t done a good giveaway series since the 12 Days of Christmas in July two years ago now. So when the opportunity to give you all the chance to win some BIG prizes, I jumped on it. I love the blessings that giveaways can be.

Today I am sharing a few of my favorite Lilla Rose items and then there is a big giveaway for $125 in cash via PayPal!

My Favorite Lilla Rose Things

The main product of Lilla Rose is the flexi clip. This unique clip is so flexible and once you master the slight learning curve, it holds all day long. The size I wear most often is the mini because I wear my hair half up a lot.

These are a Few of My Favorite Lilla Rose Things | Vicki-Arnold.com

But Lilla Rose isn’t just about the awesome flexi clip. I recently ordered a hair band (head band) and a set of bobby pins to try. I love them both. The hair band actually stays put, unlike others that I have tried. They usually pop off my head if I happen to move it, which I do often.

The bobby pins are gorgeous! I will admit, I had a hard time spending several dollars on a pair of bobby pins. However, these aren’t tiny like the Goody bobby pins you find in the hair care section of your grocery store. They are over 2 inches long and hold firmly in my hair. I currently have one pair, but intend to buy more.

Enough chit chat, here is a short list of my favorite Lilla Rose things at the moment. I will go left to right, starting with the top row in the graphic.

Be sure to check out all the loveliness that is Lilla Rose. In addition to the flexis, bobbies, and hair bands, they also have hair sticks, you-pins, badge clips, and more.

$125 PayPal Cash Giveaway!

Paypal Cash Giveaway with Pretty Providence! Hey everybody! Get excited, because today we are helping our friends at Pretty Providence celebrate their 3rd blog birthday with an amazing $125 Paypal Cash Giveaway! A little extra cash never hurt anybody, am I right? Whether you need some cash because times are tight or you are gonna splurge on something fun, this giveaway is for you!

We have some of our seriously amazing blog friends helping us bring this giveaway to you today, and it wouldn’t be possible without them, so how about some quick introductions?!birthday-giveaway-twitter-logosMeet Penny || Tips From a Typical Mom || Pretty Providence || Simply Vicki || Moms Without Answers

Okay, now let’s get down to the goods! All you have to do to enter is follow the prompts on the rafflecopter below, and this one is so easy ! I mean, who doesn’t love some great new friends to follow on twitter?!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck everybody! We hope YOU win ;)! Be sure to check back at Pretty Providence because they have tons of birthday posts and 5 live giveaways up to celebrate their blog birthday this week!

5 Good Reads On Organization

Organization is one of those things I often struggle with. I love the process. In fact, that is just about my favorite part of anything, the planning process. Brainstorming, creating systems, setting goals…I love all of it.

It’s the follow through that I struggle with.

Never the less, I press on! I read all I can about homemaking, cleaning systems, and organization. I set up my own systems and little by little, I improve. There are days I get frustrated with just how little it is, but the grace of God carries me through.

5 Good Reads on Organization - Simply Vicki vicki-arnold.com

My blogging friend Marcy over at Ben and Me started a monthly link up that I thought was such a great idea last fall. Then life happened and not much blogging was going on here so I haven’t yet participated. But I am today!

The concept is simple, share 5 good reads each month on the fifth of the month. Any subject. If I read it in the last month and believe it should be shared with you, it goes. I intend to keep my 5 on the Fifth posts topical. This month I am sharing 5 good reads on organization.

5 Good Reads on Organization

10 Minutes to a Clutter Free Morning – Becoming a Minimalist

What I love about this post is that it is practical, a checklist of sorts. Printed out, this would give a nice visual checklist that the kids could even help with at night. You know, since most of the items are directly effected by them…

8 Ways to Get a Handle on Paper Clutter – Clean Mama

Paper clutter is the bane of my existence. I organize it in piles which is moderately effective. I can pretty much find things when needed, but no one else can and if a pile gets knocked over, all bets are off. These are much better options.

8 Clever Ways to Organize With Ikea - Decorating Your Small Space

My husband sort of hates Ikea, he finds it claustrophobic. I, on the other hand, LOVE it. I love the little rooms and displays. I love the colorful prints and fun designs. I LOVE coming across posts that use their products, both in the way they were meant to be used and Ikea “hacks.”

7 Ways I’m Minimizing Decision Fatigue in My Daily Life – Modern Mrs. Darcy

I keep thinking that #1 would make life so much easier, but then I also think boring. I really, really like #5 and think that needs to happen. And I appreciated the linen discussion at the end. ;)

6 Things I Do Every Day to Keep the House Clean – Clean Mama

I recently discovered Clean Mama and love it. I appreciated this list because it was equal parts encouragement that I am on the right track and keep going I can do better.

So those are my 5 good reads on organization for this month. I’m not sure what next month’s topic will be, but I have been reading a bit on homeschool already this month because of convention season starting. So there is a good chance that might happen.

If you liked this post, you might want to check out this one:

Organization ideas for the home - part 4 of 5 in the How Do I Teach Organization & Time Management Skills When I Have Neither? series