The Haircuts

I wanted to do a full blown photoshoot of SJ and I with our new haircuts, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon. It gets dark so early and we’re all busy with the Holidays and what not. Anyway, enough yackin’. How about I just show what photos I do have?

I know this is a “fancy” look, but it’s probably one of the best ones I have that shows the previous length.
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And here is SJ’s before. If she tilted her head back her hair would touch her butt. It was long (except for the part she cut herself which, is almost grown out. Ugh.).

 

And here is my after photo.

 

 

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and here are a couple of SJ after.

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We went to separate places, but on the same day. It was a special mommy daughter event and she really loved every bit of it.
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I’m not sure if we will maintain the new looks or just do what we usually do, which is let it grow and grow. For now it’s it definitely makes getting ready in the mornings much easier.

So those are our haircuts. I’m sure I’ll have some better photos when we’re dressed up for Christmas. When I do get more photos I will make sure I don’t keep them to myself.

By | December 10th, 2015|My Life|4 Comments

Dramatic Haircuts on the Way

Everyone has different priorities and it just so happens that in this family we don’t place a lot of value in haircuts. Some of you are probably thinking and it shows. I have a lot of respect for my friends who are stylist and someday when I have more money I’ll take care of my hair, but for now I’m just kind of meh about it. It’s dead to me (because hair is pretty much dead).

So the guys in the family get haircuts at home. Evie recently had a big change actually.

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It was even longer than it was in this picture. It was really shaggy and in his face. I wanted to get it done before baby Elle came, but we all know she came before I was ready. So J cut it.

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and here he is with his big brother do.

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I’ve wanted to get SJ’s hair cut for a long time, and at one point she agreed. Except come to find out she wanted her hair cut to be “long and yellow”. In other words she wanted Rapunzel’s hair.

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When I explained that hair cut means her hair would get shorter she protested. She was not interested UNTIL… I said I was going to get my haircut short. Now she’s on board. I always chop my locks after having a baby because I shed SOOOOO much. There are long hairs tangled up in the baby’s hands, in the shower, in the dryer (all wadded and knotted up) hair all over the back of my jacket, hair in my food.

HAIR. HAIR. HAIR everywhere. I can’t stand it.

So If I am going to loose that much hair I would rather it be a little shorter. My plan is to go from this

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to this

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SJ’s cut will be about the same. I tried to get her involved in picking what she wanted, but even though she understands about the length it seems she still thinks she gets to choose the color which is odd because I don’t color my hair. So as we are looking through potential hairstyles she says very matter of factly with a serious face that she wants this one. 

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I say That one? as I point to the colorful pixie cut on the screen and she looks at it and nods yes. I asked her if it was because of the color and she said yes. She was not laughing she just wants My Little Pony hair and it’s not that strange to her.

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I made two separate appointments for Tuesday so it’s official. The hair is going to go. I will be sure to post the after pictures next week. I don’t plan for either of us to get rainbow colors, but we’ll see.

By | December 4th, 2015|Frugal Living|4 Comments

Why You Should Renovate Your Bathroom


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It’s most likely the first room you head towards when you wake up and potentially the last room you leave before going to bed at night. It’s the bathroom.

With the Holidays upon us and New Year’s resolutions right around the corner it’s the perfect time to think about sprucing up your home with some remodeling projects and what better place to start than your bathroom?

Why should you renovate your bathroom?

Several reasons.

  1. It should be a sanctuary. Whether it’s a steamy shower on a cold winter day or a relaxing bath, everyone deserves to have a bathroom they can consider a spa or a retreat. That’s hard to do if it’s outdated and not functional.
  2. It’s a fairly small space to tackle. The average bathroom is typically one of the smaller rooms in the home. This makes a major remodel a little more realistic.
  3. It increases the resale value of your home. When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck bathrooms and kitchens are going to be your best bet as a renovation investment. Updating these two rooms will help increase equity. What’s not to love about that?

Once you’ve decided you’re ready to take on the bathroom renovation then you need to come up with a bathroom design plan.

Think about your bathroom lighting, fixtures, and furnishings.

Dream big. There is nothing stopping you at this point from having fun with your design. Once you’ve got an idea of all the things you want for your bathroom design then you can narrow it down to a more concrete plan. This is the part where you can decide what really works for you and the specific space that you have to work with.

You’ll need to figure out how much you want to change, how much you can spend, and what you can realistically do on your own according to your skill set.

As someone who has remodeled multiple bathrooms watched my husband do multiple bathroom remodels I wish we would have known about PlumbTile.com sooner. This is the place to get all of those must have dream items on your bathroom wish list.

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Not only do they have a huge selection, but shipping is FREE, there is no sales tax (outside of California), and they have guaranteed price matching.

I got really excited about this website and so did J once I showed it to him. Seriously, you need to go check it out!

I am really looking forward to our next bathroom remodel now and I think you’ll feel the same way after you see all that PlumbTile has to offer. They are an authorized retailer, with exceptional costumer service available online or on the phone, and I already mentioned the low price guarantee. You can’t go wrong.

Go to PlumbTile.com and start designing your dream bathroom today.

By | November 23rd, 2015|Creativity, Frugal Living, Projects|4 Comments

Elle’s Birth Story

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When I planned to have my baby at a birthing center that was an hour from our house I got a lot of different reactions from concerned people thinking that would be too far of a drive. However, this was my 4th baby and all three of my other pregnancies and deliveries were pretty consistent. So I felt like I knew my body well enough to get there with time to spare.

Monday (November 9th) gave me NO indication that I was anywhere close to being in labor. It was nothing like my other births where I had mild contractions that built all day long. Nothing was happening. Not even braxton hicks. Plus I was only 37 weeks along.

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That night I fell asleep earlier than usually, but I woke up at 10:30 pm and that’s when things got weird.

I was confused by the signs. I had lower back pain and some pressure, but I hadn’t had any contractions. I told J (my husband) that I didn’t feel good and then I felt the first contraction at 10:41 pm.

I called my parents to come stay with the kids who were asleep in bed. I had only had one measly contraction at this point, but my parents live an hour and a half away and I just knew something was up! I tried to relax in a bath which is supposed to slow things down if it’s false labor, but instead I just started freaking out. Not because of contractions, but because I felt pressure. I felt nauseous. I was trembling and it looked an awful lot like transition!

I told J that I was scared and I wanted to go to a closer hospital. I had no idea where or what that would be. I felt so confused and panic set in. J said we just needed to get in the car and go, but I was insistent that we couldn’t go because I didn’t want to bring the kids.

At about 11:40 pm we loaded up the van with our partially packed bags and three groggy kids who were all in footie pajamas. My parents would have to meet us at the birth center. The contractions were strong, but they were still only 10 minutes apart and I was relieved because I assumed that meant we would have plenty of time.

About 11:50 things started getting intense. I was praying out loud. I would sing worship songs through contractions and really tried to stay focused.

Moments later the contractions were coming one on top of the other. As soon as one would stop another would begin and I vocalized this to J. Then we began to pray. I started praying with authority

“Lord, you are in control. I trust in you! I will not have this baby in the car. We are going to make it to the hospital in JESUS NAME. Labor has to stop until we get to safety!”

I was declaring very specific things and I can look back and laugh at it now, but I was serious about it. I have never wanted an unassisted birth. I was not comfortable with the idea of having the baby in the car.

Then when we were about 15 miles away I knew God wasn’t answering my prayer in the way I was hoping. The baby was coming. There is no fighting it. I had done this before and when the baby is ready to be born you can not stop it. So I gave in, and let me tell you the grace and peace of God was all over that van. My mindset changed to being very assertive. It’s weird. I became my own midwife and I narrated everything that was happening out loud. I can’t tell you why I did this, but hey, it worked out.

Here is the dialogue that transpired. J and I were both completely calm. It had to have been the Holy Spirit because even the kids were calm (one was asleep).

Me: Okay. I feel the urge to push. I am taking off my seat belt. I am going to have to take off my pants now. 

I had on a long T-shirt and a sweatshirt, and I quickly removed my cotton sweat pants. I was in the front passenger seat with my body slightly tilted and right leg lifted up and apart from my left. Luckily I had brought a towel and had it under me.

J: Do you want me to pull over?

Me: No, by the time the paramedics get here we would have already been to the hospital. Just keep driving.

Plus it was a dangerous freeway and dark and rainy. We both felt this was a safer option given our proximity to the hospital.

J: Do you need any light?

Me: No.

Then I reach down to see if I am imagining it, but I do feel the top of the baby’s head crowning.

Me: Okay I feel the head.

After another contraction her head was out and I had my hands gently cupping her head.

Me: The head is out. Alright. We need the body to come out now. Come on baby girl with the next contraction I am going to push the body out.

Another contraction and a slight push from me. I felt the shoulders and the body being pushed out. I kept my right hand under her head and my left hand scooped her up under her armpit and behind her back.

Me: I am going to wrap her in my pants and put her on my chest now.

And I did

J: She is crying. Good. Does it look like she’s okay?

Me: Yes, she’s fine.

I looked over at my husband as I held my now calm daughter who was so peaceful and perfect. Everything was quiet as we rode along in the dark .

Me: Is this real? Did that really happen… or am I in a dream?

J: Yes. It’s real.

 

After that we called the birth center (which is inside of a hospital by the way). This was at 12:27 am. There was a team of nurses with a wheel chair waiting for us at the entrance. I felt like a million bucks as we rolled up and they congratulated me and helped me get my shoes back on. I was fully prepared to hop out of the car when it hit me. The adrenaline drained from my body. I was light headed. I felt pain. My “super powers” were gone and I was bleeding. I know that sounds so dramatic, but it really did happen like that.

Since I couldn’t get out of the car they had to put me on a stretcher and roll me into the hospital where a Doctor would check on me and the baby. That’s when I delivered the placenta.

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They reminded me to breath and as I did I felt relief. It was over and we were both doing fine, but I knew it would be a while before it all really sunk in.

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My parents showed up shortly after that. We all chatted in the hospital room and watched in awe as they washed, weighed, and measured the miraculous little package that had turned our world upside down.

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I didn’t expect her to be 2 weeks early. I didn’t expect the labor to be so fast. I wasn’t prepared for any of it. Still, God is Faithful and in the end I am really glad our entire family was together in the brand new mini van that no one is allowed to even eat or drink in! It was really special.

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So that’s my fourth birth story.

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There’s the one at the birth center, the one in the bathtub at home, the one at the hospital, and now the one in a moving vehicle. Yes there are more options for birth locations, but I think that’s enough adventures for me, at least of this nature.

 

The End.

Or in Ellis’s case the beginning.

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By | November 15th, 2015|My Life, Natural Living, Pregnancy & Birth|52 Comments

She’s Here

The review I posted Wednesday was already written and scheduled, other than that I haven’t blogged at all since Monday November 9th when I announced baby Elle’s name. The reason for this is because I had baby Elle on Monday night. Technically it was Tuesday morning because it was about 12:25 am when she arrived. There is so much more to the story. SOOOOO MUCH. But for now I just wanted to a quick blog announcement and I will be back next week with lots of photos and updates. Love you all. Have a great weekend!

 

Messy Mom announcement edit

By | November 13th, 2015|Babies, My Life, Pregnancy & Birth|6 Comments

Super Amazing Wonderful Praise Report

 

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This is the picture that was on the website.

We got a van. That’s the big news.

I know it may not sound exciting, but it is.

We are still pinching ourselves disbelief and it’s just crazy how it all came together. I really want to give all the nerdy mom with new van details along with photos, but I’ll save that for another post. Right now I just want to get down to what the significance is of all this.

In short, God is faithful. He is so good. He has always been good to us and I will continue to praise him in the midst of any circumstances, but to see his hand at work for our family over the past 4 months is miraculous!

I commissioned you all to pray back in June when I wrote “Prayers to the God of Miracles” Here is an excerpt

“The baby is coming in 5 months and all we need is a car, a house, and a job. No big deal. I say no big deal sarcastically, but it truly is not a big deal for God.

So here we go again. We need a house, a van, and a job. We need a miracle. Will join me in praying and believing for that?”

So there I was expecting a 4th child living in a two bedroom third story apartment, driving a 5 passenger car, with almost no income coming in at all. Let’s just say I was battling with some fear and doubt in a major way.

However,  in Matthew 17:20 Jesus says “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”

I want to give all the glory to God for the mountains he has moved for us. In July we moved into a house. In September J got a job, and then last night we got a van. Not just any house or job or van either. It was the house, and the job, and the van. That doesn’t mean they are perfect, but they just right for us and they all came just in time.

For example the house happened right before our lease was up on the apartment. And it’s nothing fancy believe me, but it is like night and day compared to living in the apartment with no yard, no washer/dryer, three flights of stairs to haul children, groceries etc up everyday (I could go on about other things I don’t miss, but I digress). The best part about our new place is there is an awesome christian family next door that also has young children and they have been so wonderful. When they first met us they told us that they had been praying for God to send the right family to move in next door. They prayed us in and it has been such a blessing.

I already shared the testimony of how J’s job fell into place at just the right time!

Lastly, we have searched far and wide for the right van. There was even one in Texas that J sent his brother to go look at for us, but it sold before we got to it. We looked at vans online and in car lots. There were plenty of options, but nothing that was just right. I was willing to settle though so we made lists of pros and cons for each vehicle and we were constantly calling  the credit union which has pretty strict stipulations about what they would approve.

Nothing was working out and we were starting to stress because we knew we needed a van in order to fit all four kids in one vehicle, and the baby is coming in less than a month. Then J found one that he sent me a link to and I was immediately in love with everything about it. I didn’t feel this way about any of the other vans.
It hit all the marks on my wish list and all of the qualifications for the loan (year and mileage) and guess where the van was located? 1.5 miles from our house! Who knows where the dealership bought it from, but God brought it right to us.

I don’t know why everything has to be such a close call. I am planner. If I had my way this would have been lined up long before we ever even thought about “trying” to have another baby. I guess I still need some growth in the area of trusting the Lord!

Anyway, that’s the super amazing wonderful praise report. Thanks to everyone who has prayed for us and even just stood with us in the trials. I feel so grateful and we are truly blessed.

By | October 29th, 2015|My Life|8 Comments

What I’m Reading

My library trips have slowed down quite a bit since school started, but I still have instant access to ebooks and audio books so I’ve been mostly sticking with that.

By the way, a little update that I briefly mentioned on Facebook. I temporarily lost a library book. I am usually pretty good about getting stuff back on time, but this book seemed to be completely missing and I could not find it anywhere! I had already renewed it a couple times and I was freaking out. I sorted through all the clutter around my nightstand. I was tossing junk over my shoulder, and sifting through papers and tossing piles of books off of each shelve muttering out loud about I had JUST seen it! How could this happen!? The irony of the whole story is that this is the book that was missing.

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Secrets of an Organized Mom. Doh.

The good news is I did eventually find it weeks later, but I never finished reading it. I obviously never learned anything from it either.

The last book I did read (or I guess I listened to) was called Kiss by Ted Dekker.

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At the beginning of the year I asked Messy Mom followers what I needed to read in 2015 and one of you mentioned this author. It’s taken me almost all year to get to it, and he’s not my usual cup of tea, but it was fun to change it up. Ted Dekker is a New York Times best selling christian author who mostly focuses on Fictional mystery thriller stuff. Surprisingly Kiss was the second mystery I had read in row actually. This is totally out of the norm for me! I just finished Girl on a Train and then went straight into Kiss.

J actually read Kiss first and he never reads novels. EVER. That’s all it took for him to be hooked on Ted Dekker though. Not only Dekker, but audio books. It’s been fun to talk about what we are reading and to have some else understand the importance of a good narrator to read an audio book and the speed of the reading etc. Seriously. Don’t even get me started. We’re nerds.

J just finished reading Black, which is also by Ted Dekker and I started it, but I just can’t get into it.

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It’s too much fantasy for me, but even as I type this on my laptop with J sitting beside me he is convincing me that I just need to give Black one more shot, promising that it picks up. Fine. I’ll give it a try honey, but only because you’re cute and I want to impress you. But it doesn’t mean I’m about to do a Lord of the Rings marathon or anything.  IMG_9742

Alright, so now I want to hear what you are reading and if you have any suggestions. I will probably have more time when I am recovering from birth and breastfeeding around the clock.

I have Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love on hold at the library and I’ve heard so many great things about that one.

Now your turn. Are you a reader? Do you and your spouse ever read the same books? Are you a hard copy, audio, or kindle kind of reader? I’m always looking for suggestions on what to read next!

By | October 20th, 2015|My Life|11 Comments

Update on “The Jeremy and Natalies”

I have some exciting news to share with all of you, but before I get right to the announcement let me start with some interesting facts about my “unique” family.

Close to 15 years ago I married J, the love of my life. Although, I call him J for short on the blog his name is actually Jeremy. I also have a brother named Jeremy, so everyone also thought that was funny.

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Almost 10 years later my brother Jeremy married the love of his life who happens to be named Natalie (which is also mine name).

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That’s right. Two brother in laws named Jeremy who are both married to a Natalie. Out of the three of us siblings half of us have the same names. It’s weird, but we’re pretty used to it.

Shortly after I was pregnant with my 2nd child I found out the other Jeremy and Natalie were pregnant with their 1st. We both had girls.

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They are 4 months apart and currently the cutest and best of friends at 5 years old.

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They are both in Kindergarten and loosing teeth at the same time!

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We seem to take turns having babies back to back. The ages from left to right (for the photo below which was taken this weekend) are 8, 5, 5, 3, 3, 1. Although some of those numbers are about to change with birthdays quickly approaching.

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Most of you know I am expecting our 2nd daughter who is due in 43 days (not that I’m counting), but a lot of you don’t know that my sister in law Natalie is also expecting again. We don’t know the gender yet, but I am so thrilled that we get to be pregnant together one more time and our babies will once again be just a few months apart!

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8, 5, 5, 3, 3, 1, due in November, due in March.

We get a lot of comments and questions from friends and strangers. One year they even threw in a joke about us in the annual Christmas comedy sketch at church. So far no one has offered us our own reality show, which is for the best. I don’t think the world is ready for that.

It’s been a fun to watch our families and kids grow and in a way we’ve just begun. These next two will make 8 grandchildren in 8 years for my mom and dad.

I know they couldn’t be happier.

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By | October 12th, 2015|Babies, Family, My Life|5 Comments

10 Ways to Save Money on Your Costume Stash

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In my dream home there would be a play room with a costume closet and I’d have a little stage and dress up area. For now a box full of costumes and a big dose of imagination is just as good. Our stash includes a variety of characters in each size from youngest to oldest, but it’s taken a while to get to that point.

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Our first Halloween as parents. Z was less than 2 months old

I have gone into some of those speciality stores and found really simple kids costumes for 50 bucks! I am way too cheap to invest that kind of money into play clothes. Instead I have tried to get deals when they come up.

Here are 10 ways to stock up on costumes without breaking the bank.

1. Buy used

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This one is obvious! I buy almost everything used anyway, but always keep an eye out for costumes at thrift stores, consignment shops, and yard sales. That’s where you are going to find the best deals. Some of them have hardly ever (maybe even never) been worn.

2. Shop Babies R Us

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I know that is so randomly specific, but almost all of my toddler costumes came from Babies R Us either right before Halloween or right after. They are so stinkin’ cheap when they are marked down. I am talking like three dollars! Of course now that I make that announcement they won’t have any deals this year and you guys can throw tomatoes at me for leading you astray. I hope that’s not the case though.

3. Consider a cow costume

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One of the costumes I got for $2.50 at Babies R Us was a baby cow costume which has gotten us several free meals on Chic-fil-A cow days. So if you know you are into that it doesn’t hurt to have a few cow costumes in your stash because kids love ’em and they pay for themselves. In our case we have gotten almost $200 worth of free meals over the past 6 years thanks to dressing like a cow.

4. Make your own

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I am not that crafty in this area. My mom is the one who does all the sewing and she has made some super cute costumes. The one of SJ as a gnome will always be a favorite of mine! She also made all but one of the cow costumes above. It doesn’t have to be that elaborate though. There are so many ideas on pinterest you could just go crazy with all the cheap and easy options.

5. Christmas gift costumes

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One good thing about giving costumes as Christmas gifts is that you get them on clearance the month before! You save money by killing two birds with one stone when you get a Christmas present and Halloween costume all at once. 

6. The child pays for their own costume

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Seriously! If you have chores or jobs for your kids (which I highly recommend) that doesn’t mean they should just blow it all on junk toys that will end up lost or broken within weeks. I often have my kids earn things that I would have otherwise paid for like a birthday present for their friend’s party, or a book from the book fair, or their HALLOWEEN COSTUME. When Z was 5 he saved up for a mario costume that he wore several years in a row. This helps kids learn the value of things rather than just having it appear via mom and dad. They feel proud and accomplished and it saves money because you get child labor out of it (I’m joking).

7. Pajamas

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Costume pajamas are so popular right now. You can’t go anywhere without seeing pajamas that look like a super hero or a princess. And then there are those huge onesies that look like animals and all that. I saw several people wearing those for halloween last year and we’ve done this too. It saves money when your costume can double as pajamas.

8. Borrow

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Borrowing a costume will not help you build your private collection, but if you have an idea in mind for a special costume don’t feel like you have to go purchase all the pieces! Z’s school had a mother son costume night last October and we were able to borrow all this western wear. It worked out perfectly and we didn’t have to spend a dime. If it’s not something you think you are going to use over and over then save your dough!

9. Repurposesj tea party

Remember dressing up in stuff from the old trunk in grandma’s attic? Me neither, but it happens in the movies. Anyway, if there is an old neck tie, dress, hat, or sunglasses etc. that you are thinking about throwing out consider whether it could work for the costume box before sending off to goodwill.  Same applies to old dance or sports uniforms.

10. Pass it along

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When you have multiple kids then you can get multiple uses out of each costume. It’s been fun to watch Ezie wear some of the costumes that belonged to Z. We’ve had other people bless us with some of their old costumes too and I plan to pay it forward with anything that is left in decent condition once my kids are all grown up. Although, that’s really, REALLY far away and I don’t want to think about it right now!

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Those are all my tips for accumulating a costume collection on the cheap. It doesn’t even have to be for Halloween, but this certainly is a great time of year to be thinking about it.

 

 

By | October 9th, 2015|Frugal Living|12 Comments

Family Friendly Fun for FREE!

It’s October! Unfortunately that means dodging creepy-bloody-death decorations everywhere, but it is also one of my favorite times of year because I LOVE fall and I love costumes. I almost can’t even handle all the imaginative creativity and cuteness every year when I see kids dressed up.

There are also so many  activities going on that you can wear your costumes to. Here are three of the free family friendly dress up activities we’ll be participating in again this year.

Chucktober

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If your child wears a costume to Chuck E. Cheese ANY day in October you get 50 free tickets. That’s 150 free tickets between my three kiddos. We went over and over again last year. The kids wore different costumes every time (we’ve accumulated a collection which I’ll talk about tomorrow). I bought a handful of tokens ONE time that they used very sparingly throughout the month. The fun of Chuck E. Cheese is only amplified when you get to make believe!

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Ikea

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Our local Ikea is hosting their trick or treat event on a Tuesday October 27th (the day kids eat free in the cafe!) You can get more use out of your costume while going from station to station collecting candy and doing crafts and having a free meal. Check your local Ikea, mall, and retailers for events like this that could be happening throughout the month.

Church

Our church does a trunk-or-treat fall festival every Halloween. It’s always a lot of fun. I’ve lived a lot of places and no matter where we are there are always tons of free church, school, library, and community organized activities available at no cost. So I’m sure that there is something near you. Some of these options are also great if the weather is bad, which seems to happen a lot here in Ohio!

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So even though you may not have the same exact events available in your area, check online (or click the links above for more details on the three I’ve mentioned here). Between that and all the farms and pumpkin patches there is sure to be something going on all month long that lets you have some super frugal family time.

Why not get more than just one use out of those costumes?

 

By | October 8th, 2015|Frugal Living|6 Comments