Thursday, August 2, 2012

Extreme Couponing at Target

I decided to give hip2save.com a try to see if I could save any money on everyday things I buy anyways. I went to Target today with all my coupons and saved a bunch! 

I didn't know this but you can use both the Target coupon (printable from coupons.target.com) AND the manufacturer's coupon (from the Sunday paper) on the same item.

Target is having a deal where you buy 5 Kellogg items, you get a $5 Target gift card. So, I did my purchases in different transaction to get the $5 gift card. I then turned around and used it right away on the next transaction. The cashier was happy that I sorted everything out to make it painless for him. The cashier even asked if I went to school on couponing because I got such good deals.  

Here's what I got:

Transaction #1:
2 Boxes of Mini Wheat Minis at $2.75 each
3 Boxes of Frosted Flakes at $2.75 each
* $1 off on 2 Boxes of Mini Wheats (Sunday paper coupon)
* $1 off on 3 Boxes of any Kellogg Cereal (Sunday paper coupon)
* $1 off on 3 Boxes of any Kellogg Cereal (Target coupon) 
* $5 Gift Card (Buy 5 Kellogg items, you get a $5 gift card)
Total after 5% Target Red Card purchase = $5.46 or $1.09/box

Transaction #2:
5 Boxes of Kellogg Nutrigrain Bars at $2.54 each
* $1 off of 2 Mfr Coupon
* $1 off of 3 Target Coupon 
* $5 Gift Card (Buy 5 Kellogg items, you get a $5 gift card)
Total after 5% Target Red Card purchase = $5.41 or $1.08/box
(Could have saved more if I had another mfr and Target coupon, but I forgot to cut it out)

Transaction #3:
5 Boxes of Kellogg Fiber Plus Bars at $2.54 each
* $1 off of 2 Target Coupon
* $1 off of 2 Target Coupon 
* $5 Gift Card (Buy 5 Kellogg items, you get a $5 gift card)
Total after 5% Target Red Card purchase = $5.41 or $1.08/box
(Could have saved more if I had cut out the mfr coupon from June)

Transaction #4 (Rest of my misc items):
Mossimo Long and Lean Tank: $5 ($3 off Target Coupon)
Papermate 10 pack of pens: Free (on sale plus $1 off Target coupon)
Market Pantry Fruit Snacks: $0.69 (on sale plus $1 off Target coupon)
Axe Spray: $3 (on sale plus $1 off mfr coupon)
Colgate Kids toothpaste: $1.36 (on clearance plus $0.50 off mfr coupon)
Carefree Pantyliner: Free (on sale plus $1 off mfr coupon)

Hip2save.com is awesome - she matches up coupons with sales to get you the best deals. It's worth a look if you have free time. There are a bunch of other printable coupons on coupons.target.com so check it out and see if you could use anything. 

Hope this helps someone! 



Saturday, July 28, 2012

DIY Three Tiered Beer Cake

If you're looking for a birthday, Valentine's Day or Father's Day gift for a guy who has everything, here's a quick and easy gift he'll be sure to love. Since it's summer, it could be even be a fun way to bring drinks over to a friend's house for a backyard bbq.

Supplies Needed:


* 24 Pack of Beer or Soda
* Cardboard
* 2 Spools of Ribbon
* Scissors, box cutters or exacto knife
* Hot Glue Gun

Here is how I separated the layers:

* Top Tier - 3 cans
* Middle Tier - 7 cans (6 around, 1 in the center)
* Bottom Tier - 14 cans (10 around, 3 to 4 in the center)

First, arrange the cans into the three layers on a table to see how big you would need to make the cardboard circles. To make round circles, you can use various sized plates or bowls to trace the circles. Cut out the circles using an exacto knife, box cutters or a strong pair of scissors. You can use any cardboard you have laying around the house. I just used an old Pampers box for cardboard - nothing fancy.

Next, line the cans on each layer of cardboard so you know where you want everything to go. Then, doing one can at a time, take one can out and quickly hot glue the bottom of the can to the cardboard. You have to be fast or else the glue may dry out especially if you use cold cans.

To put the layers together, glue the tops of the cans and place the layer on top.  Don't worry about glue being on top of the cans because the glue peels off easily. Wrap ribbon around each layer tightly and hot glue the ribbon. Put a ribbon on top and voila, you're done. I topped mine off with a small sign glued to a stick.

Overall, it's an inexpensive yet thoughtful gift that he'll get a kick out of. It's fairly fast to make and you may already have all the supplies in your house - just add the beer!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Catching Up

You could say my poor blog has been a little neglected lately. Somewhere between laundry, storytime, park dates, dinner and birthday parties, my blog has fallen through the cracks. I do want to start catching up before fall and winter is here again though. I have posts and projects piling up waiting to be shared. This will be on my summer bucket list. 


Anyways, Gabby's at such an interesting age right now. Yes, she's in the midst of her Terrible Twos and heading towards her Thunderous Threes but also so much fun. She's talking a ton and saying the funniest things. It's incredible seeing how her mind works and how she views the world. I need to stop thinking she's still a helpless baby and face the fact that she's two going on thirteen. 

I better stop here for today and figure out what to make for dinner. I'll leave you with a few Instagram photos in the meantime.

G Calling Her "Fwends"

























Wanting to Take Pluto Home


















































Future Olympian







Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lego Party Free Printable Banner

I received so many nice emails and messages about the my Lego Party post that I wanted to answer some of the common questions I received. Hopefully this will help you too.

* Lego Font - this is a free font. I just googled "Lego Font" and picked a site that was easy to download. I got the one I used here.

* DIY Lego Birthday Banner

I printed the letters in Lego font with a yellow border on cardstock paper. I carefully hand cut out each letter and mounted it on red and black cardstock. I figure I would save on ink this way and the banner ended up nice and sturdy too.

The red cardstock is 5.25 inches square and the black cardstock is 5.5 inches square. I punched out holes in the top corner using a Fiskars rectangle hand punch.

Click here to download the free printable banner.

* Lego Kit Kat Box Favor - I don't have a printable up right now but could make one for you. I would have to customize it with a name, birthday and include the Lego Mini-Figure of your choosing. Email me at bigklittleg at gmail dot com. For mine, I listed my brother's name, his birthday in the Lego serial number format (example: February 23rd was "0223") and picked the Lego Surgeon Mini-figure. I may just do a generic one that you could update yourself so please check back later on for that.

If you have any questions about these or anything else, feel free to email or comment. :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Surprise Lego Party

What do you get a person who can buy anything for himself and does? After many texts and emails back and forth, my brother's girlfriend and I decided to throw my brother a surprise birthday party. He's a big kid at heart and is an avid Lego collector so we thought he would get a kick out of a Lego themed party. Who says themed parties are only for kids?

My brother was definitely surprised we put this all together for him. He had come over the night before and we had nothing out that made him think something was going on. The morning of the party, we hustled to get everything ready in time. I'm lucky to come from a large extended family so got a lot of help preparing and setting up. My cousins came over early and helped bake cupcakes from scratch. My mom and aunts made some of the side dishes and prepped the fruit plate. My cousin Q helped make the food signs that very morning. It was a whole family effort.

Lego Party Dessert Table:















My brother has so many Lego sets that he left some at our place. We used these as part of the dessert table display:

I made my brother a personalized birthday card from Tinyprints with pictures of Gabby and him together over the years. He absolutely adores Gabby. I could probably say that he may have more pictures with Gabby than I do. We wanted to give him an annual pass to Legoland but didn't want to actually buy it too early in case he doesn't have time to go right away. So my husband designed this 4x6 gift certificate and we placed it inside the card. We incorporated the Lego surgeon mini-figure since it is his profession. When he opened his card, he thought this was a real certificate from Legoland. 

We thought it would be fun to do a few easy games that everyone could play. 

Game 1: Guess How Many Legos are in this Vase:















Game 2: Guess How Many Legos are in this Mini-Modular Set:



Game 3: Lego Memory Game:



I laid out and labeled 25 Lego pieces on a board. Everyone had a few minutes to memorize as many pieces as they could and whoever could jot down as many as they remember wins. I even had a hard time remembering all 25 pieces and I made the game!

The winners of the games received a party favor bag filled with mini M&M's or peanut M&M's along with a Lego mini figure from this Lego Birthday Party Pack. I also gave a bag to some of the people who helped with the party as a thank you.


Lego Party Favor Bags:


I purchased a set of 13 gift bags in primary colors from Michaels for $3.60 ($5.99 plus 40% off coupon). Using this free Lego font, I printed and punched out 2" circles and affixed them to the bag using pop dots to make the bags look like Lego bricks.

Lego Party Favor: Mini M&M's in Ikea Spice Jars:   


Lego Party Favor: Peanut M&M's in a Clear Blue Box:   
I also wanted to do a little something for everyone to take home so transformed Kit Kats into a micro Lego box. I used red double-sided tape to place square Lego Bricks all around my Martha Stewart cake stand. You could try regular Scotch double-sided tape but it may not be as strong and tacky as the craft double sided red tape. That stuff is amazing and easy to remove from the cake stand.

DIY Lego Kit Kat Party Favor on Lego Brick Cake Stand:

DIY Lego Kit Kat Party Favor on Lego Brick Cake Stand (Another View):

As for food, we served dim sum, salad, spring rolls, Asian-style chicken wings as well as a variety of desserts. We borrowed Gabby's Duplos to make this utensil holder.

DIY Lego Utensil Holder:


Fruit Platter with Lego Food Sign:

Girl Scout Cookies with Lego Food Sign:


Rainbow Cupcakes with Lego Cupcake Toppers:


Mini Rainbow Cupcakes:


Jumbo Marshmallow Lego Heads:




I was lucky enough to come across jumbo marshmallows so used those as the base of the Lego head. I cut large marshmallows cut into thirds for the nub on top of the head and they stuck on easily. The Wilton Candy Melts were the perfect shade of yellow for Lego heads. The candy melts taste like vanilla flavored chocolate and melted quickly and are so easy to use. At first I bought Wilton Edible Food Write Pens, but they didn't work on candy melts. I was able to draw on one Lego head and that was it. Frustrated, I bought this AmeriColor Gourmet Food Writer Pen from Amazon and they worked well. It felt like writing with a Sharpie - dark and smooth.    


Lego Birthday Cake with Fondant Lego Bricks: 




This was a fun and fairly easy party to put together since there are so many things you can do with Legos. You can even narrow it down and do Lego Star Wars, Lego Superheroes, Lego Pirates of the Caribbean, etc. The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Gabby's Butterfly Birthday Party Featured on Ohdeedoh

Back in November I shared Gabby's second birthday party pictures here. Someone suggested that I submit the photos to Ohdeedoh/Apartment Therapy so I thought it would be fun to try. I never heard back from them but suddenly got an email out of the blue that it would be posted. It's kind of exciting that Gabby's party was deemed somewhat worth sharing. :)

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/best-kids-parties-butterflies-my-party-167132

This would also explain the sudden surge of emails asking for more detailed help on this specific party. I will try to email back as soon as I can.

By the way, if you're interested in home renovations, decorating, crafts, basically anything Pinterest worthy, check out Apartment Therapy. Loads of eye candy.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

DIY Valentine's Day Box, Card and Craft

In preparation for Gabby's very first Valentine's Day party, we put together a mailbox for her little friends to put cards in. We didn't have a shoe box to use so ended up using an USPS box. It is larger than what we need but I had to make due.

First, I cut a hole into the box wide enough for Gabby to reach in and grab her cards out. Then, I wrapped the box in plain hot pink wrapping paper. After the box was wrapped, I gently cut a slit into the wrapping paper and folded the wrapping paper over the edges of the hole. This way, the mailbox opening has a nice clean edge.

DIY Kid's Valentine's Day Mailbox for Cards:





Gabby decorating her mailbox with self-sticking foam hearts:


Peeling stickers is hard work:



This box is also good for holding random toys and balls: 


I wanted to make cards for Gabby to pass out but didn't have much time. I looked around online for free printables and just found something that worked with what I wanted. Kit Kats fit inside these perfectly. I just rolled up some tape and stuck one Kit Kat inside each card. I used a heart punch to make holes to tie a red ribbon through.

DIY Valentine's Day Card:


You can download this tented card file and edit your own wording to print out yourself. To see the rest of the collection, go to Catch My Party. The best part is that it is free!

At the Valentine's Day party, we read Snuggle Puppy, sang songs, passed out Valentine's, had a snack and made this simple craft.

Supplies Needed:
* Regular school glue
* Small bottle of pink acrylic paint
* Thick white cardstock cut into a heart
* Foam brush
* Candy Hearts

Mix some pink acrylic paint in with the glue. Let your child "paint" the glue onto the heart-shaped paper and decorate it with candy hearts. Lay flat to dry. Make sure you have a decent coat of glue or else the candy will fall off.


If it doesn't rain, we are going to another party at the park on Valentine's Day. We'll have food, let the kids play and do a few crafts. One of the activities we're planning to do is having the kids decorate cards to give to the senior citizen home. Now I just have to figure out what goodie to bring. Any ideas?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

DIY Felt Valentine's Day Envelopes

One of Gabby's favorite gifts she received this past Christmas was this Step2 Neat and Tidy Cottage. Every morning she comes downstairs and says, "Hi, House!" At night before bed, she says, "Goodnight, House!" It's her little hiding place where she throws tea parties for her stuffed animals. As small as this house looks, my husband, Gabby and me can actually all fit in this house just fine. Sometimes she'll even hold us as a prisoner inside and not let us leave.





There is a little mail slot built into the house so we would stick random paper and junk mail through it for fun. I thought it would be cute to have something Gabby wouldn't crumple so easily and that she could reuse. Since Valentine's Day is next week, I figure it'll double as a Valentine for her as well.

DIY Felt Valentine's Day Envelopes: 


You've Got Mail:

Small Envelopes for Small Hands:
I'm working on a few more Valentine's Day crafts this week and can't wait to share it with you.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

DIY Baby Sock & Washcloth Cupcakes & Lollipops

I was excited to go shopping for baby shower gifts last month because it meant looking at newborn clothes. It's been awhile and it makes me nostalgic. There is something just so sweet about those tiny little baby socks.

I ended up picking out staples like everyday onesies, baby socks and washcloths as opposed to going out clothes. As cute as those little girl dresses and little boy cargo pants are, I know they won't get much use. In the first few months, Gabby went through so many onesies even in a single day. You really can't have enough.

If you have a Carter's store near you, consider yourself lucky. They have the best deals and coupons that you can use on top of it all. I rarely buy anything without having at least a 20% off everything coupon in hand. The main reason I love Carter's is that there is no time limit on returns so I was free to hoard baby clothes up to a year in advance and return if not needed. I would venture out to say that Gabby's first year wardrobe consisted of over 80% Carter's.

A pack of Carter's baby socks comes with three pairs of socks and a pack of washcloths comes with six. The combination was perfect to make these delectable yet calorie free cupcakes and lollipops.

DIY Cupcakes Using Baby Socks & Washcloths:








I Taking one sock, fold it in half and roll it into a small ball. Fold a washcloth in quarters and wrap it around the sock and secure it with a rubber band. Wrap a piece of wide ribbon around the cupcake and use glue dots to hold the ribbon in place. Place inside a cupcake wrapper.

I picked up a package of three plain white Wilton Cupcake Boxes from Michael's (about $3-$4 after 50% off coupon). You could opt to get boxes with designs or in different colors, but I just kept it simple.


Cupcakes Boxed Up:


For Baby Girl:



For Baby Boy:







Since a cupcake box only fits four, I was able to make two lollipops with the extra socks and washcloths. The technique is the same as the cupcakes except you fold the washcloths more to make it thinner. Place in a square plastic bag and secure with a rubber band tightly to help hold its shape. Insert a lollipop stick into the rubber band and tie it with a ribbon.


DIY Baby Sock and Washcloth Lollipops:

It's a simple and sweet gift that is also practical and useful. Even to this day, Gabby still uses her washcloths. I ended up not using the onesies as part of the "sweet" gift and just wrapped them inside a gift bag. Next time I'll have to figure out a way to turn the onesies into something else - maybe a cake or ice cream sundae. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

DIY Wedding RSVP Card Keepsake Book Tutorial

Doing the birthday card keepsake book for Gabby inspired me to see what else I could bind into a book. I dug through our box of wedding stuff and found stacks of wedding cards. We had over 200 guests and tons of out of town guests who sent cards. I think I'll save that project for another time.

I found our RSVP cards that I have been saving for the day I figure out what to do with them. We had asked guests to write some wishes or words of wisdom on the back of the cards. We received quite a few creative and funny ones. Some people drew pictures, glued on photos or wrote quotes. One even attached a saying from a fortune cookie. I'm really happy we still have these mementos from our wedding.

The difference between this book and the birthday card book is that this one has a hard cover and I didn't need to sew the spine together.

Pictures of the materials used and more details on the process can be found under this post.

Materials Needed: 


All the RSVP Cards:





Cards Ready to be Glued: I made a mistake and forgot to add one or two blank protector pages at the beginning and end of the book. These pages will be glued directly to the hard cover of the book and help secure the book to the cover.




Glued and Waiting to Dry:




Close-up of the Glued Spine: Again, make sure you have blank pages at the beginning and end. I had to add it after the fact and is not as secure.




Inside the Book:



























Supplies for the Book Cover:


Cut the Bookboard with an Exacto Knife: My cutting skills need work.

























I cut and glued a decorative paper sheet to each board, leaving a small gap for the book tape. I accidentally cut the pink book tape a little short so patched it. I used a thin strip of cardboard from a notepad I had to use as the spine. Leave a quarter inch gap between the spine cardboard piece and front/back cover so that you can close the book.


Putting Together the Cover:
























The Inside Cover: 
























The Front Cover:
























Take your book and spread glue on the front page, back page and spine. Lay the text block straight onto the spine of the cover and close the book. This will bind the book right to the cover.

The Finished Wedding RSVP Card Keepsake Book:


























Thursday, January 19, 2012

DIY Superhero Cape Tutorial

I'm always on the lookout for fun things to take Gabby to during the week. It breaks up the day and she gets a chance to play with other kids. Our city hosted a one hour Superhero party for kids ages 2 to 5 so I thought it would be something fun Gabby would enjoy. For $10, the kids drew, painted, danced, played a few games, went on a parade and had a snack.


There aren't too many Superhero costumes for girls so I put together one for Gabby. It ended up being more cost effective than if I just bought costume from the store. I was lucky and found a Superhero t-shirt on clearance at Old Navy to pair up with Gabby's tutu from her Halloween costume. All she needed was a superhero cape, which was fairly fast and inexpensive to make. 

DIY Toddler Girl's Superhero Cape and Costume Tutorial:

Old Navy Tshirt (about $4-5 on clearance)
Tutu (recycled from Gabby's Halloween costume)
* One half yard of yellow felt (about $1.50 - It was $3/yard after 50% off coupon from Joann's)
* One inch square piece of stick on velcro
* Optional: One 9.5 sheet of purple felt (on sale for $0.20/sheet)
* Optional: One 9.5 sheet of purple felt (on sale for $0.20/sheet)
* Optional: Purple floss or thread
* Newspaper to use as a template pattern


Step 1: Using a sheet of newspaper folded in half, loosely draw an outline of the top of the cape. I just eyeballed how big I thought Gabby was. Once cut, I used the newspaper to put it around Gabby's shoulders and adjusted the size as needed.



Step 2: Use the newspaper as a template to cut the yellow piece of felt. Adjust the length as needed. I made Gabby's a little on the longer side so she can use in dress up play as she gets older.

Step 3 (Optional Superhero Badge): There is an "S" on Gabby's t-shirt so I went with that for the badge on her cape. Find an image of an "S" online, print it out about 7" long and carefully cut out an outline. Using the backside of the felt piece, flip the image over and trace an outline of the "S" directly on the felt piece. This way, when you cut out the felt piece, you don't have to worry about the pen marks since it is on the back.




Step 4 (Optional Superhero Badge): Once the "S" is cut, sew it on a yellow piece of felt the same shape. I suppose you could iron it on as well but I am not familiar with using iron ons and figure I would mess it up. Besides, I thought the thread gives the badge a nice embossed look. I added another layer of dark purple felt underneath to make the badge stand out on the bright yellow.




Step 5: Add an one inch square piece of velcro to the straps of the cape and you're good to go. It's super simple and you have an instant Superhero.


Super Gabby:  Whenever Gabby is in a new environment, it takes her a little while to soak everything in and warm up. With a squirmy toddler, it's hard to get a smiling picture but she had fun!


Super G Playing Games with the other Superheros: She's the smallest one out of the bunch.









 Super G Painting with Mama K:






Overall, Gabby and I had a great time. It is so bittersweet seeing her grow up and participate in big girl events. She is definitely not a baby anymore. Once she goes off to school, I know I will be crying more than she will.