Spring is in the Air

I realize many people reading this post title are thinking I have lost my mind! They are looking out their windows to see snow covering the ground. There isn’t a hint of spring to be seen.

Here in the deep south, we are seeing a much different sight with spring already here. We did not have much of a winter this year. It was pretty mild, and this is the warmest January I can remember in years. January is normally one of the coldest months of the whole year in South Louisiana, but not this year. We are getting a day or two of cold weather, but then it warms back up to the 70’s and flirting with the 80’s! I have even had to run my air conditioner a few times already this month. That is really crazy!

The biggest sign of spring are the clover patches in my grass, and many trees are already blooming along with my azalea bushes. The picture above are blooms from one of my azalea bushes. They are so pretty. I usually do not see this sight until mid to late February. My husband actually had to cut the grass earlier this month. Again our grass is usually dead and no clover in the yard.

All of this spring weather has gotten to me thinking about my spring garden. If you want to grow your own transplants of tomatoes or bell peppers, then in Zone 9 you would have started earlier this month. I decided to skip growing tomatoes as we do not really eat them. I simply do not have the time to make sauces. I am growing bell peppers, but I have my fil giving me some next month as I only need a few plants. I usually chop them up to freeze. The main plant I want to grow this year is cucumbers. I eat at least 2-3 weekly in my salads, but I want to make Refrigerator Sweet Pickle Chips again this year. It was a huge hit with everyone. I will also get some blackberry shoots from my fil as I love fresh berries. One year I plan to tackle growing strawberries. I think I will also grow some red potatoes as well. Nothing like harvesting fresh vegetables and fruits.

Are you seeing signs of spring in your area, or does old man winter look like he is staying? Are you planning your spring garden yet? If you are, then please share with me what you are growing. I love reading about what others are doing in different parts of the country and world.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #89

conservewaterwhilebathingToday’s thrifty living tip is to conserve water by bathing the kids together or if they are too old, then bathe them back to back unless they are very dirty. If they are that dirty, then I might think about rinsing them off before bathing them. As a child, I remember taking a bathe with my brother until I was about three or four. My mom did it to save time and money.

Another way to save money on water and conserve water is only fill the tub partially. I never fill mine more than half and sometimes less. We are all taking showers now with a low flow shower head so I can turn it off while soaping up.

One more tip to conserve money even while showering might be to take a shower with your significant other. I know it sounds a little risque for a family orientated blog, but I’m just merely pointing out the fact that it does conserve water plus puts more money in your wallet instead of going down the drain. I hope these tips help you to find ways to conserve water plus time and money.

Tophatter Live Auction Site- Where Moms go to Bid

This post brought to you by tophatter. All opinions are 100% mine.

As a mom, I am always on the lookout for unique gifts for the kids on my shopping list. I like to give gifts that are creative and even crafty in nature. I also like to buy from other moms and small businesses. I was thrilled when I came across the Tophatter live auctions website.

Tophatter runs live auctions daily starting at 9AM pacific time. You can browse the lots to see what will be offered, and see pictures and descriptions of each item listed. There is a tutorial I recommend you view to get an idea of how to bid.

The most exciting part of the whole website is you will be bidding against other moms in a live auction. There is a timer so get your bid in before time runs out. What makes this site unique is you will see an animated auctioneer and people standing around. You can also preview the next lot up for auction.

Tophatter has created a social experience for the other bidders to chat with one another. You can hang out and chat while bidding. I know I will be going back to visit often to find great gifts.

I saved the best for last. Tophatter is offering 10% off your first purchase just by sharing on facebook! Get your bids in on that special item before it’s sold to the highest bidder.

Visit Sponsor

I Saved at Book Renter Textbooks

First I want to mention I am not being paid or reimbursed by the website. This is a review with all my own opinion. I truly enjoyed the site and savings so I had to share with my readers.

I needed three textbooks for my Spring college classes. These books were not cheap even if I rented them at my local stores and many online sites. When I came across BookRenter.com, I was excited at the prices I was given for my three books. The most expensive book was well over $100 to buy, but still would have cost me well over $60 to rent. I was given the same price for a digital rental. The Bookrenter.com price was $30 for the semester! That was a 50% savings. One textbook was only $3 cheaper. The last book I needed, I couldn’t even buy at many stores as they were sold out. Their price was $27! Again that is a 50% savings.

My total for all three books was $94 with tax. Shipping is free both ways. You can upgrade your shipping to express for $20-40 depending on the weight. I ordered them a couple of days ago and will receive them by Tuesday. It took less than a week with free shipping. They shipped them the next business day after purchasing. I also went through Ebates (double money offer) and received $8 in cash back. I paid less than $90 for all three textbooks which is a huge savings. If I rented them at any of my local rental stores, then I would have paid close to $200 with tax. I saved almost $100 on my books. I can definitely use that money in my pocket.

If you refer 5 people to rent their books within 5 days of your purchase date, then you will receive your order for free! That is a great incentive. I’m still more than thrilled with my savings. If you or your child want to save more money on renting their textbooks, then please go check out Bookrenter.com! I also saw they will buy back textbooks. I don’t know much about the program as I prefer to rent my textbooks. I did buy one textbook last year for Dreamweaver. I got it at Amazon for $50 used. It was in excellent condition.

STOP SOPA/PIPA- Internet Blackout January 18, 2012!

I usually do not post political articles on my blog, but this is something that affects all of us regardless of your political views.

SOPA/PIPA what? I have read about the bills in the last couple of months, but Washington is going to vote on this bill on January 24th, 2012! You have probably read about the protest on many big internet sites such as Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and many more. Basically this bill is meant to stop “piracy” of rogue sites. This is fine in theory, but the way the bills are worded it will hurt the internet as a whole and everyone who uses the internet. I have embedded a YouTube video below which will further explain the bills proposed before Congress and the Senate.

If you think this doesn’t affect me, then you are wrong! If this bill is passed, it’s a slippery rope we Americans don’t want to go down. It won’t stop at the internet. Do we really want to give the government this kind of control?

We need to kill this bill, and the government needs to find another way to fight piracy. As bloggers, we really need to take notice and write our Congress and Senators to vote NO to SOPA/PIPA! This will hurt how you make money to help support your family. Does the government really want to further hurt the economy? So many people are finding ways to help make a little extra money while out of work. Please visit Stop American Censorship to learn more.

Give Your Furniture a Makeover

nightstandmakeover
Last May I posted about remodeling my house. We painted almost every room in the house, put down new vinyl floors, painted kitchen cabinets, fixed cracks above the door frames, and put in a new bathroom sink and toilet. I bought new furniture for our bedroom which I got on clearance. We only had nightstands, and we needed a dresser. I wanted a nice set of matching furniture for our bedroom. When it came time to redo our son’s bedroom, we didn’t want to buy him all new furniture. He has lots of shelving in his closet so he doesn’t need a dresser. He already had a couple of mismatched pieces of furniture in his room. He had an entertainment center and a nightstand. They were still in great condition but in dire need of a makeover.

We watch a lot of remodeling shows on DIY and HGTV channels. My husband had already completed the kitchen cabinet hardware project (you can read about it here). The obvious solution to our problem was to paint the furniture. It was going to be a lot of work with sanding, priming, and then painting. I already did that with the kitchen cabinets and was not in the mood to do another big painting project. My husband had a brilliant idea to solve our problem. He decided to spray paint the furniture. We already had the black satin spray paint from the kitchen hardware project. My son’s room was gray with diamond plated outlet covers. Hubby thought black furniture would compliment the room nicely. He was exactly correct. I told you we watch a lot of remodeling shows on tv.

closeupofdetails

The spray paint had primer already mixed in so no need for another step. He did rough up the nightstand with a 120 sanding block. Then he wiped it down thoroughly. He used a satin black finish which brought out beautiful details of the piece. He used two coats which dried very quickly outside. It was a very sunny day with little humidity which helps it to dry faster. The one mistake we made was not using a clear coat protector afterwards. The nightstand has a few chips as you can see in the pictures. I am going to wait until spring to add another light coat and then apply a clear protector coat. To further protect the top of the nightstand I had a glass top cut by the local glass shop. It cost me $12 plus tax. I think it adds a nice touch to the nightstand. I also did the same thing to my nightstands and my bathroom vanity. It’s a built-in vanity to the wall. I spent around $80 for all four items. It makes cleaning so much easier and protects the pieces more from water stains.

glasstopThe project was very easy and inexpensive. I paid around $15 for two cans of spray paint to makeover the entertainment stand and nightstand. I didn’t take pictures of the entertainment stand, but it looks just as nice. Hubby also spray painted the drawer pull a nice silver which gives it a wow factor. It was just a plain brass color. We already had the silver spray paint color. I am planning to do the same thing for my living room end table and entertainment center. I promise to do more of a step by step with pictures for those pieces. This project extends the life of furniture you already own. Why spend more money when you can just give your furniture a makeover. Do you have any furniture you would like to makeover? I would love to read about it.

Friday Ramblings- Graduation Day!

I now realize today is Friday 13th, but I went pretty much all day without even realizing it. See how superstitious I am. I wanted to do a little bit of rambling today, and even pose a question to my fellow bloggers. First for the question to other bloggers. Do you write posts in advance for your blog and schedule them? I am thinking this is something I should start doing since my classes start again on Thursday the 19th.

Today I had graduation day at my university. Basically I got to meet with my adviser, and then have my graduation application signed with several signatures. I wasn’t interested in spending money on invitations, a ring, or even professional pictures. I will not send out invitations, but I am throwing a graduation party afterwards. I will invite everyone by phone and through Facebook. Yes I am so original. I am getting an Associate’s Degree so I can’t actually buy an official ring which I would never wear so why waste the money. I am leaning towards buying the cap and gown which will cost $50, but I can use them again when I graduate with my BA in two more years.

I forgot to mention last week I found our Christmas tree for next year on clearance at Wal-Mart. It was a $100 tree marked down to $22 so I paid $23 with tax! I was thrilled when I saw it so cheap. It’s a 7.5′ Douglas Fir which is a foot bigger than the tree we had. I donated that one today along with some old decorations. I can’t wait for next year to use our new tree. It will be here before we know it. I also bought our blue and silver decorations for next year at different stores. I paid around $100 which included a tree skirt, stockings, wreath, and decorations plus bags and such. I love those wonderful after Christmas sales especially when it’s marked 75% or more. The pickings are slimmer but the savings are fantastic.

My son received his report card on Tuesday and he made Honor Roll! I am so excited as he was having a little trouble the first part of the grading period. I am looking at him fast asleep on the couch. Kids have this wonderful innocence about them especially when they are sleeping. I am going to stop rambling for tonight. I do have some good posts lined up for next week. I just need to get some pictures taken for one post, and I need to get some more information lined up for the next one. This weekend I will be a busy bee writing and visiting family and friends. I have to watch the Saints beat the 49ers tomorrow night!