Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Making Money with a Hobby

I've been working on my crochet recently.  Not only have I been using specialty yarn and trying out new stitches, I've also been working on amigurumi- crocheting small toys. 

It's so much fun and so relaxing! I enjoy learning new skills and have been getting some really positive feedback on my creations.

I've decided that since I have so much yarn and want to get in more practice with "easy" toys before I start moving on to more complicated patterns, I'm going to go to a free craft show in June.  There is no set up fee, so I am not really losing anything by going, other than perhaps wasting a day- but then again, is sitting around watching tv any less of a waste?

I buy most of my yarn when it is on sale and that is going to allow me to put very reasonable prices on my toys- I'm not expecting to recoup very much for my time.  After all, I'm working on perfecting my technique so I'd be doing all of this anyway.

I am excited for this new venture! I need to set a goal for each week so that I can build a reasonable inventory.  Maybe this will give me an opportunity to get rid of some excess jewelry I made a while back as well!


Monday, February 25, 2013

Grocery Shopping

I've recently rekindled my love of coupon shopping at grocery stores.  For a while, it was hard to want to make the effort- the newspaper inserts are ridiculous now- save 40 cents off 3 $8 each products is hardly worth the effort it takes to work the scissors.  It's definitely not worth rushing out to stock up on anything.

Thankfully, we've had some better deals come up.  My grocery store, Harris Teeter, just did a week of "Super Doubles", where they doubled coupons up to $2.  I was able to get pork ribs (already on mark down) for $1.30 a package!  I also stocked up on some things for Tim- quick meals, chili, etc.  We got a bag each of dog and cat food for much cheaper than I usually have to pay and saved around 60 cents a bag on shredded cheese.

Was it an amazing, stop the presses, call in the media kind of trip? No.  I did manage to save around 80% on my first trip and 60% on my second- plus I got 4 cups of Uncle Ben's rice as a side for Tim.  They were regularly on sale for $1 each... I paid a penny each- after tax.

The thing that I (and you) have to remember about coupons is that you don't have to hit it out of the park every single time.  If you save 80% on filler items like quick microwave meals, rice, etc., that is still money in your wallet.  So what if the sales aren't as good and the coupon values stink?  If you are going to buy it anyway or really want to try it, even 30 cents is helpful.

Pennies make dollars- and it works both ways.  Would you rather those extra cents be making money for you, or lining the pockets of CEOs?


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Nothing Changing-

We had a big week.  Tim went before the board of ordained ministry to find out if he'd become fully ordained.  Unfortunately, of the three intense interviews, he didn't pass on Theology.  Not because he didn't know his theology, but because of the paper he wrote in which they felt he related it to his congregation too much  (which he did on the advice of multiple other preachers).  Sigh.  He passed the other two interviews unanimously, with flying colors and much praise, but that pesky theology, a decision was which "difficult" for the board to make- means he will have to go before them again next year.  He can't be ordained this year.

Sigh.  It's very, very common.  We know a preacher right now who has failed her theology for the third  year in a row.  It doesn't make it any easier, however.  I think it's especially heartbreaking because the Theology board loved him in his interview- the harder part.  The part where he had to know it and answer questions.  No polishing phrases, no looking up answers... you know it or you don't. 


We had been in a bit of a stasis for a while because of the board interviews.  Would we stay, would we go.  Should we work on this? Should we plan a garden? Should we sell down the chickens?

At least now we know.

The new year isn't going to bring many changes for us.  We'll be updating the chicken coop so that hopefully the little hussies can't escape while we are on vacation.

I'll consider a garden.  The summers have been bad here and it leads to the garden ultimately being more trouble than it's worth. I'm seriously considering a container garden this year of just a few thing- hot banana peppers, tomatoes and jalapenos.  We'll have to see how I feel a little closer to planting time.

I am going to try to declutter the house.  More than likely we will be moving next year, so no point in waiting until the last minute!


Friday, February 15, 2013

After Holiday Clearance (12 Months of Christmas Post)

I hope you all enjoyed your Valentine's Day! Tim and I don't celebrate it, but I *do* celebrate the clearance afterwards.

It's amazing how many Holiday Clearance Sales will help you take care of your Christmas needs.  Obviously after-Christmas sales are a great time to stock up on wrapping paper, bags, bows, ribbon, etc- you can even get a few gifts for next year. 

Enter Valentine's Day:  The main colors are red, pink and white.  Amazing, because red and white are great Christmas colors.  Baskets, candles, clearance yarn- if you've got your lists of what you want to give or make for Christmas this year, now is the time to start checking out clearance to see what you can score for cheap to help you!

Saint Patrick's Day: Oh, here is another great color for Christmas- GREEN!  Check out Craft Stores for the best selection of clearance.

Easter: A great time to pick up cheap baskets or maybe some of that Easter Grass to fluff up your basket a bit.  A bunny lover in your house? Check out home decor and jewelry too!   Easter Eggs can be used as molds to make your own bath bombs.

4th of July: Red, White and Blue!  Stars and stripes are everywhere, this could be a great time to score rustic home decorations, or items for gift baskets- think Picnic, napkins to round out food baskets, etc.

Halloween: This one could be a little trickier, but maybe someone in your household loves black or orange.  If you can find candy clearanced that isn't Halloween packaged, it will keep well until Christmas.

Thanksgiving: Perfect for last minute baskets, candles, etc.

And now it's Christmas! We can start full circle again :).

So don't forget to check out those clearance sales through out the year!  Especially keep your eye out for baskets, yarn (if you knit or crochet) and candles through each of the holidays.


Catch up on all the 12 Months of Christmas posts here.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Free Redbox Rental

I don't do Valentine's Day- but I do "do" free! 

If you're looking for a movie rental tonight, use the code "SWEET" any any redbox kiosk or "HEART" online or at a kiosk to get a free rental- valid today only!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Seed Starter Chart- by Temperature

A helpful chart for all of those hoping to get a jump on starting our seeds this year!  It came from the folks over at


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Subway Footlong Frenzy Game

Subway has a "Footlong Frenzy" instant win game going on! 

"Each time you enter a code found on specially marked 30oz SUBWAY® promotional cups and DORITOS® Nacho Cheese and COOL RANCH® Flavor tortilla chip bags, you'll earn another chance to win the sweepstakes grand prize – free Footlongs™ for life!"

You could win:
  • 40 MyCokeRewards Points – 2,000,000 winners
  • $2 Subway Card – 12,000 winners
  • Free Footlong (awarded as an $8 Subway Card) – 4,000 winners
  • $200 Southwest Airlines Gift Card – 250 winners
  • Free Footlongs for a year (awarded as $260 in Subway Cards) – 93 winners
  • Round-trip Airfare voucher for Southwest Airlines – 60 winners
  • $1,000 Visa Prepaid Card – 28 winners
  • Free airfare on Southwest Airlines for a year for you and a friend – 5 winners
  • 2013 Jeep Compass – 2 winners
The good news is there are some free codes you can try!  You can enter 3 per day- so it's worth giving it a shot.  I won 40 MyCokeRewards points on my very first try (and if you don't want those MCR points, I'll happily take them!)

Good luck!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lil B'ness on the Side

We came home from Israel and had sixty eggs waiting on us. 

Yeah- that's right.   Sixty.  6-0.

Needless to say, that's way more than our little two person household can handle. 

I've decided to offer some of our eggs for sale-  after all, our eggs are extremely fresh, our hens get out on the grass daily and are kept outside in the fresh air, unlike commercial egg factories.

I'm excited to say I already have orders totaling 5 dozen eggs.  While I'm only selling each dozen for $1.00, $5 will help pay for their feed and is more than I'd get if the eggs go bad because I can't use them quickly enough.

In the future I may bump up my egg prices, but this isn't something I'm considering turning in to a big business- I'm just happy the eggs won't go to waste and the chickens can help support themselves.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Eggshell Uses

There are tons of eggshell uses out there. 

Crushed eggshells can be sprinkled around your garden to keep certain pests (especially soft-bodied pests like slugs) out.  Or, you can mix the crushed shells with your soil or compost and add nutrients back to the soil.  The extra calcium in the soil can help prevent blossom rot in your tomatoes!

Do you keep chickens yourself?  Crushing up the eggshells and feeding them back to the chickens helps keep their calcium levels up- which means they aren't depleting themselves making eggs day after day.  You can also head off potential health hazards like soft shelled eggs that might get stuck inside the hens.

Some folks add crushed eggshells (not powdered) to their coffee before they brew it, to help remove bitterness.

My dogs love to eat eggshells and it gives them a calcium boost.  You can also grind them fine with a mortar and pestle and put the powder over your pet's food, or do as I do- just give them hard boiled eggs, slightly cracked, with the shell still on!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Double Hangers

Wish you had more closet space?  How is this for a cheap solution?  Make double hangers with just the tab off a soft drink can!