Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mason Jar Fruit Cups - Simple, Easy, and Frugal!

There are some members of my family who will eat an entire fruit bowl in one sitting.  And, there are others who couldn't even tell you if we have a fruit bowl in the kitchen.  So, in an attempt to moderate portions for the fruit lovers, and to make fruit more easily visible and accessible to those who forget to eat fruit daily, I created these Mason Jar Fruit Cups.  

They're super simple really - so easy that I feel kinda odd writing a full post about them instead of just posting a pic on Facebook or Instagram.  But, nonetheless, here I am, typing away.  

Most of the fruit was from my Aldi trip today, so the majority of the prices are from that store.  I live and shop in the Orlando, Florida area, so prices will surely vary by geographic location, too.

Pineapple: $2.29
Bananas: $1.50 for the bag of 8.  I used 2 bananas, so that's $0.36. 
Kiwi: $1.89 (it was a bag of 6)
Blueberries: $1.99 (1 pint)
Strawberries: $1.39
Apples: $0.66 each, I used 3, so $1.98 (I had to google the average price of apples, since I had these on hand and coulnd't recall a price.)

Total invested:  $9.90 (not including tax)

I had a stash of pint sized jars on hand (more info below), but if you didn't have that already, you could add that as a one-time investment.  

I washed and sliced all the fruit.  I opted to eventually slice the strawberries, but you could put whole strawberries in the jars.  I wanted to keep it easier for my kids, so most of my fruit was cut pretty small for their little mouths.  

I lined it all up in order on the counter.  This made it really fast to assemble the jars once I got it all ready.

Side note here:  For years, I avoided buying pineapple because I couldn't figure out how to slice it.  I absolutely loved pineapple, but was too frugal to buy the pre-sliced in the deli section, and canned pineapple just isn't the same.  Then I found this gadget.  Y'all.  It's awesome.  Seriously, I will never pass up a pineapple again.  

I have a stash of mason jars in my garage.  I save them all and just stash them in my garage for days like this.  It's just one of those things I can't bear to purge at this point.  I pulled out all the pint sized jars, rings and lids I could find from this stash.  

So, just because they'd been in the garage for months, I gave them a good wash in the sink.  

I layered my fruit in this order:  


I did this for a few reasons.  1) The apple is nestled between the two most citrus fruits, helping it not to brown.  2) The fruit ranges from hardness to softness (bottom to top).  This keeps my bananas from getting mushy and my blueberries from getting crushed.

After I made all of these, I realized I had watermelon in my fridge that I could have added, too.  Oh well.  Next time.  

This made 9 pint-sized jars.  I would have made more, but ran out of lids.  I did have a good sized bowl left over, so overall, I would say that this amount of fruit would have made 12 jars (if I'd had enough lids).  

So, for $9.90 invested / 12 jars = $0.82 per jar.  MUCH cheaper than the deli section!

I took the leftover fruit out on the patio and served it to my kids, who gobbled it up!  

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Last Deal of the Year!

I'm back on for the final time this year!

This deal is for my classic lip balm holders, but with a few new patterns and designs.  They're selling fast, so don't delay.

If a pattern you love is already sold out, check my Etsy shop.  I have a few overstock items there.

Merry Christmas!
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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lavender and White Rose Baby Shower

About a year ago, I found myself walking through a very dark time with a dear friend.  She lost her nine month old daughter very suddenly, and it affected me deeply.  The moments and hours around her precious baby's death will be something I hold in my memory forever.  But our God turns mourning into dancing, and while we miss that sweet baby dearly, I rejoice that I have a deep bond with this friend and our relationship is one of my highest earthly treasures.  

So it is with great joy that I share this Lavender and White Rose Baby Shower with you.  Shortly after the tragedy, my friend was pregnant with her third baby - a girl!  I could do nothing more than rejoice with tears of gratefulness to our God for his goodness to her family.  And my heart is filled with thankfulness of how the Lord has intertwined our journeys together.

Her baby's name is Rosie.  The nursery colors are lavender and white.  We continued that theme at the baby shower by using those colors and sprinkling roses throughout our party.

Baby booties made from two 2 oz medicine cups, then wrapped in tissue.  A cotton ball was used to make the "toe" and then tied with 1/8" satin ribbon.  Simply a charming way to display trail mix!

Forks wrapped in lavender and white striped napkins, then tied with white ricrac.

Once again, I used the cupcake tower my father built for the Monster Birthday Party.  This party piece is coming in handy time and time again.  Thanks, Dad!

I followed Sarah's example and displayed each cupcake under a wine glass.  This was a big hit with guests!

I also borrowed recipes from Sarah and her cupcakes are delicious!  Seriously some of the yummiest ever!

My dining room table held all the food - mini quiches, veggie tray, fruit spread, trail mix booties, and of course, the mini cupcakes!

I made this felt dot garland using my circle rotary cutter, and then sewed it together.  I draped it around the fitted tablecloth (made from this tutorial) and it added an extra punch of purple color to the table.

I also made a felt ruffle wreath for the front door.  I used Amy's tutorial for the wreath, and then inserted mini purple roses.  The banner was a piece of paper I printed from PicMonkey.

In lieu of a guestbook, another friend found this book, Ballerina Rosie.  Since it was fitting with our theme, we had all the guests sign the inside of the book.

I used my kitchen bar as the drink station.  We served punch, water, and hot tea and coffee.

I ordered items on Etsy and made a cookie sheet full of rose magnets.  (I ordered the roses from Whimsy and Pop and the magnets from CraftProjectSupplies.  Both amazing Etsy sellers!)

Each guest took a white felt bag and filled it with a few magnets.  They were asked to put them on their refrigerator and use the magnets as a reminder to pray for this sweet family.

The afternoon was a time of rejoicing, and it brought much healing to my soul.  The time of prayer for this family was filled with emotions, as you can imagine, but I wouldn't trade this last year for anything.  The way that God has used the darkest of times to draw me to Himself, and the friendships I've formed within my local body of Christ as made all the tears worthwhile.  Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father!

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Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake Party {Simple, Frugal yet Sweet Version}

Today I'm sharing the details behind my daughter's fourth birthday party last month.  She's 100% girl, so it was only fitting to have a Strawberry Shortcake party, since she is completely crazy about this character.

I had a busy few weeks with a major role in a children's consignment sale in late April, and coordinating a craft fair for my church on Mother's Day weekend.  This party fell smack dab in between those two events, so I tried to keep it simple but still have a fun and sweet celebration.  Mostly, we invited family, and a few friends from her preschool.

I used the kitchen bar area to display all the goodies except for the drinks.  A large piece of Strawberry Shortcake fabric (from Hobby Lobby, but also Amazon has a large selection, too) covered my countertop and served as a tablecloth of sorts.  The printable collections from Simone Made It on Etsy helped to put the finishing touches on the food and drink display.  Her strawberry collection was absolutely perfect for this party!

I've used Simone's printables before - for my son's dinosaur birthday party - and absolutely love the way her designs look!  Not only do I love the appearance, but it's a great value for your money!  She gives you so much and I've never actually used every single page.

The main dessert was a "Build Your Own Strawberry Shortcake" tower.  My dad built this tower for my son's monster birthday party last October.  It's been used countless times since then at parties, showers, and even craft displays.  It's a great display piece.  If you don't have a handyman around, this cupcake tower on Amazon looks similar and of good value.  

I used PicMonkey to create a 5x7 paper to put in the frame for the top of the tower.  It helped guests understand why the cups were full of two cubes of cake and undecorated when they arrived.

I purchased the plastic clear cups from Dollar Tree, and then baked two 9x13 cakes - one yellow and one pink.  I cut them into small squares (approximately 2" x 2") and stacked them inside the clear cups.  I loved that the cups have a small "stem" on them and it makes them just a little more fancy than standard cups.  Here's a link to a similar (yet more expensive) cup on Amazon so you can see the exact shape.  

Each guest was able to "build their own" dessert with a berry tray overflowing with raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and of course, strawberries.

To top it off, I had two canisters of whip cream available.  I covered them with papers printed from Simone's party pack.

I used my favorite photo editing tool, PicMonkey, to alter some basic Google images of Strawberry Shortcake and Friends.  These served as "tents" on the food and drink areas to help further describe how the food related to Strawberry Shortcake.  Since it's been 30+ years since I played with Strawberry Shortcake, I too needed a refresher on her friends' names and characteristics.  I found this article extremely helpful in explaining each of Strawberry's friends, animals, and sisters.  

I incorporated a few other desserts and a fruit bowl using Strawberry's friends as the display character.  

Lemon Meringue shared her famous pie with the guests.  Thank you, Winn-Dixie, for supplying the pie since Lemon Meringue was too busy getting ready for the party!  ;)

And Orange Blossom went to Aldi and picked up a bag of Cutie Oranges for her fruit bowl.  She wanted to provide something for party guests who didn't want added sugars.  

Apple Dumplin', Strawberry Shortcake's baby sister, also provided an apple pie for the day, but she missed her photo opp.  

I displayed the drinks outside on our patio, which is screened in around the pool.  I used the same fabric from my indoor food display to drape over the drink table.  Two three-gallon plastic drink dispensers held green and pink punch.  I used this recipe for the green punch, and this one for the pink.   The green punch was super sweet, though - I would recommend cutting the sugar in half!

I ruffled streamers on the sewing machine, a technique I've used before for the Pink & Purple Birthday Party.  Read about how to do that here.  

 I also had water bottles, covered with labels from Simone's printable kit.

Although the greatest form of entertainment was the swimming pool, we did play a few Strawberry themed games.  This site has a great list of games for all ages.

This plastic sheeting came from Party City and was only $5!  It served as a great backdrop for photos and brought color to our neutral patio!  (It's also available on Amazon.)

Happy partying, everyone!

Got a glimpse of my kitchen and want more details?  Read about my cabinet makeover, built-in pantry, and see where it all started.

My other parties:
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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Weekend Updates: Craft Fair, Michelle Patterns and Deals for Mom!

It's been a busy weekend!  I just finished a first-ever Arts and Craft Fair for my church, and it was so much fun (although I am exhausted - I did take a cat nap on the couch this afternoon, which is something I rarely do!).  Not only did I sell items at my table (and did fairly well, I think), I also coordinated the entire event.  I'm a pretty organized and administrative person - the last 2.5 years as a nurse manager has helped with those skills, too - so it wasn't too difficult, just LOTS of little details.

It was fun to see the creativity emerge from within our church body and see my friends grow in their confidence to sell their items.  I loved all the ways our handiwork was on display!  I learned a lot, too, and hope to share some take-aways within the next week or so, just in case any of you plan to coordinate such an event soon.

I'm always looking for new items to add to my stock, and I'm quickly falling in love with Michelle Patterns.  I added her button on my sidebar (click through if you're in a reader).  Her patterns are well-written and include high-quality images for helpful instruction.  They're great for the beginner or novice sew-er, and the items they produce are just gorgeous!  

I shared a few weeks ago about her $5 Friday special, and she's got another amazing bundle of EIGHT patterns this weekend for only $5.  It's a great deal that expires Monday morning, so certainly purchase this right away if you've every dreamed of sewing bags or purses.  

If you're still searching for a Mother's Day gift, Craftsy has some amazing resources for your mom!  It's a whole collection of online classes where you (or your mom) can learn all kinds of skills - sewing, knitting, cake decorating....  and so much more!  They're having a 50% off sale today through Monday (ends Monday, May 13 at midnight), so it's a perfect time to pick out a new skill to learn this summer!


Last weekend my Lip Balm Key Fobs were featured on LillyLou Finds, a new daily deal site I recently shared about.  It was a fun time and I'm shipping those items out on Monday!

Speaking of daily deal sites, Very Jane has a few really adorable deals right now.

I'm thinking of putting chalkboard vinyl in the hallway of my kids rooms.  Or, you could cut this down into smaller pieces for labeling jars or something similar.  

These bracelets with a "secret" message would be amazing for a friend who you share that "inside joke" with, or as a sweet memory of someone you dearly treasure.

And I'm all about state love, perhaps because I've lived in five states in the last ten years.  These State Love Keychains would be a great good-bye gift to friends moving away, or a great welcome gift to new neighbors or family who's moved to your state.  

Well, this seems like a full smorgasbord of things, so hope everyone has a great weekend!  See you next week!
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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Consignment Sale Series Recap

Consignment sale season is in full swing and I hope you'll plan on shopping a sale in your area.  I had so much fun writing the entire Consignment Sale Series and now I'm in "crunch mode" as Boutique For A Week is less than two weeks away!  I hope to see many of you there!

Here's a list of all the posts in the series, all in one place for you to access easily.

Ten Places to Find Items to Consign
Five Reasons to Volunteer at a Children's Consignment Sale
Ten Reasons to Shop a Children's Consignment Sale Even If You're Not A Mom
How to Shop a Children's Consignment Sale with Kids in Tow
Ten Tips for Selling Items at a Children's Consignment Sale
Six Things to Know Before Volunteering at a Children's Consignment Sale
Ten Reasons to Consign Children's Items
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Tips for Shopping with Children in Tow

This is the final post in the Consignment Sale Series, because Boutique For A Week is just around the corner!  I've been tagging items over the last week or so, and it is really exciting to see it all coming together for sale week!

To finish this series, I thought I'd share some shopping tips with children in tow.  As a mom of young children, I know going to the grocery store alone seems like a vacation, and this is a sale that should ideally be shopped alone.  However, sometimes life just doesn't allow that to happen.  So, if you find yourself in a situation where you must shop with children, here's a few pointers.

1.  Play by the rules.  Check your consignment sale's website for shopping policies.  Some hours - typically the pre-shopping times for volunteers and consignors - restrict children to nursing infants only.  Make sure you are allowed to bring children during your shopping time before going to the trouble to plan such an excursion.

2.  Have a plan.  Even if you don't have children with you, I encourage you to make a list.  Does your son need a navy Polo shirt to match those cute shorts?  Does your daughter need shoes for school?  Are you planning a Strawberry Shortcake birthday party in coming months?  Know what you're looking for and plan to shop intentionally.  Now, if the kids fall asleep or are exceptionally happy, feel free to browse - but in the event of a cranky shopper, make sure you get the most-needed items first.

3.  Bring new toys or an electronic device.  Depending on your child's age, consider bringing a new toy they have yet to see and/or an electronic device they love such as an iPod or iPad.  This may buy you some precious shopping time as they play with such a well-loved toy.

4.  Go hands-free.  Again, depending on the age of your child, plan to bring something to help you be hands-free.  A baby carrier (I always loved my Ergo for things like this!), a stroller, or even a wagon- just somewhere for the kids to sit away from your hip.

5.  A full tummy.  Clearly don't bring the kids half an hour before lunch.  Rather, plan to shop at their best time of day.  Consider bringing snacks to help their hunger if you end up staying longer than planned.

6.  Sleepy shoppers.  If your child is a stroller or baby carrier sleeper, consider shopping during naptime.  Of course, have a plan B in case your child refuses to sleep, but this may work well for shoppers with infants who are good on-the-go sleepers.

7.  Partner up.  Consider joining forces with another mom (or a non-mom -- they will learn to love these sales, too) who can lend an extra pair of hands if a child is having a hard time.  It's more fun to shop with friends, anyways!

8.  Have a plan B.  If things are disastrous - kids are hungry, a blow-out diaper, child with a fever, or any other unexpected events - have a back-up plan.  Know in the back of your mind that you can come back later in the day when someone can watch your children, or when you have some time alone.  It will be far less disheartening to walk away from great deals if you know you'll be back later.

What are your best tips for shopping with children?
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