Monday, September 15, 2014

Offer Up App - Thrifters Rejoice!

Finding a fabulous deal is my middle name. Well, maybe not my actual name, but it could be. I love the thrill of the hunt, finding a good deal, and haggling to get an even better price.


For the longest time Craigslist and garage sales were the only way to find local items for sale. Now, there is a new app giving thrifters a great way to find items. The app is Offer Up, and it out does Craigslist. 

Here are some of the key features for Offer Up's rising success. 
1. You can message the seller within the app. 
2. You can see the general area where the item is located. This gives the seller peace of mind, and the buyer an idea how far they will need to drive. 
3. It allows you to create a watch list. 
4. Listing items is extremely easy. 
5. The app looks like Pinterest, so you can scroll through quickly to find an item you are looking to buy. 
6. The app allows you to seach by category or type in a search. 

There are a few of down sides. 
1. You can only post one picture for the item you are selling. 
2. Offer Up does not allow you to refresh your listing like Craigslist. 
3. Using the app is easier than the website. 

If you like Craigslist and Garage saling, try Offer Up. You might find a fabulous steal. 

Happy haggling,

Amanda

this is not a sponsored post

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Train Birthday Party for Pierce

My baby boy is three! How is this possible? He is such a joy, and he is talking so much now. Pierce is crazy about trains, so it just made sense to have a train themed party. The decorations were simple, but perfect. Pierce had a great time celebrating with his friends and family. All he really cared about was the cake and the presents. Makes sense to me!

For the invitation, I used a graphic from Google of Gordon. This is Pierce's favorite train, and it turned out great.

The party favors were bandannas in the boys' favorite colors, train conductor hats, and bubbles. They wore the bandannas and hats during the party. We bought one dozen train conductor hats on Amazon for about $14. It was worth it!

In the niche as you enter our home, I placed the welcome sign and favors.

The Pierce Station had a Thomas the Train tent and Gordon coloring pages. In the Island of Sodor room we put Pierce's train table. We had the boys play in these rooms while we cooked the hot dogs and prepared for lunch.




The breakfast nook was used as the Dining Car. As a centerpiece, I used Javen's large Thomas train and three loaf pans. The coal car was raisins, the produce car was carrots, and the lumber car was used for pretzels. Everyone snacked while the mommies fixed plates.



My big boy had a wonderful 3rd birthday!



We surprised Pierce with a Thomas cake, and of course it was chocolate.


Happy Birthday Pierce! We love you!

Mommy
aka
Amanda

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Training the Parent of a Kindergartener


Last week my first born started kindergarten. I have to admit I was an emotional mommy, but the thing about kindergarten I didn't plan for was the training. As my sister said, the first two weeks of school are just as much about training the parents as training the kids.

There have only been seven days of school, and I already two examples of parents needing instruction. Training of the parents Exhibit A. On the second day of school, I went to pick up J and the parents forgot how to form a line. Cars were coming from everywhere and cutting off each other. It was like all the student drivers in the community were sent on the same day to pick up our kids. Since then parents have remembered what makes up a line.  It only took a couple of days. Ha!


The second week of school is a short week because of Labor Day. It completely through me off. I had to take J to school, and we were late. I drove around the back and the doors were locked. So, we drove around to the front and I watched him walk in by himself. I had no idea if I needed to email the teacher, call the school, or write a letter pleading for forgiveness. I called the school and no one answered, so I sent the teacher an email explaining that it was my fault that he was late. It was craziness.

To seal the deal for my nomination for mother of the year award, I had another oops. Since it was Tuesday, and not Monday, he was supposed to wear tennis shoes for PE. Yeah, that didn't register with me and he wore sandals.

As a parent, you would think that I know how this school thing works. Nope, I had more questions than my five year old the first week of school. I'm learning, I'm being trained, and hopefully by the end of the first six weeks I will be an expert kindergarten mommy.

Good-bye Summer Days,

Amanda

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Decorating with Coke-a-Cola


When I was a young girl, my family would gather at my Aunt Margaret's house for Christmas. It was an amazing house, and my aunt decorated the house with gorgeous furnishings. The game room was a Coke-a-Cola Mecca, and it inspired me.

As an adult I started collecting Coke trays and signs. I decorated the kitchen with my limited items. It looked pretty good, but then I got a call from Aunt Margaret. She was going to let me pick out items from her Coke treasury. 

My kitchen was never the place I wanted to display the trays, signs, and tins, but it worked well. Since we just moved into our very own home, I had a different idea for my kitchen. The Coke stuff needed a new place. 

The back stairway to our office is a blank canvas, and it is the perfect place to house my Coke-a-Cola collection.

Happy Decorating,

Amanda

Monday, August 18, 2014

10 Tips and Tricks for Moving

The gypsy spirit has bit this girl again. We decided this April that we were not going to move for another year, and then things happened. Kevin took a job working from home, and we suddenly needed an office. With a baby on the way and the need for an office, we were starting to climb on top of one another. So, we decided to look for a house and found the perfect one.

I have moved a total of 17 times in my life, so there are a few things I've learned to making moving a bit easier. Yes, I am one of those people that keeps boxes. You never know when you will need them to move again, people! However, this time we are hoping to stay for a very long time.


Yes, I did put my Initial Wreath on the front door the first day.

Tips and Tricks:

1. Purge. As soon as you have decided to move, start purging. Throw away trash, shed unneeded paperwork, donate unused or gently used items and clothing. Host a garage sale, post items on Offer Up and Craigslist. The less you have to pack the better. If you don't use it, then get rid of it.

2. Make a list. Write down everything that needs to be accomplished before you move. Utilities will need to be turned on and off, deposits paid, truck or movers reserved, boxes, tissue paper and bubble wrap, mail forwarded, and the list can go on. After you have made your list, prioritize each line item. My husband created a spreadsheet with each task, date, accomplished, confirmation, contact person, and cost. He is spreadsheet happy, but it works. You can use your phone notes, post-its, spreadsheet, or a notebook. Keeping a master list will keep you organized.


3. Pack in order of necessity. Pack the wall decor and other non essential items first. Work your way toward packing the things you use every week and then every day.

4. Wrap tape around hangers and place them in the bottom of the garment boxes. This will keep your hangers from getting tangled.


5. Bedding. Put every one's bedding (clean sheets, pillow cases, comforter, bed skirt, and blanket in a bedding bag. Label each bag with the assigned room, and you will have fresh bedding ready for the night you move in. We were able to put beds together with fresh linens without having to dig for any sheets. When we put the beds together, we put the bed skirts on right then to keep from lifting the mattress again later. After sweating all day and moving, you want to take a shower and fall into a bed with fresh sheets.

6. Label Boxes. Write the room the box is going to and also label what is in the box. When you are searching for mugs and coffee the next morning, you will be able to find it without destroying the house.

7. Cleaning. Have the house professionally cleaned before you move. This will allow you to start unpacking right away.

8. Stretch Wrap. Using stretch wrap is a must. We used it to hold items together we didn't want scratched. It works great for furniture, mirrors, artwork, and odd and ends that will not fit in boxes. We placed bubble wrap between to pictures of the same size and wrapped them in stretch wrap.

9. Unpacked boxes. Check with your new garbage pick up company to see if they pick up boxes free of charge. Some companies will do a free pick up for the first two weeks. Speaking of which, I need to go unpack some more boxes.

10. Basket of linens. The night before we moved I washed a load of towels and washcloths. I put the basket of clean linens in the back of my van. After the move was complete, everyone wanted to take showers. I had clean towels for everyone and didn't have to search for them.

Planning ahead will save you time and keep you from adding to the stress of moving. I can't wait to share pictures of my new house with you.


Happy Moving,

Amanda

Friday, July 25, 2014

Etsy: French Cottage Kitchen

For the last five years I have decorated my kitchen with Coke-a-Cola decor. It's time for a change, and the new kitchen in our new house (super excited) is yellow.  I had trouble deciding between lemons and limes or French cottage. Yes, I know they are completely different themes, but I have come to a conclusion. The French cottage look has won me over, and I'm drawing from these amazing finds on Etsy for inspiration. I can't wait to show you the final results.


We will have a window seat in the kitchen nook, and this pillow from Devine Imagination would look fantastic.


This framed chalkboard from Revived Vintage is the most beautiful menu board ever! It might even make the food taste better. 



I usually do not like the blue and white porcelain plates, but this plate from Sweet Resale is gorgeous. The plates with flowers and birds are my favorite. I would love to have a small collection of these to put on the wall beside the breakfast nook table.  


When I saw this towel ring from Veritas Inspired, I instantly fell in love with it. Can you fall in love with a towel ring? You can if it looks like this beauty! Package it up, and ship it asap.


There has to be something equally as fabulous to hang on the perfect French towel ring. French Rosebud Cottage sells this beautiful, embroidered tea towel.  


I was looking for something to hold wooden spoons, and this pitcher from Marias Farmhouse popped up. I love that it can be used for utensils or a centerpiece.


Don't get me wrong, I have canisters that work perfectly. There is just one problem. They have poinsettias on them, and I have never liked them. So, since we are moving I am using that excuse to get new ones. These canisters from G Pearson 55 are perfect. 

What do you think of the French Cottage Style? If you are more of the lemon and lime kind, then I can respect that too.

Amanda

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Not Giving Up on a Dream

Just like any career, being a writer has its ups and downs. It has taken a very long time to call myself a writer. Most people think of me as a stay at home mom first (and rightly so). Writing isn't considered a profession until you sell books and a lot of them. 

I used to question, "Can't everyone write? Doesn't everyone have a vivid imagination?" If that were true then I guess no one would get paid, and it wouldn't be considered a career.


Currently, I am writing for a school curriculum company. Children are holding my writing in their hands, and that is an amazing feeling. I handle social media for a church, and it is gives a sense of accomplishment to help those that are helping others. My eBook was written to help parents potty train with less stress. 

All of this is wonderful, but I am hungry for more. There is a manuscript saved to my desktop that is ready to be published. Sure, I could hire an illustrator and publish the book myself. There is just something alluring about getting a book deal from a publisher.


To date, I have received five rejection letters. Although it's almost impossible not to take the letters personal, I have to keep submitting. My determination is stronger than my bruised ego. So, I research more publishers and keep a running log of when and to whom I have submitted my manuscript. I don't want to give up. I can't give up on my dream. 

Do you have a dream that you are working toward? Have you succeeded in reaching a dream despite failed attempts?

Amanda 
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