Quick and Easy Money Gift Idea

Since our nieces and nephews became teenagers, we’ve opted to give them cash as gifts so that they can shop for the items they want. While I’m not against putting money in a card as a gift, it’s a lot more fun to give money in a creative way so every Christmas we try to think of a new way to gift the money. Our nieces and nephews always seem to enjoy seeing what we’ve planned for the year as well.

This year, I grabbed some holiday Pez dispensers from the craft store. I rolled the money as tightly as possible and wrapped it in a plastic sandwich bag (so that they could still use the dispensers for candy later without the ick of money germs). Simple and sweet, but fun!

Book Bites – Minimize the Mess (with Giveaway!)

Cover

 

I am so very excited to be a part of the Blog Tour for the book Minimize The Mess! I wish you could see my copy of this book. Nearly every page has a highlight and notes in the margin. There is so much great information tucked away for simplifying your home in this lovely book. 

Since I became a work-at-home mom, my sensitivity to clutter and mess in our home has increased. While I was already on a quest to find the best way to optimize our smallish home and declutter our lives, being at home more is definitely pushing me to work on this more. Reading this book could not have come at a better time! 

While not all of the information in this book is new to me, I found the information that Rachel shared wonderfully packaged to help me think through application for my home. There is prodding to really examine your home and life and the motivation behind the mess, but it is done with the spirit of a trusted and understanding friend.  Not only will you be encouraged to work on the current state of your home, you’ll find ways to change the way you think about what comes into your home in the future – the true key to keeping your home the way you want. 

Want to join me in minimizing the mess in your home? You can get your own copy of Minimize the Mess for only $2.99 (what a deal!) from Rachel’s site or from Amazon. If you’re purchasing from Rachel’s site she is offering a 25% discount with the coupon code launch.

Rachel has been so kind as to offer a free copy of Minimize the Mess to one Aforementioned Thoughts reader! You can enter through the Rafflecopter below. 

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

I received a copy of Minimize the Mess for free to review for you. My thoughts and opinions are all my own. 

A Simplifed Wardrobe While Pregnant

In November of last year I documented what I wore for the entire month (you can see my outfits here). I had cut back on my wardrobe just a bit and I really enjoyed the process of actually seeing what I was wearing each day. Surprisingly, the outfits seemed to look better on me in the photos than I felt that they did when looking in the mirror (good angles maybe? I’m going to go with I probably look better than I think I do most days). I liked making combinations from fewer clothes. I had mentioned to some friends that I was considering trying Project 333 for the Spring or Summer.

And then I got pregnant.

 2014-03-15 13.26.01No one but us knew we were expecting when this photo was taken, but I was already in need of new clothes to fit my changing body!

Since I was already close to not fitting in my clothes, I immediately had to go out and buy a few stretchy items to get me through until we started telling people and I could request my thrifty momma watch out for deals at the clearance racks, thrift stores and yard sales (she’s since provided me with at least 75% of my pregnancy clothing from there!). I felt frustrated at the thought of trying to figure out how to thriftly clothe my changing body over the next year (let’s face it, things are still going to be a little complicated clothing-wise when the little one comes).

2014-05-18 13.14.01 My mom found me this great skirt on clearance. 

But the process has been more smooth than I expected and I’ve learned a lot about dressing simply and with less through the experience. Here are some tips that have worked well for me while trying to clothe my ever-changing baby-growing body.

1. Visit your thrift shop down the road…

I haven’t bought much new since becoming pregnant. A few pieces that I have gotten a lot of use out of, but for the most part maternity clothes (like everything “special occassion”) seem to be overpriced. Plus, I feel like I don’t know what my body is going to be like in a few months and I don’t feel like paying $20 for a t-shirt that may or may not fit. My aforementioned momma has been great at helping me find clearance, thrifted, and yard-saled items at great prices.  Most are in great shape and, if they don’t fit very well, I don’t feel guilty putting them away for after the baby arrives or passing them on.   2014-07-26 16.03.29

My Sister-in-Law helped me find a great on some maternity tops (including this one) on a Facebook yard sale group she is in.

2. Re-organize and store your “old” clothes.

While you can probably still use many items for long into your pregnancy (I’m currently wearing two pre-pregnancy shirts right now), you won’t be able to comfortably fit into everything. Don’t let those pieces clutter your closet and choices. Get a nice plastic bin and pack those away for the time being. Once I got those clothes out of the way, I found it a lot easier to re-organize how I stored my clothes. I’ve loved this since it makes finding clothes to wear easier than before!

3. Keep it clean.

I’ve recently began the habit of doing a load of laundry each day (or so). This keeps my favorite pieces always fresh and clean and ready to be worn. While I’m not against getting a few wears out of clothing, the summer and being pregnant means that isn’t happening right now. Staying on top of the laundry means I can wear my super comfy maxi skirt to work each week if that’s what I want.

4. Don’t be afraid to invest in great pieces.

I’m certainly not for breaking the bank, especially when your body is changing all the time, but if you see a good investment piece don’t pass it up. The skirt pictured below was purchased at full price, but I’ve worn it at least once a week during my pregnancy so I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth out of it. I’m expecting to be able to use it for at least a little bit after the Little One comes as well.

2014-07-03 20.37.51

I love maxi skirts now that I’m pregnant. I may never go back!

While I’m not officially doing Project 333 since being pregnant, I am dressing with less for sure. The whole process has surprisingly made me feel even better about trying Project 333 when my body finds its way back to normal. Courtney also offers a micro-course about dressing with less that I may try to kick off my new wardrobe when that time comes!

(This post does contain an affiliate link, meaning I’ll benefit if you purchase from this link, but there is no added cost to you. The thoughts and opinions shared on this post are completely my own!)