Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Creepy & Cute Mice

We don't really celebrate Halloween, but for those of you who do, here's a really cute decorating tip!

I never thought that I would actually want mice in my house, but I guess there really is a first time for everything.  These mice are perfectly creepy for Halloween.  Once again, you’ll need black construction paper and tape and the mice templates found here.   Simply cut out as many mice as you’d like in your home (ewww!), and tape them wherever you’d like.  I love the way they look on a staircase if you have one.

Make Your Own Pie Crust

8" crust (or 4 apple dumplings
1 1/2 c flour
3/4 t salt
1/2 c shortening (lard)
3 T water

9" crust (or 6 apple dumplings)
2 c flour
1 t salt
2/3 c shortening (lard)
1/4 c water

*if using crisco, add 1 extra T)

Using a dough hook and mixer (or a pasty blender by hand) mix flour, salt, and lard together until mixture in crumbly.   Add water and mix just until comes together.  Roll out using pastry cloth and rolling pin cover for easy rolling. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Plastic Bag Dispenser

Use a screwdriver and put two short screws through the back of the box {from the inside} to attach it to the inside of a cabinet door. Or, you can just set it in your cupboard or on your changing table (for diapers). 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cute!! & Easy!!! Make A Scarf From and Old T-shirt

Here are some neat ideas to make some stylish scarves from old t-shirts!  It's SO easy too!!

A Fringe Scarf:
 Here's how:

A Rope/Spaghetti scarf:
Here's how:

Or this scarf (not sure of a name, but I made this one!)
 Here's how:
  1. lay t-shirt out flat (make sure you can get 8-12)
  2. Use paper plate to trace 8-12 circles on t-shirt (4-6 on each side of the shirt, you can cut both sides at once)
  3. cut out circles (cut inside your lines so you don't have marker on your scarf)
  4. cut each fabric circle into a spiral like the picture below
  5. stretch each piece of fabric and lay all pieces together
  6. tie around your neck and place a pretty flower pin to dress it up!

 A Tube Scarf:
Here's how:
 Cut the t-shirt under the arm pit, or lower depending on how wide you want it.
 You can wear it as shown above or like this:

Don't Get OverCharged! Ask For A Supervisor

How many times have you had fees from your bank that you shouldn't have had to pay?  How many times have you been billed for something that you shouldn't have been billed for?  This happens more than you would expect.  It's not that the fees or billing was not part of the terms of your bank or service, but that the situation was outside of the normal. 

For example:
I forgot to add Hudson to our insurance when he was born.  So we were billed over $2000 for services provided to him when he was born.  Now, my maternity coverage should have covered all expenses while I was in there, but they denied these since Hudson wasn't on our insurance.  I called and was told that it was too late to add Hudson and we'd have to pay the bill.  However, upon calling back and talking to a supervisor, she explained that under these circumstances, even though Hudson wasn't on our policy, the bill should be covered.  She resubmitted it and now we don't have to pay the $2200+.  Praise the Lord!

Another example:
Our bank charged us a fee to use an out of state ATM, AND the ATM charged us a fee.  Now, this is the bank's policy, however, it's not right.  And I know several other banks that wouldn't do this.  So I called and they agreed to take the fee off.  You can also do this for overdraft fees (Sometimes the order of your deposits/payments are off and it resulted in an overdraft).  Or if you forget to cancel a service and a fee is charged, call and cancel the service and ask for the fee to be reversed. 

If you feel that there was a misunderstanding, or your situation warrants a little extra consideration, don't be afraid to ask for it.  However, ASK FOR A SUPERVISOR as most of the customer service reps you talk to are not authorized to take these special situations into consideration.  And, if the supervisor you talk to can't/won't help you, and you feel you are in the right...Ask for their supervisor and keep escalating it until your situation is resolved to your liking. 

This works for credit scoring and cell phones and everything!  If you have any questions about your situation, let me know!  But don't be afraid to ask, even if it seems impossible. (I only asked a supervisor for the insurance situation because Joe told me too.  I didn't think they'd be able to do anything but I was wrong! $2200+ wrong!)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Don't Get Ripped Off

One way to get the most out of your money is to get what you paid for.  Many companies will make promises that aren't always lived up to.  Maybe your product goes bad before it should, or maybe it doesn't work like they promised.  Or maybe, you just aren't satisfied in it.  Well, don't waste your money by throwing it away, or just using it, even though it doesn't work.  Get your money back, or get it replaced!

1) Most products have a 1-800 number provided on the back.  The companies value your feedback and will often replace or refund the product that didn't meet your standards.
2) If dairy or produce products don't last until their expiration date, or you get them home and realize they are rotten, call the grocery store and explain to them what happened.  They will replace your product.  I have had to do this several different times with milk that went bad too early.  They replaced it with no questions asked!
3) Return it!  If you don't use something you bought that is still in the package, or it's not what you wanted, take it back!  Wal-Mart is great at accepting returns, Target is usually too!  And most other stores will take things back and at least give you store credit.

Here are a few things I have called about/returned/or got refunded for:

  • Milk - went bad before listed expiration date
  • Umbrellas (Bed Bath and Beyond is AWESOME about exchanging faulty merchandise without a receipt)  I had to exchange our umbrella's that we bought there at least 2 times for each umbrella.  Now I need to take it back again and just get my money back. 
  • 15 minute Battery Charger-Charged the batteries, but they'd lose their charge after 30 minutes.  I got my money back and didn't even have to send it back!
  • An Awful smelling air freshener
  • Vitamins that changed colors on me (gross!)
  • Laundry stain remover that didn't work
  • Yankee Candle that didn't burn down all the way (They guarantee their candles will burn evenly down to 1/2 and inch.  This one was awful!
  • And more!
All of them were legitimate reasons.  And with each, I either got reimbursed or a coupon for a free replacement.   Just call or e-mail and explain your issue.  They are more than happy to help you.  Don't be afraid to get what you should for your money.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Yankee Candles

Like Yankee Candles?  But not the price?  Me too!  I love them, but I don't think I've ever paid more than $13 for one.  Sometimes I've paid as low as $7.  While that's a lot for a candle, they're normally $25 each.  So here's how:
1) Sign up for e-mails at Yankee Candle's Website
2) Wait.  You must be patient.  Eventually they will e-mail you a buy-on-get-one-FREE (or buy 2-get-2 free) offer.  This happens several times a year.  Now, that will get you some candles for about $13 bucks.  But it gets better...
3) Go to Bed Bath & Beyond.  They always have a few seasonal candles on sale for 25% off.  This will save you another  $3-$4 bucks off.  And sometimes, they ring them up all weird by taking ringing them up at 25% off, but taking full price off for the free candle, and you save even more!  You only get lucky with that, but it's always an added bonus!  (And no, when they ring them up weird, it's not dishonest, it's according to the way corporate instructed them to ring it up, so saying something won't make them do it differently.) 

These make GREAT gifts!  It's an nice gift you can give for fairly cheap.

And remember, they have a great return policy.  If you're not 100% satisfied, you can return it.  If they don't burn down all the way, you can return it for a new one. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Marble Maze

Make one of these cardboard towers (just follow the steps below), and your kids will be set for a rolling good time. The object is to see whose marble rolls the farthest once it exits the maze.
  • 7 long wrapping paper or mailing tube
  • 2 empty plastic margarine tubs
  • Box of uncooked rice
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Extra-large rubber bands
  1. Construct Tower Posts: Start with the left one. Set a long wrapping paper or mailing tube on end. Draw a pencil line from top to bottom, then mark five points along it 2, 8, 10, 19, and 21 inches from the top. With a craft knife (adults only), cut a hole around each mark that's just big enough to accommodate the end of another tube. For the right post, position the holes 4, 6, 13, 15, and 25 inches from the top, then cut one more hole (where the marble will exit the maze) in the opposite side of the tube 25 3/4 inches from the top.
  2. Anchor the Posts: Make a base for each post by cutting a hole in the bottom of a small empty plastic margarine tub. Put the lid on the tub, then set the tub upside down on the floor and pour uncooked rice into the hole, filling the tub. Fit the bottom of the post into the hole in the tub.
  3. Marble Maze - Step 3  
    Make Tunnels: Next, transform four more tubes into crossings. Holding each one horizontally, cut a U-shaped opening in the upper wall at one end and in the lower wall at the opposite end, as shown. For the tower's lowest tunnel, cut a U-shaped opening in one end only of a fifth tube. Then cut peepholes in the tops of each tube.
  4. Assemble the Tower: Starting at the top of the tower, fit the tunnel ends into the post holes, as shown in the photo above, so that the ends with openings in the upper wall are raised and the uncut end of the fifth tunnel extends to the exit hole. Finally, if your tower is a bit wobbly, you can stretch extra-large rubber bands or loop string around the posts for stability.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Grass Head Guys

Check out more fun ideas from John and Danita Thomas, the Kid Concoctions Couple.

  • 2 tablespoons grass seed
  • Nylon stocking foot
  • 1 cup potting soil
  • Plastic yogurt container
  • Water
  • 2 googly eyes
  • Permanent marker
  • Double-sided tape
  • Card stock, craft foam, and so on, for clothing
  1. Spoon the grass seed into the stocking foot, and the potting soil on top of the seed. Tie a knot in the stocking, leaving the excess fabric hanging. Fill a yogurt container halfway with water and place the stocking head on top with the nylon tail in the water to serve as a wick. Attach googly eyes to the head and draw on a mouth with permanent marker. To decorate the yogurt container, tape on clothing made from card stock or other materials.
Be sure to check the water level in the yogurt container every day, keeping it at least half full.