Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tails are Wagging

Note: This is not a sponsored post, I am not paid or awarded anything for posting this product review. This is my own opinion based on use of this product.

Meet my 2 fur balls and the rest of family. Aren't we adorbs?

Since having my daughter, my dogs have received less attention from me than ever before. I regret to admit that. I previously have talked about wanting to increase my attention on a daily basis. This has been challenging as so much of my time is split  between many priorities and I feel mostly focused on my little one. She is adorbs, too, by the way.

I couldn't resist throwing that in here.

In search of trying to give my dogs more attention, I decided to spend some money. If you have read any posts of mine (here, here, and here) you know that I am as frugal as they come so spending money is not easy for me to do. The decision was made to buy 3 months of BarkBox. 

BarkBox has so far been a perfect solution for providing extra attention to my dogs. BarkBox sends a special package just for your dogs once a month by mail. Inside the package there will be a variety of surprise items for your dog. There are typically about 4 items and they vary from treats to toys.

So why am I loving it? First, the dogs love getting surprised by new presents (don't we all), but it also forces me to take time to give them their gifts (since they are right there). I also love that there is no extra shopping for me since there already aren't enough hours in the day. For the next week after the gift arrives, I am also really good about using our new items during the day! Lastly, this isn't a huge expense. It is less than $20/month with shipping. I had a special introductory offer and found one just for YOU as well.

This month, we got all natural treats and a toy. As my family eats fairly healthy, it was nice to see this selection of treats. I used to make treats for them myself, but that is one of the many things that has changed since childbirth. I will get back on track... eventually. Until then, BarkBox helps me to keep my dog's tails wagging!

Tell me, have you tried BarkBox?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Saving Money: 7 Tips When Putting Gas in Your Car to Save Moolah

Putting gas in my car is one of my most disliked chores. I find it a pain in the you know what! That may be because I never fill it until I absolutely have to. It never fails, I am about to run out of gas on a day I am running late to an appointment I have to be on time for! I so badly want to invest in a hybrid but we aren't ready to do that financially yet!

In any case, this chore has to be done! I wanted to share some tips for saving money when filling up your gas guzzler. I don't naturally know a lot about this topic, so I did some research and here is what I learned:

1. Don't wait until the last minute.

Okay, if you read above you know I am guilty of waiting until the last minute! I am trying to get better at not doing that, I promise. When we wait until the last minute, we are more likely to buy impulsively (paying more money for the convenience of the closest gas station) and less likely to follow the rest of my tips! Also, the more air you have in your tank (a lot if air when close to empty), the faster your fuel evaporates!

2. Use an app.

There are apps out there that tell you where the cheapest fuel is. I personally like GasBuddy because it is FREE and easy to use. I just enter my city and search.

3. Fill up in the AM.

Fill your tank in the morning. This is the time when the ground temperature is lower (still a bit cold). The denser the fuel, the less it costs to fill up.

4. Use slow nozzle setting.

Most fuel nozzles have three settings. Pick the slowest setting to minimize vapors that can escape while you are pumping. In this case, a little longer wait will save you some cash!

5. Avoid getting gas when stations are refilling their gas storage.

Do not fill up while gas station tankers are delivering gas to the station's underground storage tanks. Unsettled dirt could potentially get into your tank while filling.

6. Tighten the cap.

Be sure your gas cap is on tight when you are done. This reportedly increases safety, gas mileage, and reduces emissions. I never would have guessed!

7. Maintain your car.

Keeping your car properly tuned up and maintained to ensure you get optimal gas mileage.

What tips do you have to save money on putting gas in your car?

Monday, June 9, 2014

DIY Child's Picnic Table that Converts to Benches

I feel this is a bit overdue as I planned to post the details of this birthday gift sooner! You know how it goes, life happens.

For our child's one year birthday, we really wanted to do something special. It's not that she would remember the day, but it is pretty monumental for the parents! I mean, we survived! All joking aside, this birthday is such a bittersweet one for parents!

We decided we wanted to make a gift for her that would last a lifetime. We combined this post and this post on Ana White's blog (one of my fav bloggers, by the way) to create a child's DIY picnic table that converts to benches.

This was actually a really quick present to make (roughly equals a weekend project) that will be even faster if you don't have wood you need to sand first! We reused wood that used to be part of a deck so we had to sand down and stain again. That part was very time consuming, BUT made for an inexpensive table! Since we used scrap wood we had on hand, this whole project cost us $24.

First, we came up with a plan! We must always have a plan in hopes that things will run a bit smoother. 

Again, this post and this post were our guides, take a look at their specific instructions. 

As I said, we started off by sanding the scrap wood. Lots and lots of sanding. Like your hands hurt soooo bad sanding.

Alas, we finished sanding and were left with this:

Now, it was time to stain. We did 2 coats of Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish in clear semi-gloss (the link is to amazon and is for a 1 gallon can, we paid $18 for a 32 ounce can and used less about 1/4 of the can).

Lastly, we cut and assembled the wood! Almost done!

Now, since this was for a birthday, we weren't really done until we put a bow on it!

We were nervous Payton wouldn't really understand her gift yet, or even show interest in using. We couldn't have been more wrong! She loved it, as did everyone else at the party!

This is now being used every time we go outside!

So, the breakdown financially:

Wood: FREE
Screws: $6
Stain:    $18
Total:     $24

Next, we want to match this table with an adult one! Won't that be cute?

What gift did you give your child for their first birthday?

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