No Spend January 2015 Challenge! Who is with me?

No Spend Month Challenge #nospend #savemoney #howtomakeabudget #howtosavemoney #cutbackspending #thriftyliving #twelveOeightblog



Ok, I know it’s technically not the new year yet, but I had to tell you about something I have been working on.

As I have prepared for Christmas, wrapped gifts, made lists, and baked the days away, I realized how much stuff I have.
Not only how blessed I am, but how self-sufficient I could probably be if I was to just put a hold on spending and
use what I have for a month.  

Regular recurring obligations, as well as food, gas etc… are still in the budget.

What am I taking out? For a few weeks, stops for chai, trips to the craft store (I know), and anything I don’t need.

While shopping and thrifting are a huge source of fun for me (I am probably not super alone in this) I love to save money
and get a great deal.  So, I am going to do a fun giveaway at the end of the month to share the love!

More on that soon.

For now, here is what you need: a desire to spend less, save more, and have more peace and order in your home & life.

So, yeah.

That’s pretty much everybody.

I have seen challenges before and liked the idea, but some of the tasks were too hard (I feel SO lame admitting that!) [Read more…]

How to make your own cleaning supplies

homemade cleaning supplies


So my friend Haley and I had a chance to share some of our absolute favorite ways to recycle, DIY
and upcycle our way around our homes with a wonderful group of women.  We have a MOMS group
that is a co-op designed to support, uplift and encourage mothers in a comfortable setting.  We take
turns cooking, and working in the child care area so everyone in our group has a chance to get a
break, not share their food with a 2 year old.  And take away something they can use. [Read more…]

How to organize your pantry | Free bulk food printables!!

Brooke with Blissful Roots is a dynamo, and a girl after my own heart too.
When faced with a bunch of those little bags from the bulk bins, she is amazing us
once again with her super cute (and FREE!) pantry label printables!!
How did you know my pantry is in sad shape right now Brooke?
Tell me I am not alone on this one friends right?
Thank you so much for sharing these & some yummy recipes with us today!
Happy August, twelveOeight readers!  
I absolutely LOVE spending time here with you, but can I just say it feels like I was here yesterday!  
Where did July go?  And how is it already August?  
I think I just need to accept the fact that time flies.  
Although somehow everything but my pregnancy seems to be zooming by.  
I only have three months to go, but the end always seems the longest, right?
#free printable #organize #pantry #diy #organize your home
Today, I’m sharing a recycled organizing project for the kitchen.  
I was going through my spices and bulk items the other day, and discovered I had close to twenty bags of stuff.  
If you’re like me, you love WinCo’s bulk section, and frequent it often.  
I love being able to buy small quantities of items I only use a teaspoonful for here and there.  
What I don’t love, are the big plastic bags I bring home with a small handful of nuts, spices, rice,
granola, or whatever way down in the bottom.  So much wasted plastic sitting around. 

No Bake Peanut Butter Cocoa Cereal Bars

cereal bar, homemade granola bar, no bake bar, no bake recipe

 Happy Saturday friends!!

I hope this finds you well & enjoying your day.
We are working on the house today & I continue to sort & organize craft supplies (UGH!)
I am sharing a recipe I came up with this week during a drought of granola and cereal bars.
I hope you like it too!

My family loves peanut butter, we made our own homemade peanut butter recently,
it was a huge hit.  And our beloved No Bake Frozen Peanut Butter Pie has become a
tradition at gatherings.

Sometimes it’s a couple days before my regular grocery shopping
“event” when the kids realize they have run out of granola and cereal bars (gasp!)
I call it a shopping event because it seems to be a time consuming process, and the
haul of food and supplies that come home seem like they should last for months.

But sure enough, after a few days the granola and cereal bar elves have taken care of our

[Read more…]

Eating healthy breakfasts in a busy house

“This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Jimmy Dean, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #RedboxBreakfast”
I live in a breakfast house.
My family (myself included) love breakfast.
The problem is that we don’t always have a very well rounded breakfast, mostly because of the time
involved when three kids need to get ready and out the door to begin the day.
We homeschool, and I am a work-at-home Mama.  Between play-dates, errands, and outside activities
we find ourselves in a rush, and I have to be honest.  I don’t like loading up into our truck knowing that
we could have started the day a bit differently.

DIY Rag Rug Throw Pillows


 We seem to go through pillows, or pillow covers quickly.

For me it is more of an evolution of an admitted pillow addiction.  But for the kids, it is survival of the fittest.  Especially pillows that are destined (or have the unfortunate luck) to end up in our playroom.

I love our playroom.  I have dreamed of having a space for the kids to play, build forts, snuggle up and watch their favorite movies, and do a little dreaming too.

[Read more…]

Potty Training 101 and our #CtnlCareRoutine

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Cottonelle
but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #CtnlCareRoutine
Most of you know that my kids range in age from little guys to my eldest (who made me a Grandma almost four months ago)
which makes for an exciting journey as a Mom.  So let’s do a quick recap: I have a 22 year old daughter, my sons are 7 and 4, and my littlest potty trainer is 3 years old.  She’s the sassy redhead you see running around in my pictures.
My last success story was this fellow, who gave me a run for my money when it came to potty training.  He has very
sensitive skin and had this reaction to the idea of sitting on the potty initially:

And that was the reaction we had for a while until I came up with some ways for him to feel relaxed and in the mood to use the facilities.  [Read more…]

How To Save Money On Kids Clothes + My Sytem That Works Part 1

Clothing a large family can get expensive.  Real quick.
I have used a system like this for years, coming up with new ideas,
tweaked them over time and created a streamlined system that works
really well for me.

You don’t have to have a large family to reduce spending in some
important areas however.  Years ago, as a single mom, my daughter and
I were able to survive on one income that was partially commission so
it fluctuated from month to month.  I learned how to plan and forecast
then so every season was covered, and when the need for a new pair
of snow boots, or backpack arose, I wasn’t wondering how I would
fit it into the budget.

To take control of your clothing system (or lack of) here is the best
way to get going.  This is a little time consuming initially, but once you
have it down it’s much easier to manage and will save you time from then on.
Ready to get started?

[Read more…]

Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes

The humble potato gets a gussied up in a creamy cheese sauce in this super easy recipe.
I think I could make a batch of these and have them for dinner with a salad as the main
dish I like them so much.  But what I really love to serve them with is a nice spiral ham
or some tender steaks.  
I love simple recipes that don’t require hard to find ingredients or take too much time in
the kitchen.  I enjoy cooking, but I enjoy chatting and sharing a meal around our table 
with people I love way more than spending all day in the kitchen.  We grew a lot of 
potatoes on our little farm growing up.  We stored them all winter in our barn, and they
never went bad.  On top of a wooden platform we stacked a couple bales of hay and 
built a little potato cellar out of hay.  When we needed more potatoes we just pulled a bale
off the top and dug in the hay for as many as we wanted.  Today my potatoes are in 
a little basket in my pantry, no hay.  But I wouldn’t mind a trek out to a barn to retrieve
homegrown potatoes, I wouldn’t mind a bit.

Well let’s get cooking, here is what I use to make one of my all time favorite recipes:

Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes
serves 12
5 pounds of russet or Idaho potatoes, scrubbed well (not peeled!!)
2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 cup of butter
1/2 cup of flour or gluten free flour
2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
6 cups of milk
5 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 400* and butter a 13 ” x  9″ baking dish.  Thinly slice half of the potatoes
and layer them across the bottom of the pan.  Next cover them with sliced onions.  Cover
onions with 2nd half of thinly sliced potatoes and set aside.  In a large nonstick pan melt 
butter and shake flour over the top of the butter.  Stir well and slowly add milk, stirring
constantly.  Increase heat slightly, and bring to a very low boil, reduce he to avoid 
scalding the milk and add salt and pepper.  Stir in cheese and spread over the entire 
baking dish.  Bake for about 30-45 minutes until golden on top, cover with foil and 
bake another 45-50 minutes until potatoes are tender when pierced.
What is your go to side dish for the holiday season?

Fabulous link parties: 


Recycled Christmas Cans | with Brooke from Blissful Roots

I love the creative and functional possibilities of a simple tin can.  If you’ve ever visited me at Blissful Roots, you probably have seen a few of my DIY recycled can projects.  I’ve made them for every day occasions (office supplies) and holidays (Valentine’s Day, 4th of July).  I realized this year I haven’t made a set of Christmas cans in quite awhile, so it was time to get busy.

I don’t know about you, but I use a lot of canned items this time of year, and I used to just toss them in the garbage.  Well, not any more!  I always love making junk into something extra special.  Most times I don’t even have to spend a penny to make these, and you don’t have to either.  Next time you make dinner and open a can simply take off the label and wash it out.  Then use what you have around your house to transform it.  Scrap paper, wrapping paper, fabric, or any kind of paper you have lying around will work.  Then gather  a few embellishments, (stickers, rosettes, ribbons, flowers, lettering, etc…) and let the creativity begin.

You really can’t go wrong with this project, but I do have a few tips that might make the process a bit smoother, and produce quality results.
I always like to use cans with a rim on the top and bottom.  You don’t have to, but I just really like the finished look the rims give the can.  The rims also provide the perfect guide for gluing on any ribbon or embellishments along the top and bottom. 

Don’t forget to line the inside of your can.  Just like tip two, not necessary, but it adds another pop of color and makes the can look more polished.

I just use clear tape to adhere my paper to the back of the can (if you’re using fabric you’ll probably want to use a fabric glue).  The tape disappears and provided a nice flat finish.  I’ve tried hot glue, and it works, but it sometimes gets clumpy and bumpy under the paper.  Just my personal preference.  I do add a dot of hot glue to any ribbon or embellishments I use.

Use a variety of can sizes.  I like to group my cans, and having different sizes always looks nice.  Plus, the different sizes can be used for different items.  I’ve gotten to the point where I keep my eye our for unique can sizes at the grocery store just so I can use them on projects like this once I’ve used the content of the can.

I’ve tried using the cans that don’t require a can opener (the ones that have the pop top), thinking they would provide a nice clean finish to the inside of the can.  Those cans do just that, but the edge is really sharp!  I stick to the old fashioned cans that require a can opener.  Sometimes after you’ve taken the lid completely off, there is a little bit of tin that sticks up.  I just use pliers to twist it off and flatten it so there isn’t a sharp point inside the can.
I think that’s just about it.  This project is so fun, simple, inexpensive (even free sometimes) and adds the perfect holiday touch to your home.  I like to use these for entertaining.  They’re the perfect addition to your Christmas buffet for storing napkins, straws, utensils, candy, and anything else.  They also make excellent pen/pencil cans.  

Thanks so much for letting me take a bit of your time today.  I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, and an exciting New Year!  
Brooke thank you SO much for sharing your beautiful and thrifty project with us! 
I am all about crafting for a song, and you ROCKED these upcycled cans, adore!!

Thank you so much for reading, and as always, may your heart and home be full of everything you love! xo, Tanya         linking up to: And these awesome parties: