Thrifty Advice

 Back to school nightly checklist, help kids stay on task and get ready for school #Pink #Girls #FreePrintable, #School,Yesterday I told you about a FREE PRINTABLE Back To School Nightly Check List.  If you have a girl that would like one a little more “girly”, then you are in luck.  Same basic idea just geared more towards a girl.  You can laminate these, or put them in a photo frame use a dry erase marker so they can be used each night.

FREE printable here –Girl Nightly School Checklist

Girls Nightly ChecklistIf you want the more gender neutral check list you can find it here.Back to school nightly checklist, help kids stay on task and get ready for school #FreePrintable, #School,

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10 ways to stay motivated while losing weight. #weightloss, #health, #healthyliving, #motivation,#healthylifestyle

10 Ways to Stay Motivated While Losing Weight

Let me start by saying these are methods I am actually using, and that are really and truly working this time!  No crazy diets, no horrible pills or devices, just hard work,dedication and a whole lot of sweaty exercise!  These tips I am sharing have helped me lose consistently. They keep me accountable and are really helping!  I really feel like it is thanks to a combination of the 10 things I am about to share.

1. A Visual Aid:  In the above picture you can see what my visual aid is.  I took 2 jars and filled them with 1 penny per pound I want to lose.  This would work with marbles, beans, beads, anything really.  Each time I lose, I take a penny out of the “to lose” jar and add it to the “lost” jar.  Maybe for you it would be a photo of a fit role model hanging on your mirror or the fridge.  Or both!  Maybe it is a photo of an outfit you would like to fit into, or a photo of you when you were smaller than you are now.  I have those too, but they didn’t work for me.  This puts the 100 pounds I want (and need) to lose into perspective and each time I get to move a penny I get to acknowledge that it is working!  That is great for me!  Now, gaining weight and having to put the penny back in the jar isn’t a fun idea (haven’t had to do that yet,thank goodness!) and is also motivating.

2.  Join a Diet Bet or Facebook Accountability Group:  If you can’t find one, start one and invite your friends and their friends to join!  Thanks to a good friend who started a facebook weight loss challenge, I started my journey with renewed perspective a few weeks ago.  We each threw just $10 in the pot, and those that lose the most based on percentage of body weight lost will walk away with that money at the end.  Let me tell you, taking a photo of the number on the scale and sending it to be seen by all those in our private facebook group was HARD.  Maybe it isn’t for you,and that is great!  I struggled with it.  In the end I decided it was extra incentive,and having a bunch of people that know that number and will see if I gain or fail has proven to be a great tool for me!

3. Get a Workout Partner: Find a friend or your spouse who will regularly workout with you.  Make sure it is someone that will help motivate and encourage you.  I know that if it wasn’t for my friend who asked me to start walking with her, I would’ve given up already.  Part of what keeps me going is that she is waiting for me in our spot every morning at the same time.  I don’t want to let her down,and so I show up.

4. Get dressed in your workout clothes when you wake up:  Pretty self explanatory, but really, if you put on your workout clothes you aren’t going to forget that you need to exercise.  Get it done early and then you don’t have it hanging over your head all day!

5.  Get Some New Workout Clothes or Shoes: Who doesn’t love new clothes?  Having something cute to workout in makes the workout that much easier to endure! It doesn’t have to be much, even just a new pair of workout pants or a tank top with a clever saying.

6. Start with Small Goals and rewards: It is easy to get overwhelmed if you have a significant amount to lose.  Even if you don’t, the task can be daunting!  It is a lot easier to put weight on then it is to take it off, am I right? So make your goals small and set rewards along your journey.  A friend of mine has said that each time she takes 60,000 steps on her pedometer she gets to buy something.  Sounds good to me!  I have decided that for each 10 pounds I lose I get to buy something.  I am notoriously cheap and frugal, so this is another way for me to get to acknowledge the hard work I have put in.

7. Create a My Fitness Pal account and keep track of it: If you haven’t heard of My Fitness Pal, it is a website and phone app that allows you to keep track of what you have eaten (don’t cheat, record it all!), how much you have exercised and your water intake for the day.  It keeps record of all of it for you so that you have a realistic view of what you are putting into your mouth and how much work it is going to take to work that donut off.  Sometimes it helps ward off a sweet craving.  And sometimes it doesn’t.

8. Get a Pedometer: This one is easier than it sounds if you have a smart phone or an Ipod.  Download a free pedometer app onto your phone. Keep your phone in your pocket or on your body and it will keep track of your steps for the day.  It is recommended to get 10,000 steps a day.  On my 2 mile walk each morning I get around 5000 steps.  So I guess the 10000 is about 4 miles.  My record steps for a single day is 13000! I enjoy trying to break my records.  The app I use is called Pacer.

9. Follow Motivational Feeds on Social Media: I am on Instagram a lot throughout the day. I started following several healthy living accounts so that I was being motivated on those short breaks of sitting mindlessly on my phone throughout the day.  This is also a great way to find healthy recipes and snacks.  On a side note, A Thrifty Mom is on Instagram too! Look for us under “athriftymom” on the search for users section.  This is also a great idea with Facebook and Twitter feeds.  Anything that you will check and that can help keep you focused.

10. It isn’t all About the Scale:  It is easy to get tunnel vision and only think about the number on the scale. Lets be real, that number fluctuates all day long.  It goes up and down more than an elevator in a busy building! While it is important,and I do pay attention to that number and check it often, focus on the other changes that need to be celebrated.  The pants that won’t stay up, the difference in your attitude towards food and/or exercise, the clearer skin you have developed from drinking half your body weight in ounces of water, Your kids being proud of you for working out and having staying active become a part of all of your lives.  These are all things that I have been noticing in myself over this journey.  While the number of pounds I have lost isn’t spectacular and amazing yet, it is something.  It is more than the me from 2 months ago that sat depressed because the number was moving the wrong direction and I was too lazy to change it.  Hearing my kids give me 5 when I put a coin into the lost jar or asking if they can exercise with me is a non scale victory that I love!  In the end they are the greatest motivators of all and I will do all I can to make them proud!

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summer boredom buster idea, #summer, #boredom, #kids, #easy, #summeridea, #keepingkidshappy, #summervacation

Summer Boredom Buster Idea

We are only a couple of weeks into summer break and if I hear “I am bored!” one more time I am going to go crazy!  I have one child that is the biggest user of the word, but all of my kids have claimed to be bored more than once.  For the sake of my sanity, and my children not being sent away to boarding school I came up with this idea.  I had seen it a few years back via pinterest, but couldn’t find it again to save my life!  Oh well, I just made my own version.

The idea is that the child must have done everything on the list before he/she can claim to be bored.  I made it easy to read and will hang it on my fridge so no one can claim to forget.  This week will be the test to see if it actually helps.  I know that not all of the items on my list are pertinent to everyone, but it is a good starting point to help you brainstorm some ideas of your own.  Good luck!  If you try it, let us know how it works out for your family!

More activities, projects and fun things to do with your kids.

Dirt and Worms ~ Fun summer recipe for kids
 Make your own Crayons ~ Activities to do with kids
Be a Back Yard Detective ~ Activities to do with kids
Wiggle Worm Game ~ Games to do with kids
Make your own Bean Bag Toss ~ Games to do with Kids
Watch a Local Race ~ Frugal Family Activities to do
Corn Starch Gak Science Project to do with kids
Color Collage with ads from the paper
DIY Chime Set ~ Music Fun For Kids
Recipe for Homemade Slime
 Under the Sea Art Project for kids
Balloon Barrettes DIY Kids Fashion
Lady Bugs made out of an egg carton
Exploding Soap ~ Microwave Science For Kids
Horse made out of a pop bottle
Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids ~ Paper Turkeys
Easy Kid Games ~ Turn Easter Eggs Into Reading Games for Kids
 Math Games For Kids
Learn to tell time ~ Time Games for kids
 Frozen Popcorn
Frozen Snowball Pops  
FROZEN Rice Krispy Treats
 Blue Jello Cake Recipe
Magical Moving Milk Science Experiment 
How to make Flubber
Lava Lamp Bottle
Cloud Clay, the softest clay EVER made with only 2 ingredients
Play Time With Dad Shirt

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How to tell a female or Male bell pepperLearned something new today from my neighbor while working in our garden.  He told me that there are both male and female peppers (I looked it up on the internet to confirm it was true and if you find it on the internet it must be true LOL).  Did you know that there are two kinds of bell peppers?

The female peppers  and more round, they have 4 bumps on the bottom. They have more seeds on the inside and when eaten raw the female peppers are sweeter than the male peppers.  So these are better for salads, veggie trays and sandwiches.

The Male  peppers  are taller and thin, they only have 3 bumps.  They are not as sweet but hold up better in heat  and are better for cooking. These are perfect for stews, dips, and cooking.

So next time you are in your garden or in the grocery store, flip over the peppers and  see if your buying “boys or girls” :)

How to tell a female or Male bell pepper

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How to Stain Concrete Floors

Thanks to Emily for passing along this thrifty tip on how to stain your concrete floors. Oh my word… I totally feel in love with this idea, and it looks amazing! If you would like to be a featured guest post on Look What I Made , watch for our weekly post each Tuesday called A Thrifty online craft fair, link up and you may be selected for our weekly feature post.

DIY Concrete Stained Flooring

Earlier this year we adopted a dog from our local rescue group. This dog was not house trained and in our efforts to “convert” him he chewed a massive hole in our living room carpet all the way through the padding. We didn’t want to replace this with more carpet and didn’t want the expense of tile or wood floors. We looked at so many options and then ran across information on stained concrete floors. We completed the process which I will show you below and it turned out amazingly well. It would have cost us over $3000 for new carpet and more than that for tile or wood floors and we purchased the items needed to stain the concrete ourselves and instead got the job done for less than $600 and have ended up with a much better outcome in my opinion. No more renting carpet cleaner or freaking out when something is spilled, I just wipe it up and move on!

Here are some visuals of different points in our project. The first step is to remove the existing carpet and padding and then thoroughly clean the floors.

DIY Concrete Stained Flooring step by step

So here we are with bare concrete floors after removing the tack strips and yes that is my huge black dog enjoying the cool concrete. The most amusing factor of the whole project was watching my husband try to use a buffer.

As you can see the tape we laid the lines down to make this look like tile/marble and we did not want to actually cut grout lines into our concrete as we didn’t want our house filled with concrete dust. Always follow the directions on your stain, not following directions caused us to have to do the staining process twice. Here is the result after the second round.

DIY Concrete Stained Flooring step by step tape design restain

We were finally satisfied with the color so we removed the tape, sealed and waxed the floors after they had completely dried, and there we have the end result. I used a stencil and gold paint to accent the border. In all it took 5 days and it’s pretty maintenance free from there. I do have to re-seal and wax mine occasionally because of my dogs.

DIY Concrete Stained Flooring Final example

UPDATE : Here are answers to the questions your readers had! I’m so glad people are liking the idea.

Excellent Source for Concrete Stain

* The entire process takes 4-5 days depending on how dirty your concrete is. The concrete must be completely cleaned including renting a buffer with a “scratch” pad to get all of the dirt and grime up. It took us 2 days to get the floor clean and the kit that we purchased did come with a special cleaner to help loosen any stains that may be on the concrete. Cleaning is your most important step, if you leave stains they WILL show through. If you have previously had carpet you will need to remove the tac strips which will likely leave holes in your concrete, these must be filled and sanded down. We created an 8 inch border around the entire room and used a vinyl concrete to resurface the border due to the large holes the tac strips left behind.

* We purchased our staining kit from  here, we purchased 2 colors of stain to get the marbled effect- Here are a number of color choices to choose from. Make sure you follow the instructions and use the “Concrete Prep” solution to open the pores of your concrete or you risk the stain acting as a paint instead of actually penetrating the concrete.

* You do have the option of scoring or cutting your concrete and this can be done using a worm drive saw. We chose not to do this because we have kids and pets and I didn’t want to be constantly cleaning dirt out of the grout lines. We made a very intricate border and used 1/4 inch Quilters tape. The tape acts as your grout line, you lay the tape after cleaning your floors. You stain the floors to your desired color, seal the floors and when those steps are complete you remove the tape from the floors leaving you a nice gray grout line. You can purchase the quilters tape at Hancock fabrics and make sure you use the white, the neon colors didn’t stick very well.

* I have not experienced the floors being extremely cold like I expected, they are not nearly as cold as my tile floors. Right now my living room is the only room with stained concrete but we plan to continue it throughout the entire downstairs.

Below is a better picture of the border and tape used to create the grout lines and also the gold stenciling within the border.  Also YouTube has multiple videos on how to stain concrete floors.

Click Here for large image of below

DIY Concrete Stained Flooring Final example of tape design

Related Post:

Kitchen Remodel – Long Three Years But Well Worth Staying Out of Debt

See how we turned a kitchen from 1972 into a model kitchen without going into debt.

From This: 

Kitchen Remodel Before


To This:

DIY Kitchen Remodel stay out of debt

Final Kitchen Remodel



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