Christi – Frugal Novice

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Young Living Essential Oil GIVEAWAY Plus a Great Rebate!

We received samples of Young Living products to facilitate our posts. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are our own.

Well, it’s been a couple of weeks and I thought it’d be a great time to update you on my Young Living oils that Tiffany sent my way in the Premium Starter Kit I wrote about last time. And be sure and scroll to the bottom to find out about the amazing rebate Tiffany’s offering – PLUS a giveaway!!

I’ve really liked having the starter kit as my introduction to essential oils because it provided me with a variety of oils to try out. If you go and look at Tiffany’s site it’s amazing the sheer number of oils there are available. And if you’re new to the whole scene, it can seem a little confusing. What should you start with? That’s how I felt, anyway! The kit, though, made it easy. And along with Tiffany’s helpful emails with tips on how to use each oil, I felt like I really had a grasp on how to get started in the world of essential oils.

One thing I had no clue I’d love so much? The diffuser. I’ve always heard people talk about them but was never too sure if I’d really want one. The answer is yes. If you’re not sure if you want one – yes, you do. It’s SO nice to have a completely natural scent wafting through the air & I love that there aren’t other added chemicals you might get with burning candles.

The kids love it too. J begs for me to diffuse peppermint because it says it makes it seem “Christmassy” in the house – and as I’m dealing with a cold I’ve noticed that peppermint is really great for that, too. At night I have really liked diffusing lavender – it’s so soothing and relaxing. And this dew drop diffuser emits a soft blue glow, too, so it serves as a great night light.

They even make adorable diffusers for kiddos with different themes like dolphins or horses. I could totally see getting one for each of the kids to help them drift off to sleep more easily at night.

If you’re like me and wanting to try out oils – but aren’t sure about which ones you’d like – the Premium Starter Kit is the perfect way to get introduced. Or if you’re looking for a unique and really special gift for someone, the kit would be something a whole family could benefit from.

Tiffany is amazing and is offering a huge rebate on the Premium Starter Kits. If you join with a Premium Starter Kit (and this does not mean you’re signing up to sell, just that you’re able to purchase the Young Living products) TODAY you get a $25 rebate – and if you join by 12/31 you can still get a $20 rebate. And either way she’ll also throw in some really helpful educational materials!

Since it is getting awfully close to Christmas and it’s the time to give, we also have a great giveaway for you, too. Tiffany graciously provided a bottle of lemon oil – it’s perfect to diffuse or you can even add it to your water or tea! There’s not much more refreshing than the scent of lemon! And because I really have been so impressed with Young Living products I’m adding to the giveaway – a $20 credit to spend with Tiffany however you like (you could even combine it with her rebate and get $40-$45 off the Premium Starter Kit)!

It’s SO easy to enter, too –  here’s how!

  1. Visit Tiffany’s Young Living site and then comment on THIS blog post telling me which oil you’re most excited to try (or if you’re not an EO newbie, which oil is already your favorite).
  2. Tweet the message below out, and then comment on THIS blog post with a link to your tweet. You can do this every day for multiple entries to win!
    Text for Tweeting: Enter to #win a free lemon essential oil AND $20 to spend at Young Living from @FrugalNovice! #essentialoils #oily #giveaway

Good luck, everyone! I’ll choose a winner December 14 and announce it on the blog!

Terms & Conditions for Giveaway: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY
Unless stated otherwise, contests are open to US residents age 18 and older.
The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Following the end of a giveaway, winners have 48 hours after I have posted and emailed to claim their prize before another winner is selected. By entering this giveaway, you are giving me the right to obtain your name, as well as the right to publicize your name and likeness. You’re also giving me the right to collect your mailing information to coordinate delivery of your prize.
If potential Grand Prize winner forfeits or does not claim the prize, prize will be re-awarded, in my sole discretion. All prizes will be awarded. By entering this giveaway, you agree to hold me harmless in the event that the prize or sweepstakes in some way negatively impacts the winner, or if the company supplying the giveaway prize does not deliver said prize.
This giveaway is being held in the state of Texas. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

Tell Your Own Enchanting Stories with Enchantimals™

We received Enchantimals™ to facilitate this post. Sponsored post by Mirum. All opinions are my own.

My daughter is five years old, which means we’re full-on into the world of dolls. After having two boys first – which means lots of trucks and dinosaurs – it’s been pretty fun diving into the world of girls’ toys!

We’ve spent a lot of time perusing the toy aisles lately (our kids love to look for items to add to their Christmas wish lists)  and we recently discovered a new line of toys from Mattel called Enchantimals™ available at Walmart.

These combine three things my daughter loves – dolls, fashion, and animals – and the five we got were an immediate hit. She decided each girl was the “mommy” of her animal and started making up all sorts of scenarios for them.

Her favorite is Karina Koala™ – she thinks her dress & flower in her hair is beautiful – but her very favorite part is her pink hair!

In fact, she loved the pink so much she had to put on her pink dress to “match” Karina Koala™!

Be sure and check out the Enchantimals YouTube channel for all sorts of fun videos – and in the meantime, here’s a little more about some of the characters to choose from:

  • Bree Bunny™ and her bunny animal friend, Twist™, are inspired by the world of Enchantimals™, a fantastical place nestled in nature. Fun touches highlight her bouncy, creative personality, like bunnies wrapping around her ankles on her pink shoes and ears poking from her pink hair. The whiskers on her face and furry touch of hair match Twist and make them the perfect pair.
  • Felicity Fox™ and her fox animal friend, Flick™, are inspired by the world of Enchantimals, a fantastical place nestled in nature. They’re so cute with their matching furry tails and flowers in their hair! Felicity Fox™ wears a colorful floral printed outfit with fox ears poking from her rooted brown hair and her facial features are animal-inspired.
  • Karina Koala™ and her koala animal friend, Dab™, are inspired by the world of Enchantimals™, a fantastical place nestled in nature. They’re always together, and they look alike, too – with a furry patch of hair and yellow flowers decorating their heads. Karina Koala™ wears a colorful floral printed outfit, has a koala nose and rooted pink hair.
  • Patter Peacock™ and her peacock animal friend, Flap™, are inspired by the world of Enchantimals™, a fantastical place nestled in nature. She wears a colorful floral and peacock feather print outfit that matches her chatty, fashionable personality. Her and Flap have matching feather wings and a purple up-do – Patter Peacock™ even has a golden tiara. Kids will love recreating the wonder of nature with these two.
  • Lorna Lamb™ and her sheep animal friend, Flag™, are inspired by the world of Enchantimals™, a fantastical place nestled in nature. They share a special bond and match with a “woolly” patch of white hair and flowers decorating their heads! Lorna Lamb™ wears a colorful outfit that matches her sporty personality with wool detailing on her tan boots, pink sheet ears, and her big rooted white hair is so whimsical.
  • Sage Skunk™ and her skunk animal friend, Caper™, are inspired by the world of Enchantimals™, a fantastical place nestled in nature. The funny Sage Skunk™ doll wears a colorful outfit, while her black shoes have a thick white strip to match her furry friend. Skunk ears poke from her rooted black and white hair and her facial features are animal-inspired — she even has a black and white furry tail!

 

Major Black Friday Deal on Hoover Rogue!

We received a Hoover Rogue to facilitate our review. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are our own.

love to scour the ads before Thanksgiving to see what Black Friday deals will be available each year. Even though we look online ahead of time, my husband and I still always buy the Thanksgiving Day newspaper so we can look through the ads there, too, and plan out what bargains we want to buy.

This year Hoover is offering a $200 DISCOUNT on their smart vacuum, the Hoover Rogue. This great deal is available now through Black Friday at Target, Amazon, Best Buy & Hoover.com (Hoover’s deal will go live Black Friday). As a family of five with three pets (one of whom sheds enough fur to make a new dog each month) we feel like we are constantly needing to vacuum. We’ve loved the idea of a robot vacuum for a long time – and now that we’ve tried the Rogue I can tell you they are totally a lifesaver.

The Rogue’s a little different than some other robot vacuums out there. It travels around the house and memorizes your floor plan, creating a map for itself. We watched on the Hoover iPhone app as it worked (and you’ll notice at the top of the screen shot we named our Rogue Wall-E!) For our first run we just had it do the main living areas and not any of the bedrooms or bathrooms and it was cool watching the app to see as the floor plan developed on screen.

Many other robot vacuums have a bump-and-go technology. This means the unit navigates by changing direction as it bumps into obstacles. With the Hoover Rogue’s Robart™ Memory Navigation Technology it allows it to actually follow a path and get a really comprehensive cleaning done.  And with the app we can watch the progress to see as it cleans each area of our house.

  

The Rogue has a dock and it will take itself back to its home base whenever it needs to charge or is finished vacuuming. We put ours in the living room for now but may move it elsewhere – you could use any location that is out of the way, has access to an outlet, and works well for your day-to-day life.

Another thing I love about the Rogue is the SmartWall™ technology. This means we can go in to the app and block certain areas (maybe we don’t want the master bedroom vacuumed this time, or you don’t want it to go around your dog’s water dish, for instance). And if you use Amazon Alexa or Google Home you can actually give vocal commands!

The Rogue is Wi-Fi connected so you can be out at lunch and start it up via the iPhone app – and as I mentioned above, you can check progress to see when it’s done, meaning you can time your errands to get back to nice clean floors!

And don’t forget – like I mentioned above, the Rogue smart robot vacuum is $499 normally… but is available now through Black Friday at Target, Amazon, Best Buy & Hoover.com (Hoover’s deal will go live Black Friday)!

Crazy 8 Lets You Shine Your Way for the Holidays!

This is a compensated post. All opinions are honest and are our own.

I love shopping for my kids’ clothes, but the majority of the time I’m buying casual clothes for school and playing. When the holidays roll around it’s always fun finding some special clothes for them to wear to church and other holiday events.

Crazy 8 makes it really easy to find fun, cool looks for all three of the kids. And this time around I decided to take advantage of layering to add even more versatility to the outfits I purchased.

For E, I know she loves anything that shimmers and sparkles, so I got her this sparkle star tee and paired it with a gold metallic skirt. I finished the outfit off with gold sparkle tights and black ankle boots.

So cute, right?

If E wants to be a little warmer and add some black to tie in to her boots, she can layer in a fuzzy sparkle cardigan. I love that all of these pieces are separates – it makes for easy mixing and matching!

My boys are 20 months apart, but at the moment they wear the same size clothes – this means their outfits go the extra mile because I can mix pieces between the two of them. I kept this in mind when I chose their clothes, and all the items work great together for even more versatility.

I know J likes to be comfortable even when he’s dressed up, so I kept that in mind when picking his outfit. I got him a flannel buffalo plaid/gingham shirt and grey Rocker jeans with these dressed-up looking herringbone sneakers (I got a pair for C, too – they’re perfect for both of them!).

To change up J’s look a little I also got the Tie Sweater – it’s a fun way to make his outfit a little dressier looking without making him actually wear a tie.

C is art-minded and a little more adventurous in what he’ll wear (he’s worn ties – by choice – to school on several occasions!) so I picked for him a polka dot shirt (which would also look awesome with the tie sweater pictured above), Rocker cords, and those herringbone sneakers I mentioned earlier.

For his added element I knew right away what I wanted to get – this diamond pattern vest. It adds something a little funky to the outfit – and C loves vests. The vest would also look great with the red shirt from J’s outfit, don’t you think?

Check out all the awesome styles at Crazy 8 (they even have great outfit suggestions that will get you started if you have a hard time figuring out what works well together). What’s your favorite Crazy 8 look?

Quarto Crafting Kits – Unique Holiday Gift Idea

We received two crafting kits to facilitate this post. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are our own. 

Learning a new craft is great fun, but finding a place to start can be overwhelming – which designs to begin with and where to get all those supplies? Luckily, Quarto has the answer with their batch of all-in-one crafting kits. Whether you’re interested in macramé, felting, cross-stitch, or embroidery, these kits have everything you need to get started, including the supplies for two projects. These boxes are the perfect way to learn something new, or to give to loved ones who are interested in needlework but unsure where to start.

Here are the various kits available:

Modern Macramé by Justine Vasquez
10 Simple Projects to Enhance Your Home
Macramé is making a big comeback, and this kit provides exciting and attractive projects inspired by classic favorites, like an owl hanging, and a market shoulder bag. This is macramé for a new generation, though, and includes modern twists like coasters and a customizable hanging shelf. Includes 10 elegant designs, step-by-step instructions, an introduction on knot tying techniques, and all the supplies needed to create a mini plant hanger and a mini wall hanging.

Cross Stitch Creations: Star Wars by John Lohman and Rhys Turton
12 Out-of-This-World Patterns
Now Star Wars fans can show their love of a galaxy far, far away with 12 fabulous cross-stich projects. With patterns featuring the likes of R2-D2, BB-8, stormtroopers, and Darth Vader as well as logos of the Empire, the Rebellion and Star Wars franchise, this comprehensive kit will delight fans of every ability. An easy-to-follow, fully illustrated instruction booklet includes a range of projects, from novice to expert. The kit comes with a needle, embroidery floss, a hoop, and cloth to complete two projects.

Felt Friends: Woodland Critters by Aimee Ray
Create 20 Cute Forest Friends
This unique kit includes a fully-illustrated book of 20 cuddly, felted, animals and plants, plus all the tools and supplies needed to create ten sweet woodland creatures. Each project includes step-by-step instructions along with a photo of the finished product and how to customize each critter. Includes an embroidery needle, a fabric pen, die-cut templates, felt embroidery floss, and stuffing; everything you need to get started.

Embroidery Designs: Boho-Chic by Kelly Fletcher
Everything You Need to Stitch 12 Nature-Inspired Patterns
This beginner-friendly embroidery kit contains twelve boho-chic patterns for stitching trendy flair onto clothes and decor. In addition to 12 iron-on transfer patterns, this kit includes needles, an embroidery hoop, white fabric, and ten skeins of colorful floss. Craft and DIY enthusiasts can mix and match designs like feathers and folk birds to stylishly embellish everything from clothes and throw pillows to wall hangings and totes.

Embroidery Designs: Classic Creations by Kelly Fletcher
Everything You Need to Stitch 12 Decorative Patterns
Blending classic style, undeniable cuteness, and an elegant, modern sensibility, Embroidery Designs: Classic Creations comes with everything crafters need to get stitching. Featuring twelve patterns, two needles, three iron-on transfer sheets, two pieces of white fabric, ten skeins of colorful embroidery thread, and a six-inch embroidery hoop, this fully stocked kit has it all. With this kit to guide them stitchers will delight in adding sweetness and personality to everything from tea towels and tote bags to onesies, napkins, and pillowcases.

Embroidery Designs: Modern Monogram by Kelly Fletcher
Everything You Need to Stitch 12 Elegant Lettering Patterns
Simple, elegant monograms never go out of fashion. Blending classic designs with a chic, modern sensibility, the twelve appealing patterns here can be customized by crafters to easily add monograms and initials to everyday items and handmade gifts. This comprehensive kit makes it possible for stitchers of every level to get started right away. Along with twelve patterns and a selection of lettering styles (primary and secondary), the kit also includes two needles, three iron-on transfer sheets, two pieces of fabric, ten skeins of embroidery floss, and a six-inch bamboo embroidery hoop.

STOMP takes Texas!

I received two complimentary tickets to see STOMP. I was not compensated monetarily for my post. All opinions are honest and are my own.

If you’ve never heard of STOMP, it’s a percussion group – but that alone doesn’t even begin to convey the fun and unique performance you’ll get when you see them live. STOMP uses the body and ordinary objects in a unique combination of percussion, movement and visual comedy.

I’ve seen STOMP once before years ago and I remember what a great experience it was, so I’m really pumped to take my kids to see it. I love the creativity and the energy in the shows!

STOMP used to be one of those shows you only saw in the UK or in New York, but now there’s a show that tours all over the country – even to smaller cities you might not normally think of like Amarillo and Abilene in Texas.

There are two upcoming shows this month and if you live in the surrounding areas it’s not too late to get your tickets! Click here for Amarillo (November 14-15) and here for Abilene (November 16). (While you’re there, check out some other fun upcoming shows through Celebrity Attractions – there are some great Christmas ones coming!)

Here are some fun facts about STOMP:

  • STOMP has performed in over 350 cities in 36 countries worldwide.
  • STOMP’s New York City production celebrated its 15th year at the Orpheum Theatre in February of 2009, which makes it one of the longest-running shows in Off-Broadway history.
  • STOMP is the most financially successful Off-Broadway show in history.
  • The North American Tour has been running since 1995.
  • There are two STOMP troupes in Europe – a sit-down in London and a tour.
  • International engagements have included Korea, Brazil, Japan, Chile, China, South Africa, The Acropolis in Athens, Greece, and Australia.

It’s really a great show for the whole family, and it’s something that will get your kids excited about music & percussion in particular. Go order your tickets today!

An Intro to Oils for Newbies

I received a Young Living starter kit & diffuser to test out and to facilitate my post. I was not compensated monetarily for this post, and all opinions are honest and are my own.

Over the past few years, more and more of my friends have jumped on the essential oils train. I’ve seen Facebook posts galore of how various oils have helped them or their kids with a variety of illnesses or issues. I’ve dabbled in using essential oils a tiny bit, and my main experience with them (peppermint & eucalyptus rolled on my temples during a bout of migraine headaches) was positive. That being said, I am largely clueless when it comes to the vast world of essential oils.

My friend Tiffany is one of the aforementioned friends who I’ve seen posting about oils on Facebook. She and her family (she’s married and has two elementary-aged kiddos – see their adorable family below) use Young Living oils for all sorts of different things, and I’ve been amazed at some of the ways in which oils have helped them out.

I’ve got to admit, though – there’s always going to be a part of me that’s skeptical about something until I’ve tried it for myself. I know for a fact that the peppermint and eucalyptus oils really did help my pain management during my migraines, but that’s just two oils and one malady. I’ve been really curious to try the oils out and see what I think about them.

Tiffany was awesome and sent me a Young Living premium starter kit to test drive quite a few different oils for myself. Since I’m so new to the oily world, and maybe some of you are a lot like me, I thought it’d be helpful to do a couple of posts as I give this all a try. You can learn along with me! You can see at the top of this post a photo of what all came in the kit I received.

Part of my hesitance to try essential oils is that it can seem overwhelming, honestly. There’s so much to learn! This first post will break down a bit of info about oils in the starter kit – Tiffany sends out an email each day with some tidbits of information for the first 14 days, and it’s been a really practical and easy way for me to ease into the world of EO’s. I thought I’d share one way you can use each oil from the kit.

  • Peppermint – Mix with water and witch hazel to create a cooling spray.
  • Lavender – Make a linen spray to use on your pillows before bed.
  • Lemon – Add lemon to your moisturizer to help clarify skin & reduce the appearance of blemishes (lemon is photosensitive so apply it 12+ hours before going out into the sun).
  • Frankincense – (this is one I was pretty clueless about other than knowing it was a gift from the wise men at Jesus’ birth!) Tiffany said she makes her own face serum with Frankincense and Lavender for a healthy glow and to minimize the appearance of wrinkles.
  • Copaiba – (pronounced co-pie-ee-ba – I had never even heard of this one before) Mix with honey and warm water to create a post workout tea.
  • DiGize – Make a tummy roller with equal parts DiGize and Peppermint.  Use it anytime you have sour stomach or after you’ve eaten too much good food!  Roll it on and rub it in.
  • Thieves – Use thieves mouthwash or toothpaste to naturally support oral health (Tiffany says thieves is one of her very favorite oils).
  • RC – Pop on a roller top and roll along sinus passages (I’m really excited to try this one because my sinuses have been bugging me with all the crazy Texas weather).
  • Panaway – Apply to shoulders to promote relaxation after a stressful day (I’m looking forward to trying this one too, because I tend to have tension in my neck and shoulders at the end of the day).
  • Purification – Freshen your stinky shoes, diaper pail, trash can, litter box, or anything that stinks with a little purification dropped on a cotton ball and placed inside.
  • Stress Away – Roll it on your wrists and neck to help relieve stress and nervousness.
  • Ningxia Red – The wolfberry, which is the primary ingredient in Ningxia Red, is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. Drink one ounce a day to help with energy and mental clarity.

Another thing that was included in the starter kit was a checklist that I think is a genius way to figure out what oils you’ll use most in your day-to-day life. You check off items you use, and then on the carbon copy page below you’ll see the corresponding oils you can use to replace the products you’ve used so far.

I’m really thankful to Tiffany for the emails she sent. I feel like they provided me with a great foundation to start with, and along with the information in the starter kit I am armed with a ton of knowledge.

If you have questions about any of the oils or would like to get your own premium starter kit, I can’t encourage you enough to get in touch with Tiffany (connect with her on Facebook and she’ll add you to an awesome informational group). She is passionate about essential oils, and she’s a truly genuine person – so you’ll get nothing but the truth from her. She can help you figure out which oils would be great for you to start with. Click here for a link to her site if you’d like to browse through all the Young Living offerings – I can’t wait to try some of the cleaning products!

I’ll be back with another post next week updating you on my opinions and experiences with the oils so keep an eye out! In the meantime – we’re setting up the diffuser in our bedroom tonight and I’m excited to see how I sleep with lavender in the air!

Little Adventures Makes Halloween Extra-Special

We received dresses to facilitate this review. We were not compensated monetarily for this post, and all opinions are honest and our own.

We are ready for Halloween. In fact, the kids have known what they wanted to be for months! Our boys are going to be cats – they found giant cat masks and we got tails to go along with black thermals & sweatpants. Easy!

E decided she wanted to be Belle for Halloween, although not in the way you might think. She didn’t want to be Belle in the beautiful yellow gown – she wanted to be “reading” Belle from the beginning of the movie. I had visions of needing to whip out a needle & thread (and people, I don’t know how to sew… it would’ve been bad!) until we looked at the Little Adventures site and noticed that – yay! – they had Beauty Day Dress available. It even came with a blue bow!

How adorable is this? She wears a 5T and I got the dress in size 5-7 so she can grow into it – but even with it being a little big it still fits well and will be perfect for Halloween. As with all Little Adventures dresses, this is machine washable and is durable – ready for all sorts of play (which will be good since E will have at least 3 different events she will go to and wear this costume).

I love the detailing on this dress. It is such great quality craftsmanship!

We found a blue book at a flea market that E will carry (let’s be real – that I will carry) to complete the look!

We had the chance to receive another dress for review, and I wasn’t surprised at all when E wanted the purple amulet dress (she has loved Sofia for 3 years now)! We even got one for her American Girl doll to wear too so they can match and be princesses together.

If you’re looking for a Halloween costume, check out Little Adventures. They have SO many options that are high-quality and reasonably priced (seriously, right on par with what you’d pay in a big-box store). These are dresses that will last a long time – through plenty of wears long after Halloween!

 

Reclaimed Wood Bar Feature Wall

We received wood from ReclaimedLumberProducts.com to facilitate our project & review. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are our own.

Last week I posted about our bathroom makeover with the gorgeous reclaimed wood feature wall. And we already have another wood wall on the other side of our house near the master bathroom. We just love the texture, tones, and depth reclaimed wood provides. When we decided to do the bathroom wall, we thought it’d be great to add some character to our kitchen bar by cladding it with wood from ReclaimedLumberProducts.com as well.

We laid out the wood on the floor in front of the wall, making sure no seams lined up (our lab Sally was our moral support). Brian cut the pieces as needed before we got started installing so we could keep the process streamlined.

We love the wood from ReclaimedLumberProducts.com. The back is planed so it’s nice and flat, perfect for installation.

We used the same quick-grab adhesive, making the installation super easy!

E made sure Brian was doing it correctly.

In a few places where the wood bowed out just a bit Brian added finishing nails to help hold the wood in place while the adhesive fully set up. You can’t even see them unless you’re looking for them!

Doesn’t it look great? It made a huge difference in the feel of our house since it’s in such an open part of the house. The rustic wood and modern bar stools make for a nice pairing, with the white really popping against the wood. We love it!

 

DIY Bathroom Makeover With a Gorgeous Reclaimed Wood Wall

We received wood from ReclaimedLumberProducts.com to facilitate our project & review. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are our own.

We love our house, but we knew when we moved in that we’d want to inject our personality into the decor. We’ve done that slowly but surely throughout the house, and our latest makeover recipient was the guest bathroom. Y’all, this is now my FAVORITE room in the house!

Here’s the space before. Fine, but bland.

I knew I wanted to add some color and texture to the room, so we decided to go with a favorite product of ours – reclaimed wood. Instead of leaving it natural like we did with our last wood project I decided to whitewash some pieces and add a pop of teal to others (I LOVE teal – you’ll find it all throughout our house).

We got our wood from ReclaimedLumberProducts.com. They have several types of wood to choose from but we went with the oak blend. I love the variety of tones it provides.

The first thing we did was plan out the wall on our garage floor. We laid the wood pieces out, figuring out where seams were so we didn’t have any lining up, and tried to mix light and dark pieces evenly throughout the rows.

Once we had a basic plan we used a straight-edge to draw our cut lines along all the boards, and then got to work trimming everything to fit the dimensions of the wall.

Next was the part I was most nervous about – adding the color! For both the white and teal colors I just thinned out paint we already had on hand with equal parts water. The teal is Sherwin Williams paint from Lowe’s for the Tiffany blue color – it’s called Refresh (SW6751). The white is actually an off-white color that is used on all the trim and interior doors in our home.

I took a lot of time applying the paint only because I was really nervous about putting too much on! For each piece I did 5-6 rounds of painting, waiting a few seconds, and wiping most of it off with a paper towel. You can see in the photo below how opaque the paint was (even with it being thinned so much) – I knew I wanted a very transparent color so the wood grain still shined through.

It really helped having the wall laid out in the garage. I changed my mind in a couple of instances about where to add teal or white pieces throughout the process.

Because of our prep work, installing the wall was SUPER easy. We just worked from the bottom up, bringing in a few rows of wood at a time.

We used this instant-grab adhesive which made for an incredibly quick installation. (Side note: If you’re thinking you might remove the wood down the line you could always screw a piece of MDF to the wall and install the reclaimed wood on that, or you could use nails in each piece of wood, but we plan to keep our walls long-term and felt good about using this process). 

Here’s the wall in its beginning stages:

And here’s Brian working on getting the last piece installed – there’s nothing like discovering that your ceiling isn’t quite level! Brian had to do some creative trimming and sanding on one end of the top board to get it to fit.

One note – since this is wood reclaimed from barns, some pieces have holes. I used a small paint brush (one that came with the kids’ watercolor set, actually!) to go in and paint black  on the wall that showed through any holes.

And here’s the beautiful finished product!

We seriously ADORE it. We got inspired to do a few other updates in the bathroom too – we changed out the light fixture to a new mason jar-style light (side note – isn’t the wall art great? It’s an old collapsible basket we got from Brian’s grandaddy.):

We added a shelf above the toilet and filled it with white hand towels:

And we updated the pieces on the shelf we already had in the room:

If you’re looking for a way to make a huge impact on your room, reclaimed lumber is the way to go. Whether you leave it as it is, stain it, or paint it, you’ll be able to add texture and depth to your space – and it’s a great project for virtually any skill level! Be sure and check out ReclaimedLumberProducts.com to see all the wall, floor, and even door options they offer. Their products are top notch quality and their customer service is amazing. We’re so happy we went this route for making our guest bathroom into a serene space.

A Guide to Reverse Mortgages

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A Guide for New Reverse Mortgage Applicants

As you get older, it’s likely that your savings is going to get smaller, especially when you retire and are on a fixed income. At the same time, many of your expenses might get higher. Your medical bills might to stack up, or your long-time home may suddenly need a lot of maintenance all at once. Even if none of that is true, you may still want to make your financial future and your family’s more secure. One tool that can help you to accomplish any or all of those goals is a reverse mortgage.

Reverse Mortgages Are Not Standard Home Equity Loans

There is a big difference between a standard home equity loan and a reverse mortgage. When you take out a regular loan on your home, you must pay it back little by little each month. A reverse mortgage, or home equity conversion mortgage (HECM), may actually give you money each month. Alternatively, it may allow you to take out a lump sum of money.

Either way, you get money when you take out a home equity conversion loan, at least at first. The loan will eventually have to be paid off, but generally not until you sell your home or pass away. If you pass away while still living in your home with an outstanding HECM, the remaining balance will be taken out of your estate’s assets.

Why a Reverse Mortgage May be Helpful to You

Now you know what a reverse mortgage is, but what’s a reverse-mortgage actually useful for? Well, the main reason why a loan that converts your home’s equity into immediate money may be useful to you is that it’s almost impossible to default on the loan. You won’t owe any money until you die or move out of the home. Therefore, your home cannot be repossessed for no reason due to non-payment. It’s a loan option that offers a certain amount of financial and residential stability for you.

This sort of loan option is also great because you have the flexibility to use the money for almost any purpose that you can think of. Are you up to your ears in medical bills? Do you just want to set up some investments to make your retirement a little easier? Whatever your goal is, a reverse mortgage can help.

The Type of Borrower That Lenders Look For

Keep in mind that HECM lenders usually look for borrowers who own their own homes outright. If you already have another mortgage, it will probably need to be paid off in full before you can get a reverse mortgage. Also, it helps if your home is worth a fairly good amount of money. Inexpensive homes have very low equity, which means that there isn’t enough to borrow against. It’s also worth noting that reverse mortgages are usually targeted to those who are elderly. If you happen to be under the age of 62, you won’t qualify.

The Downside of Reverse Mortgages

The downside of a loan that is based on converted home equity is that the home will eventually be sold. Either you will sell it yourself or it will be sold when you pass away and the loan comes due. At that time, any money made from the sale has to be put toward paying back the loan. While there may be some money left, it won’t be as much as you or your family might like. So, that is definitely something to discuss with your family before you fill out the loan application.

LEGO City Adventures Await!

Post sponsored by Mirum but all opinions are my own.

If your family has ever owned LEGO sets you know the magic they hold. We love them because they allow for creativity and build engineering skills. Brian (my husband, if you’re new to the blog) has been a LEGO fan for three decades, so it’s been especially wonderful for him to build sets with our kids.

LEGO City Sets are releasing at Walmart this month. There’s an amazing site that will take you and your kids through the different universes of LEGO City, with different hotspots for you to learn more about each city. Explore all the fun LEGO City has to offer with the City Adventures map. Just click through the interactive map to explore each action-packed area of LEGO City, and learn about related sets available at Walmart. Download shareable postcards from your adventures as well as a shopping list based on the LEGO City location you’re visiting.

By exploring, you’ll unlock access to an exciting sweepstakes! Enter for a chance to win a $250 Walmart Gift Card and 6 action-packed LEGO City sets so you can keep the adventure going at home:

6 winners will receive a $250 Gift Card and 6 LEGO City box sets: 

        •        Police: Police Station

        •        Coast Guard: Sea Rescue Plane 

        •        Jungle: Jungle Halftrack Mission 

        •        Great Vehicles: Pizza Van 

        •        Airport: Airport VIP Service 

        •        Fire: Fire Ladder Truck

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We received the Coast Guard Headquarters set to try out – and it was SO fun! The kids had a blast building it and playing with it (and let’s be honest, Brian did too – isn’t his video of the helicopter build fun?). We love the minifigs, and our middle son’s favorite part of the whole set was the octopus!

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Our kids are 10, 8, & 4 – and they all had fun playing with this set both together and on their own. That’s the magic of LEGO – it’s truly fun for all ages. We can’t wait to explore more of the new LEGO City sets at Walmart!