Monday, November 10, 2014

Ways to Have a Happier (and more giving) Holiday Season

Ways to Have a Happier (and more giving) Holiday Season

If you are like me, you begin getting into the holiday season as soon as the Pumpkin Spiced coffee arrives back on the scene and there is a little chill in the air. Suddenly the trees are shed of their colorful leaves and the sweaters come out of storage. All too quickly we begin to make our Christmas lists and thoughts of Thanksgiving are brushed aside as we begin to busy ourselves. It seems that this time arrives earlier and earlier each year.

While we should be relishing in our first seasonal break, turkey and football, the clock begins to move at dizzying speed as retailers stock their shelves with holiday décor. Christmas trees are for sale while Thanksgiving items are being sold at discount prices on the next isle and remnants of Halloween costumes litter the clearance racks.

What does this mean for the consumer? It means that we begin to feel pressure – pressure to shop and shop some more. Pressure to get everything on our mile long list and pressure to buy for everyone we know. Thanksgiving becomes a blur of eating and the next day brings Black Friday and all of the craziness that it entails.

With a little thought and careful planning, we will not get caught up in the hustle and bustle and will be able to enjoy what the Christmas season is really all about – giving to others and enjoying quality time with family and friends. There are several ways to achieve a happy and joyous Christmas season without going broke and without feeling like you didn’t get a break at all.

Create a budget and do not waver
Christmas does come at the same time each year! If you being in January budgeting for the extra costs of Christmas, you will not need to add up unneeded credit card debt. Make a list for who you are buying gifts for and set limits. One option to prevent buying a present for everyone in your entire extended family is to have a name drawing and buy only for the person you choose.

Calculate hidden costs
Hidden costs of the holiday season can include elevated electricity bills due to guests and/or holiday décor, gasoline costs from sitting in heavy traffic and endless trips to the store, shipping costs if you procrastinate, additional grocery costs due to visitors, parties and large meals as well as giftwrap, Christmas cards and stamps. Remember to add these into your budget.
Shop for well thought gifts
Many of us can get caught up in the “sales” including Black Friday. But, these shopping trips can lead to overspending and impulse buying. Really give thought to the gift buying process. Give gifts that will truly mean something to the recipients. Think about what would make someone’s life easier like a subscription to a dinner preparation center like Dream Dinners in Cumming or a prepaid maid service. Also think about that person’s hobbies or something they have always really wanted to do but haven’t.

Also put thought into where you shop. Some businesses use part of their proceeds to help others and pay it forward and many are Buy One, Give One companies. Some examples are Toms Shoes and Sunglasses, Blue Silk Scarves, Burt’s Bees, Blanket America, Roma Boots, Noonday (jewelry), Sseko (sandals/purses), Tukula (accessories), Better Life Bags (Detroit based), Not For Sale (T-shirts), Hydros (water bottles), Krochet Kids (clothing), Sevenly (clothes), Barnabas Clothing, Hiptipico, Red Earth Trading Company (jewelry), and The Honest Company (organic baby care items).

Local places that give back include: The Boutique by No Longer Bound ( on Peachtree Parkway where all of the items are created or built by men recovering from addiction, Ten Thousand Villages at The Collection which helps eradicate poverty in developing countries, and  Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee located on Post Road.

By choosing to shop for gifts with these companies, you are helping to give back to more than just the gift recipient.

Donate to local charities or Sponsor a Charitable Organization
There will be countless opportunities to donate money and items to local charities during this time of year. We may feel the pull to donate to every cause, but this is unrealistic. As a family, choose one or two charities to participate in for the season. Remember that donating does not only include monetary donations. Donating of coats and clothing from your own home or donating of toys can also be an option. Serving at a local food bank also cost nothing and is a great way to get involved. These donations of items you already own and giving of your time also allow your children to see how rewarding giving to others can be. A comprehensive list for Cumming and Atlanta can be found at Many local churches also have ways to help and donate.
Other charities that will keep you giving all year include sponsorship of an International child through Compassion International ( or World Vision (
You can also order your Christmas cards through an organization such as Children’s Healthcare, UNICEF,, Cards That Give and St. Jude’s Recycled Card Program.
Take time for yourself to alleviate stress

Don’t feel pressured to attend every holiday party you are invited too. Take some time to just relish the season with those who are the closest to you. Enjoy the lights of your tree and the warmth from your fire for a little while.

If you follow these guidelines and your holiday season becomes more about giving to others than rushing from store to store to get that last minute gift, you really will feel that you have used this holiday season to do something good for others and you will not be focused on what your holiday could’ve been. 

Disclaimer: Holiday and Christmas were used in this article, but many of these ideas can also be used for your family even if your family celebrates something other than Christmas such as Hanukkah.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Welcome Fall Banner DIY

Couldn't resist the Spider with Halloween Close By 

I have been seeing a ton of DIY banners for each season and I really wanted to do one of my own to add to our FALL HOME Decor. I initially wanted to use fabric and burlap, but decided against this. I decided to use what I already had on hand and create something new.

Supplies needed:
  • Card Stock (white will do unless you want this banner to be reversible) 
  • Craft Paper 
  • Chipboard Letters (Michaels Craft Store - Chipboard Embellishments "Autumn Bouquet" 52 pieces) SEASONAL ITEM 

  • Mini Clothespins (Michaels Craft Store - Recollections brand "Craft It Halloween") SEASONAL ITEM 
  • Spray adhesive (Loctite Spray Adhesive Multipurpose Acid Free and Photo Safe - I want this baby to last forever!!) Warning- get the kind labeled repositionable because this stuff is sticky. 
  • Bunting/Banner Pattern - Found Here: {Banner Template} I saved it on my computer and shrunk to the size I needed. 
  • Jute Twine 
  • Scissors

  1. Gather all of your supplies 
  2. Cut your Banner Template 
  3. Cut the background Banner pieces using the template 
  4. Cut small squares or circles to use as the base for your letters
  5. Use spray adhesive to attach the second layer of craft paper to the banner background 
  6. Attach the letter using spray adhesive

7. Cut a second set of banners out of card stock
8. Use spray adhesicve to attach the finished banner to the cardstock for stability 
9. Cut your twine and attach the banner pieces using mini clothespins 

And, the mantle won!! 


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Furniture Refinishing: To Toss or Not to Toss? {Latest Fieldstone Article}

Furniture Refinishing: To Toss or Not to Toss?

With the current housing boom, it is hard to believe that just a few years ago we were in an economic and housing crisis. The housing crisis affected many people negatively including design firms who were forced to close their doors. Many homeowners just didn't feel the need to update and spend their money on a designer – this was seen as a luxury. As a result, a full blown DIY mentality was born.
Do It Yourself is all the rage right now in design and home remodeling. Over the last few years, DIY blogs have exploded. These blogs as well as social media sites such as Pinterest have caused many people to reevaluate how they update their homes and the mantra has become, “I can do that!” Even with the market now being a seller’s market, homeowners have continued to do a lot of things themselves to add character to their new homes and save money.   
Two very popular DIY projects involve furniture refinishing and/or repurposing and reupholstery. Many new tools are available and there are a plethora of YouTube videos and blogs to help you along the way. But, what does it really take to complete a furniture project on your own? When should you tackle these projects and when should you hire someone to help?
DIY does take a lot of planning, a medium amount of skill and all of the right tools in order to be successful.
What you should know?

1      Repurposing/Refinishing Furniture (Case Goods):
Structural integrity is the main feature to look for when choosing a piece to refinish. Test the piece to see if it is level or if it sways when moved, check the drawers to ensure they all close and open properly, and check to see if the piece has deep scratches or gouges.  Elaborate detail such as carving and turns will also take more time to strip and refinish. These pieces will cost more money and take more time and skill than you probably want to invest.

Looking for pieces made after 1850, but before 1960 is a good idea since these pieces will be made very well and are not usually a mixture of laminate or veneer over wood. Dove tailed joints and solid wood (heavy) pieces are best to tackle. If you do have a piece that is a mixture of wood and veneer, know that you will not be able to strip the veneer and it will be need to be painted and not stained.

You also need the right tools and knowledge before you begin. Take before photos of your piece and scour the Internet looking for inspiration. Begin only after researching and coming up with a plan for what you want the after to look like.  If you like the look of painted furniture, you do not always need to strip the piece before painting if you use a good quality primer such as Kilz and a good quality latex paint. Chalk paint is also a great option for refinishing as it doesn’t take a lot of prep work.

Other tools you need to have in order for a successful refinish include quality paint brushes (I am partial to Purdy) and a good quality sander. Painting a piece will not take as much work as staining a piece. To stain a piece, stripping and/or sanding is a priority since you must have raw wood to take the stain. When staining, you will also need to prep the wood with a wood conditioner such as MinWax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner which will allow the wood to take the stain evenly. You then must stain the wood and top that with a good quality Polyurethane.

Other tools that can give your piece a unique look include fabric, tacs, and stencils.

2.      Reupholstery:
Many of us may have a piece of inherited furniture around our homes that has sentimental value, but has seen better days. Or, you may have gotten a really good deal on a piece from a garage sale that you would love to update. Both of these pieces can be reupholstered in new, modern fabric to fit in perfectly for today’s design trends. But, you need to know that reupholstering a piece is not always cheaper than buying a new piece. Fabric alone is costly, but foam and other materials that go under the fabric can also be costly.  

As with case goods, structural integrity is a must when selecting a piece to reupholster. A chair or sofa will be more costly to fix if the structural integrity is compromised. If you sink to the floor when you sit on it or if it has a strong musty or cigarette smell, you will probably want to pass. These things will be a lot more costly to fix. With pieces that no longer have support when you sit in them, this is usually a spring issue and the piece will need to be restructured from the base up. Oftentimes, the smell can be eliminated, but that will take replacing the fabric, the batting and the foam. If there is no smell, the foam can often be reused and only the fabric replaced.

Depending on the age of the piece, it will also be more costly. More modern furniture makes use of sinuous as opposed to tied springs and foam and batting as opposed to welting, horse hair and burlap. When reupholstering a piece, you want to use the original types of materials.

Fabric is also a huge consideration when reupholstering a piece. Where will the piece be placed and who will be using it? If this piece will be a regularly used piece of furniture and you have pets or kids in your home, you will not want to choose a dry clean only fabric. With homes that have pets and or children, a wash and go fabric such as canvas, denim (this now comes in shades other than blue), and microfiber are often used. Furniture can also be treated to help with staining. Some reupholsters have also used painter’s drop clothes to reupholster which are very economical, but this fabric is more suited to slipcovers than reupholstery.

Be cognizant of the pattern as well. Stripes and larger patterns will need to be matched up on the different areas of the piece and will take more fabric and often take a lot more work to keep straight. Solid fabrics or fabrics with all over smaller patterns will not need to be matched.

If you decide to reupholster on your own, know that it will be a lot of work. Never reupholster by simply covering the current fabric with your new fabric. Taking the old fabric completely off (hours of staple pulling), will not only give you a pattern for cutting the new fabric, but will also give you more insight into the structural integrity of a piece.

Having the right tools can also be a huge plus. Tools that are in my opinion a necessity include a rubber mallet, a good pair of fabric scissors, a staple remover along with a flat head screwdriver and needle nosed pliers, a heavy duty glue gun, T-Pins to hold fabric in place as you replace the new fabric, and a compressor with a pneumatic 22 gauge fine wire staple gun specifically designed for reupholstery (you can use a hand held staple gun, but this type makes it hard to get in tight places), and the appropriate staples.

If you are adding any other items to the piece such as piping or buttons, you will need additional tools. If your piece has a cushion or cushions, you will also need a sewing machine with a welting foot, a top stitch needle and a zipper with zipper foot.
Whatever your DIY project, know that you need to do your research in order to be successful with any project. Having the right tools and a little know how can go a long way. If you don’t have the tools, know how or time to tackle the project on your own do contact a professional for help.

Anna Cheung is owner of Anna Cheung Interiors where she offers Home Design, Furniture Refinishing and Organizational Services. She is also available to speak to groups on the topic of organization. Learn more tips and ideas by following Anna at:

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Few Before and Afters - Reupholstery

Goodwill Beginnings 

{This chair was $10!!! and the fabric was $2.85/yd in the scrap rolls! Very good cost for a first project} 

New Skills:

Staple pulling - Ouch!

Making a pattern

Learning the lingo - welting, cording, piping??

Nail Heads

Zipper {Thanks Mom!}

What I have learned since this redo to make the cushion cover fit better ~ Make the cover tight and then fold the cushion in half before putting it into the cover. Makes a neater fit. Who knew?


Victorian Velvet 

New Skills: 

Hand Tying Springs

Recovering Buttons

Diamond Tufting 

New Materials Found ~ Dacron and Pronged Buttons 


Drab Green to Shiny Blue 

New Skills: 

Knowledge of New Tools Needed {22 Gauge Nail Gun to 18 Gauge Nail Gun} 

Pattern Matching 

Note: A Rubber Mallet Made reattaching the sides and back a BREEZE on this project!! A must have for any larger reupholstery jobs. 

Little guy saw this as the perfect opportunity to play with his vehicles. Always ready to help momma. He will be pulling staple in no time. Smile.

With each new project, I learn a little more and gain more confidence in my newfound skills. I am looking forward to my next couple of projects!! Pictures to be posted soon!! 

The hardest part of this process -- staple pulling!! 

My ABSOLUTE favorite part of this process -- getting to WORK AT HOME while Declan is young and the finished product. Having a design degree isn't a must, but having a VISION is. When I see a piece, the AFTER vision is already in my head and that is what keeps me going. That and CLIENT SATISFACTION!! There is nothing better than seeing the JOY on client's face when they see the finished product! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Master Bath Mood Board and Master Bath Redo: Letting the Light In

This was our bathroom BEFORE (right after we moved in): Builder Paint Booooring

This was our bathroom after the first redo: 

Changes ~~

Behr Paint BEHR 480F-4 MERMAID NET (this is the same color as the accent wall in our Master)
Added Hooks for Towels/Robes From Hobby Lobby 
New Accessories,Towels and Large Wooden Carving from Home Goods

This is our bathroom now (after the recent update):

Much Lighter and Not as Dark and Tunnel Like - More relaxing and Spa Inspired 

New Paint Color: Behr Clear Vista PPU13-11

Removed the Towel Bar and Added Floating Wooden Shelves {Shelf Inspiration} My dear hubby saw these shelves and created them using his own strategy! 

Kept the Wooden Carving and Towel Hooks 

Accessorized the Shelves to make it more Spa Like 
{These are some accessories that are on my to buy list} they will be added a few at a time and photos will be updated. Some of my favorite resources for this bathroom are Crafts for Less, Pottery Barn Bath and Woodwick Candles and Diffusers. 

Master Bedroom Mood Board

Over the last year or so, Gary and I have been discussing options on home ownership. The home we are currently living in is/was a starter home and our plan was to stay for at least 5 years. With the market changing (and our having been in our home for almost 8 years), we have been thinking on what to do next. Our family has grown through adoption and we hope to grow it more with more child(ren). With all of our family living out of state and overseas, we often run out of bunking space when everyone visits. We are close to say the least.

In the meantime (while we determine our next steps), we have also decided to update our home a little. Nothing like viewing new builds to know that your home is a little outdated even if it was a new build when you moved in. So, the planning {and scheming on my part} began. Hubby is all about projects these days and he is a wonderful carpenter and mathematician. I sometimes feel I have my own design show with him in the house. It is great to have a vision and someone there by your side to make it a reality!! I love you honey - you better be reading this. Ha!!

We began with our Master Bath and I will be posting photos of that soon. We are now on to our Master Bedroom. YAY!!! The OASIS I have dreamed of forever is finally becoming a reality. 

Here is what I envision the finished product to look like: 

  • Paint the walls a darker color {Behr Antique Tin PPU18-3} PAINT PURCHASED!!!
  • Add Board and Batten in White WE HAVE THE TOOLS FOR THAT!!
  • Add "NEW" lighting over the reading nook DIY in Progress!
  • Add "NEW" lighting beside the beds DIY {this may find its way into our new home if we move}
  • Draperies ALREADY in PLACE {Current Drapes}
  • Add a few new pieces of art {We currently have a couple of Asian watercolors that will be staying in the room} along with a couple of new Equestrian pieces. I LOVE these from the Etsy stores {ApplesAndOats and EyePoetryPhotography}
  • Add a large floor length mirror and perhaps seating at the end of the bed 
  • NEW BEDDING! YAY! I am in LOVE with Pottery Barn's McKenna Collection which is part of The Indigo Collection. The colors are vibrant Indigo along with a khaki to match the chair fabric, tans, greys, and greenish blues. The colors in this bedding will make the greenish blue of the drapery pop and will add a interest and richness to an otherwise neutral grey palette. 
A few other projects may find their way into the room like reupholstering our current sleigh bed, but I am not sure about that yet. 

Here is a current photo of our MASTER BEDROOM: 

What I love: 
Size of the room is perfect with the high ceiling
Lots of natural light 
Our furniture which was a present to ourself when we were married 

Hope to have this project underway soon after school is back in session!!! 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fourth of July Fun {And a little something extra}

Usually, decorating for each and every holiday is not a priority at our house. Christmas is the exception to the rule and Thanksgiving to an extent.

But, this year, Gary will be sworn in as a US Citizen!! Hooray for the USA and Gary!!! His birthday also falls on the 17th of July. So, we are going to celebrate the 4th on the 4th and then celebrate Gary's birthday and Citizenship a couple of weeks later.

What better excuse to get crafty? I thought these were great excuses to decorate for the 4th since Gary's party will have a Red, White, Blue USA theme.

First Project for the Party 
{4th of July Themed}

Wreath for the Door

  • Wooden picture frame {I had a boring brown one that I could've spray painted white, but I liked the look of the burlap}
  • Ribbon in a variety of patterns/colors
  • Small Grapevine Wreath 
  • Scrapbook Paper 
  • Cardstock or cardboard {for back support}
  • Glue Gun 
  • Scissors 

From Delia Creates {4th of July Wreath} 
I loved the simplicity, the vintage charm and the red/white/blue

From Blue Cricket Design {Square Wreath}
I liked the bright colors and the hanging feature of the Christmas ornaments in the center

Step 1: Go hunting ~ my goal was to spend $0 mula on this project
Step 2: Gather all supplies at the kitchen table and get busy {After little man was snoring of course}
Step 3: Step back and ooh and ahh, take pictures and send it to blogland!! 

Voila'!! My Version

Star Background
Red/White Stripe Background

What do you guys think? Red and White Stripe Background or Colorful Stars Background? Voting is now open. 

Have a Happy and SAFE 4th of July from our home to yours!! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Creating Arm Pieces for A Sofa (or Chair)

When I began my journey into upholstery, I knew I would learn a lot! I also knew each piece would be different. But, when you want to learn a new skill you have to do your research. It is trial and error to a certain extent, but you must have the right tools for the job if you want it to turn out.

So, on my first reupholstery project - a Goodwill chair find at $25 - I knew I had my work cut out for me.

I checked out books at the library and I researched several Upholstery sites to study the tools needed and the different types of materials. This gave me a new admiration for the furniture builders in our history! Wow!!

Project 1
 Goodwill find as first project in our Master Bedroom Redo


On this chair, the front arm piece (shown above) came off easily with the help of a flat head screwdriver. It consisted of a piece of cardboard with a nail at either end. That was then covered with fabric with the piping added as well. After being reupholstered with the new fabric, I just had to hammer it back into the chair. Easy, peasy. I then decided to add the decorative nail heads.

Project 2
Client's Sofa 


This sofa had a similar arm piece on the front of it. I guessed it would be just as easy to reupholster as the ones on my Goodwill chair. 

Well, like I said you learn something new with each piece. The decorative nailheads on this piece were not that great. They were not separate pieces. Instead, they were long strips of metal pieces attached together. They were dangerously thin and could've sliced my fingers had I not been wearing gloves. They were a tad scary. 

When I took the old upholstery off of the sofa, I discovered the arm pieces were not that different, but they were lacking the nails in the cardboard pieces. It took me a minute to decide how to reattach them once they were reupholstered. 


I decided to use some of the tack strips I had left over from a previous project. I could've just added nails through the cardboard piece I already had, but this piece goes the length of the arm and I wanted a snug fit all the way down. 


1. Use the existing cardboard strip and add the Tack Strip.
 IMPORTANT: Make sure the tack strip is facing the right direction. You want them to hammer in from the back of the piece. Also make sure your left and right are correct. 

There are two types of tack strips:

Metal with teeth- this type is more flexible {Metal Tack Strips}
Cardboard with nails inserted {Dritz Home Fiber Tack Strip With Nails}

2. Use spray adhesive to attach the dacron or batting to the front of the cardboard {I used a Spray Adhesive}. Just make sure it says that it is All Purpose and includes fabric. 

3. Attach the new fabric {I admit I used a regular old office stapler for this since I didn't want the staples to poke through and show. They are merely for attaching the fabric to the cardboard piece. 

4. Attach the piping in the same way as you attach the fabric

5. Hammer into the arm of the sofa 

Note: Because I used the cardboard strips and they are not as flexible as the metal ones, I will need to go back and hand sew with an upholstery needle and thread with a hidden stitch so it will be snug with the sofa arm. 

I will add more detailed photos of this process when I can. Stay tuned. 

This is the progress so far: 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Playroom Mini Update

Loving the shelving already in place in the playroom. Thanks to a great hubby who is handy with a saw. And, I always check the Clearance aisles when I go to Target. You never know what great finds are waiting there!! The blue baskets were a score!! Target Clearance aisle. Originally $21 each. I purchased them for $7.00 each for a total of $14. One holds balls right now and the other is holding blocks.

Target Baskets {Clearance}
Pottery Barn Shelving 

Shelving by Gary 
We have to still add the doors to the bottom portion and one more shelf will be in the playroom by the end of the week after the backing is added.

Very excited about the progress. I also have painting a rolling cart {Will repaint a color other than yellow} to add as art storage and making pillow covers using some IKEA fabric I purchased a while back on my TO DO list. I still love the IKEA cart since the sides come up and would prevent supplies from rolling or falling off, but my flea market find will do for now.

Flea Market Rolling Cart
IKEA Cart I would Love to Have

IKEA Fabric
Stay tuned for the finished product. More to come.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Minimalist Living: Saving Time on Housework

Minimalist Living is all about saving your time for those things that really matter. It is sometimes overwhelming for stay at home moms as well as those moms in the workplace to get it all done, especially when there are children involved.

The sure fire way to save time on housework is to just have less stuff, but how do you keep up with the essentials like laundry, dishes, meals, etc.?

There are a lot of sayings out there about housework like, "Please Excuse the Mess, The Children Are Making Memories" or the one my hubby used to create a gift for me "Good Moms Have Sticky Floors, Dirty Ovens, Piles of Laundry and Happy Kids."

I do like the idea behind both of these sayings - we shouldn't let housework and chores and errands take precedence over spending quality time with our kids.


If everyone left their dishes in the sink every day, there eventually wouldn't be any clean dishes and there would be a smell. If the laundry were left undone, you would soon hear, "Have you washed tennis clothes this week?" or "Mom, did you clean my favorite shirt? I HAVE to wear it tomorrow." 

So, how do you balance the work with spending quality time with your kids? You take care of what really has to be done and you don't sweat the other things. You go play instead or take time for a hot bath and that book you never seem to be able to finish reading!!

A Few Tips to Make Housework Faster and Easier
{Things I Do}

  1.  DELAY START feature on your appliances {Washer, Oven, Dishwasher and Dryer if your dryer has one}
         - Load the dishwasher after dinner and set it to begin washing after baths. In the morning,                 you will have clean dishes and your kitchen will be clean enough to prepare breakfast.
         - Load your washing machine at night. Set it to wash about an hour before you generally 
           wake up. When you wake up, turn on the coffee machine and put the clothes in dryer. 
         - Use your oven's COOKING TIME feature if your oven has one. I have only done this one 
           time, but you put the food in and the oven shuts off when the food is done. Of course, you 
           do need to check at this point to ensure the food is completely cooked. 

    2.  Time saving appliances for cooking {Crock Pot, Vacuum Pot, Steamer, Pressure                           Cooker, Rice Cooker   

        - You can pretty much cook anything in a crockpot - just keep it healthy! A Whole Chicken 
            is great for Sunday lunch {The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot}
           {Slow Cooker Hamilton Beach}

         - Thermos Thermal Cooker {Thermos Thermal Cooker}. The one we own has two size       
           inserts and was a gift from Gary's mom from Asia. We use this mainly in the winter for                  hot soups or Asian dishes. The insert is filled with the food you are cooking along with the              (water or stock) and boiled on the stove. You then place the lid on the container and put it               in the outer insulated cooker and close the sealable lid. You can even do a search for       
            thermal cookware recipes on Pinterest. 
            Recipes: {Corn and Pork Rib Soup} and {Chicken Apple Soup}

        - Rice Cooker - of course you can cook rice in this! But, if your rice cooker also has a     
           steaming tray that goes in the top, you can steam veggies or potatoes (This is great with    
           small children) You can also mix chicken, eggs, or other ingredients in with the rice. 
           {Stainless Steel Rice Cooker}  Dear Hubby - this would be a great one to replace our rice 
           cooker with :) 

   3. Weekly Meal Planning
       - Plan your shopping list and then menu based on local sales. Buy produce using the Clean 15          and Dirty Dozen lists to save money. 
      - Shop the perimeter of the store buying fresh fruits and veggies, meat and dairy to save money         and time and eat healthier. 
      -Buy only what is on your list to save money. If you are lucky, your hubby will let you go    
       alone and you can have a coffee while you casually peruse the aisles!

  4. Clean as you go
      -Rinse dishes and load the dishwasher as you cook
      -Turn clothing and socks right side out when you take them off; have laundry hampers to sort          clothes; use mesh bags for socks

The Container Store $59 {Ours Came from IKEA - much cheaper}

      -Spray stains and soak items right away {Especially kids' stains - save those expensive clothes           for the next child, donating or consigning}
      -Clear clutter at night before bed

 5. Pack away toys and other items your kids don't play with right now - this helps eliminate a lot        of extra clutter and toys around the house