HOW TO MAKE A DIY SUPER FIRE MARIO INSPIRED COSTUME FOR $7!

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From a regular boy to Super Fire Mario, “here we go!”

If your kid is anything like mine, then you can definitely relate. To say that he is obsessed with all things related to The Super Mario Brothers is an understatement. My 6 year-old-son, eats, sleeps, and breathes all things, Super Mario. The boy wants to embody Super Mario as we all know him.

So it was no surprise when he mentioned that he wanted to be Super Fire Mario for Halloween, again… 2 years in a row now, not kidding.

I was able to find some great tutorials via Pinterest to help me make an awesome costume for him to wear while Trick or Treating. He loved it so much that he still wears it around the house while playing his video games a few times out of the week. I am so glad that I decided to make it out of a thicker material instead of buying an overpriced flimsy one.

*Side Note: When he was a wee little toddler, Angry Birds seemed to be his thing. His love for Angry Birds was resurrected when we took him and his 4 year-old-sister out to the movie theaters for the very first time last summer. As a matter of fact, we used to collect all things Angry Birds for him so that we may redecorate his big boy’s room for him one day. But we have since, decided against that and went with Super Mario Brothers instead. Check that out here.

“Best. Day. Ever!” was their response when asked how their movie experience went. 

But now, oh no, it’s Super Mario FTW (for the win)!

My son will come to a dead stop, drop whatever he is doing, and come blazing in into the room at full speed just to catch a glimpse of his hero, Mario. And like a moth to a flame, he can’t help but be lured by the siren’s call of that cheerful 8-bit music.

So when I asked the kids what they wanted to be for Halloween, naturally the only answer that uttered from their little mouths were Super Mario and Baby Peach.

As if I even had to ask? Come On! RME (rolling my eyes)

This was shortly after we’ve discovered the old 80’s series episodes on Netflix, The Super Mario Brothers Show, which prompted their decision, of course.

We normally allow each of our kids 30 minutes of screen time per day and a story each night before bed. And naturally, my son would choose to watch The Super Mario Brothers Show each night. He would watch a new episode each night until the entire series was finished. I kid you not, it took f-o-r-e-v-e-r as we sat through it night after night. :/ So, it did not come as a complete shock to me when he said wanted to be Super Mario for Halloween.

But when my daughter uttered the words Baby Peach, I was blown away. Although she definitely has tomboy tendencies, she’s a girly girl, like her no fear outlook on life. She’s quite the opinionated little lady who isn’t afraid to tell you what she likes and does not like. Since she does not have a favorite character, she tends to be more random and generalized in her choice of female characters.

I did not think she would be remotely interested in the limited amount of female characters that the Super Mario Brothers series offered. However, if I had to guess, I think she really wanted to share an interest with her brother since they have been the best of friends and also the worst of enemies for as long as they’ve been alive. Their sibling bond is just so sweet when they are not busy fighting with one another. ^_^

After my fun Halloween costumes conversation with the kids, I set out to shop online to see what I could find. I was immediately blown away by the astronomical prices for these kids’ costumes. Whoa! Seriously? That’s a whole lotta moolah!

However, I was lucky enough to find a whole ensemble of a Princess Peach costume that included the crown, the dress, and the pinafore on clearance at the Birthday Express online store for just under $7.83! To get this price, I found an offer coupon in my email from the Birthday Express Store for an extra 33% off all clearance merchandise promo. Then I stacked it with an extra 6% eBates click thru offer to boot! Woohoo! What an awesome score! 

princess-peach-dress-costume

The only problem was that it was 5 sizes too big and I needed a toddler-sized costume, not a big kid costume. So, I went ahead and snagged it anyway hoping that maybe with some magic fairy dust and a little ingenuity, I can fix that sucker up in a jiffy. So instead of Baby Peach, we just told her that Baby Peach ate a mushroom and now she’s all grown up and turns into Princess Peach. My daughter was satisfied with that story, so we left it at that, whew! 

Alright!

So that took care of my daughter’s Baby Princess Peach costume request.

And with the wave of my wand, she was transformed into Baby Peach.

Check!

Next up on the list, Super Fire Mario!

But, I did not have any luck finding a Mario costume for my son that did not blow our budget out of proportions. In no way was I going to be shelling out $29 + tax for something my kid was only going to wear for a grand total of 3 hours of his life.  I just could not stomach being sucker punched in the wallet like that. So I decided to do the next best thing I could think of. I was bound and determined to make his costume for under $5!

That’s crazy, I know, but I’m cheap like that and dammit I will make this work!

Since I am an introvert, I tend to shy away from people. But I do love me a good DIY project and I never seem to shy away from creating something with my own two hands for much cheaper than I am willing to pay for it. So naturally, I consulted good ol’ Pinterest for some ideas and omigoodness did it ever deliver! I love me some Pinterest! Don’t you? Lol 

Inspirational Image: http://i.imgur.com/OEsP9Bj.png

(I did a Google search to find out exactly how to replicate Super Fire Mario to finally appease my son’s obsession. And this was the picture that I ended up using for my DIY inspiration costume.)

I did a quick search for DIY Super Mario Costumes on Pinterest and gleaned thru all the results that came up. After some careful consideration, I chose a handful of what I believed to be the best most thoroughly explained tutorials that I can execute without pulling out my already sparse hairs.

Here are some of the best sources of inspiration I have used for creating my son’s Super Mario Costume. Without these tutorials, I would still be scratching my head in frustration trying to figure out where to begin. These ladies gave me the inspiration and the confidence that I needed to actually do this on my own.

So without further ado, please check them out for yourself if you are thinking about creating your very own version of a Super Mario costume for your kid and tell me what you think. For more detailed instructions, click on the links below:

Tutorial For the Overalls: http://smashedpeasandcarrots.com/how-to-make-mario-and-luigi-costumes-tutorial/

(With these tutorials, I was able to create the exact look that I wanted for my son’s costume and it turned out beautifully.:) )

Tutorial For the Hat: http://www.fleetingthing.com/?projects=super-mario-hat-pattern-and-tutorial

For full instructions and tutorials on how to create your very own version of this DIY Super Mario Hat and Costume, be sure to click thru to the links in this blog post.

Download Pattern for Hat Here:

http://www.fleetingthing.com/downloads/Mario_Hat_pattern.pdf

Just in case you were wondering about the costs, I have included a break down of the price for each item. Here is a list of materials that I used to create my son’s Super Mario Costume.

List of Materials for Super Mario Costume:

-Boys Long Sleeve White Thermal undershirt size 4-5T (already had in the closet as a gift from his Grandma a couple years ago) Here is a similar one, if you do not happen to have one available on hand. These are pretty cheap and readily available to pick up anywhere, usually under $4.

-Kids White knit gloves (also already had in the closet as a gift from his Grandma) Theses are also easy to find and generally can be found for about $1.

-Black sheet of felt for Mario’s mustache ($1.07 with tax for a 10 pack @ The Dollar Tree)

– 2 sheets of white felt (24”x24,” $1.07 with tax or $0.50 each at Joann Fabrics)

-1.5 yards of red felt material for overall pants ($1.59 with tax, on sale for $0.99 a yard @ Joann Fabrics)

-1 comfortable pair of pants, (preferably jeans that fit your kid perfectly so that it does not expand or contract too much when you are cutting around it.) We already had a pair on hand, so no need to buy one.

-About 1/2 yard of white elastic ¾’ thick to sew onto the back of mustache, this goes around the child’s head above the nose and ears to hold up the mustache (already had on hand)

-1 good pair of sharp fabric scissors (already have on hand)

-Sewing machine with zigzag pattern (already have on hand)

-Your choice of color for thread spool & bobbins, I used white and red for my son

(already have these on hand in my sewing kit)

-2 big yellow buttons ($2.43 with 40% off coupon and tax)

-Light-up Fireball from Target ($1.06 with tax)

Total: $7.23 ($2.23 over budget, not too shabby for a DIY project)

*Note: I realized I needed extra fabric than the tutorial called for because:

  1. I purposely made it kind of big so that the waist and the hem can be let out if he had a sudden growth spurt, or
  2. If you want to stuff a small pillow under the shirt to give Mario his trademark look as though he had 1 too many plates of spaghetti. 
  3. Because I am a figure-it-out-as-I-go, beginner-sewist, who-makes-a-lot-of-mistakes. So please, take that into consideration as you may or may not attempt this yourself. 
Super Fire Mario Go!

 

So now that Halloween is over, I wonder what the next craze will be.

Super Fire Mario and Princess Peach, ready to win at Trick-or-Treating!

Stay tuned for that adventure…

 

 

Disclosure:

The purpose of this blog is to provide insight and enjoyment only. I am not nor do I claim to be an expert or professional in any manner. All opinions are 100% my own. Please do not copy any content from my website without my prior permission or written consent from me. However, you may link directly to my post for reference and to give credit.

Disclaimer:

This website contains affiliate links and sponsorships. I do not endorse nor would I recommend any products that I have not used nor trust to my readers. Thank you so much for your continued support in helping our small blog grow- at no costs to you whatsoever.

Contact:

Please contact me directly via email:  admin@fulloffortunes.com, if you have any questions and/or comments. Thanks for stopping by! 

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How To Make A DIY Princess Poppy Troll Inspired Costume For Less Than $4

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She is all dressed and ready for her Halloween Parade around the school in true Princess Poppy style!

The Trolls Movie came out last year during the 2016 holidays season. Since then, my daughter has been head over heels in love and still, can’t stop talking about it! All of the characters in this movie look so colorful and cuddly covered with felt and glitter, how can any normal kid not go bananas? Don’t even get me started on all those cool songs and dance moves, lol.

This is a screenshot that I took on my phone of the fleece fabric blanket from Joann Fabrics that I have used as my inspiration for my DIY Poppy inspired costumes.

What’s not to love? It is sheer sensory overload for any kid. She has seen this movie a grand total of 25 times in counting and does not plan to stop watching it anytime soon. I believe she knows every song and can recount every dance move from beginning to end.

This is a screenshot of the Poppy costume that was sold at the Target Stores in October 2017. My daughter astutely pointed out that it’s not fleece, unlike how it was in the movie. 😉

So of course, she had to be Poppy for Halloween this year, as if there was ever any doubt about that! Out of curiosity, I did some research to see if it would be worth it to buy a Poppy costume or to attempt another DIY project. A brand new flimsy costume from Target was going to cost me $25 before taxes and the wig would be an extra $10, also before taxes.    

Ouch!

Sorry, not going to pay that for something she is likely going to wear just once, smh.

Instead of shelling out more than $35, I decided to attempt another one of my DIY skills on this new little pet project of mine to see if we can get it done much cheaper. And guess what? It’s totally doable!   It’s like a bad case of Deja Vu, but instead of making over my son, I am doing it for my daughter this year! lol Here’s what I did:

On one of my random visits to Joann Fabrics this month, I happen to discover that there was a sale on blizzard fleece, which, coincidentally, bears a really close resemblance to all of the felt material and scrapbook feel of the Trolls Movie. And at 50% off the regular price of $8.99/yard, making it $4.49 I thought it would be worth it to give it a try and make poppy’s famous blue dress. I also picked up a sheet of green felt for $0.25 to make her headband and found pink fabric spray paint on clearance for $1.97 to make her hair. The total cost of this project was $7.21. However, instead of only one Poppy costume, I was lucky enough to have enough material to make 2 of them! Since my daughter and her friend, both love Poppy, I was able to surprise them both with a Poppy costume. This makes each costume (dress, headband, and wig included) cost just $3.60 per kid, which is a win for me! 🙂

This was a super simple project that really did not require any sewing. You can even use fabric glue if you wanted to do so. However, I just happen to have a sewing machine at home and I wanted to test my memory of how to thread it if I ever needed to since it’s been so long since I’ve last used it.  And I’m happy to report that my old noggin’ still works despite the cobwebs!  🙂

If you’d like to make your own DIY version of a Poppy costume for your little one, here is what you will need.

List of materials:

  • pink fabric spray paint
  • 1 sheet of green felt
  • 1/2  yard of turquoise blue blizzard fleece (depending on your child’s dress size)
  • a well-fitting dress (to use as a template to trace around) already have
  • tape measure (already had on-hand)
  • white sewing chalk (already had on-hand)
  • sewing scissors (already had on-hand)
  • sewing machine with white thread (already had on-hand)
  • sewing pins (already had on-hand)
  • white acrylic/fabric paint (already had on-hand)
  • white sidewalk chalk (already had on-hand)
  • green sidewalk chalk (already had on-hand)
  • fake snow blanket (the kind that used to cover the bottom of a Christmas tree)- already have
  • pink long sleeve/hoodie sweater (already had on-hand)
  • pink leggings (already had on-hand)
  • pink boots (already had on-hand)
  • pink glitter makeup/lipstick (already had on-hand)
  • scrap pieces of cardboard to protect the fabric and your table from paint (already have)
  • cup of water (already had on-hand)
  • small sponge (already had on-hand)
  • small detail paint brush (already had on-hand)
  • plastic headband (already had on-hand)
  • hot glue gun (already had on-hand)

 

This was a project fit for the trolls as the majority of it involved cutting and gluing, just like Poppy’s scrapbooking! 🙂

Directions for the headband and wig:

  • Take the snow blanket outside and spray paint it pink. Be sure to place it inside of an open cardboard box to keep the color from spreading and to control the smell. Warning: It smells atrocious! 🙁
  • Follow the direction on the spray paint can. Spray paint one side and wait about an hour or so until it is dry to the touch. Then flip it over and spray the other side. Let it dry overnight.
  • Take a plastic and trace it onto the green felt.
  • Cut out the traced pattern of the headband and hot glue it onto the plastic headband covering its entirety with green felt. Let it dry.
  • Cut out several pieces of leaves in varying sizes with the leftover pieces of green felt.
  • Cut out several pieces of petals in varying sizes with the leftover pieces of turquoise blue fleece material.
  • Assemble the leaves and petals to make two small flowers on the top left of the green headband and one small flower on the top right of the headband using hot glue. Let it dry.
  • Now that the snow blanket is dry and pink, tease it into the best fitting shape and size of your child’s head.
  • Then hot glue the pink fuzz, piece by piece onto the headband until you’re happy with its placement and shape.
  • You are done! Snap a pic of your new Poppy Troll Wig!
I used my daughter’s 5T cheerleader dress as a template and added another 4 inches to extend the hem of her Poppy dress so that she can wear it many more times after Halloween. The girl loves to play dress up with her friends!
This was the messy part. I used a combination of acrylic paints and fabric paints because I ran out of each, so I mixed them and let them dry for 2 hours in between coats.

Directions for making the dress:

  1. Find a sleeveless dress that fits your child well and place it on top your folded turquoise blue fleece. This will be your template, trace the outline of the dress onto the fleece using sewing chalk. Make sure to leave a 1″ allowance all the way around your pattern for seam lines.
  2. Take the turquoise blue fleece and fold it in half lengthwise. This will give you 2 layers for the front and the back of Poppy’s dress.
  3. With sewing scissors, cut through the 2 layers of fleece.
  4. Take the top layer and cut out a v-neck. This will be the front of the Poppy Dress. Leave the 2nd layer as-is, this will be the back of the dress.
  5. Pin the 2 layers together to keep them in place.
  6. I eyeballed and guestimated the size of the saddle-shaped strap that will go over the front left shoulder of Poppy’s dress and cut this piece out to attach it to the inner left shoulder when sewing it together. Then attach the strap alongside the left outer v part of the front of the dress using hot glue for a more finished look.
  7. Make sure your sewing machine is ready to go with white threading in place and sewing together the shoulders and the sides of the dress. (I used a zigzag stitch pattern because I do not have a serger.)
  8. Place a scrap piece of cardboard underneath the dress and trace the fleur di lis pattern onto the bottom hem of the dress on the front using the white sidewalk chalk.
  9. Using the chalk as a guide, go over the pattern using white acrylic paint and fill in the pattern with a detail paintbrush.
  10. Using a wet sponge, blend the white acrylic paint from the design to the hem of the dress to create an ombre effect at the bottom.
  11. Repeat steps 11-13 on the other side (back of the dress) at the bottom hem.
  12. Let each side of the dress dry for 3-4 hours.
  13. Paint a yarn clasp onto the saddle strap front closure of the dress.
  14. Using the green sidewalk chalk, trace a thicker line around the fleur di lis pattern and blend in with your fingers to create a greenish ombre effect around the pattern.
  15. Abra Cadabra! Now we have a finished our very own DIY Inspired version of Princess Poppy The Troll dress! Enjoy!
We hope we’ve inspired you to create your own version too. Let us know how your’s turned out!

 

Disclosure:

The purpose of this blog is to provide insight and enjoyment only. I am not nor do I claim to be an expert or professional in any manner. All opinions are 100% my own. Please do not copy any content from my website without my prior permission or written consent from me. However, you may link directly to my post for reference and to give credit.

Disclaimer:

This website contains affiliate links and sponsorships. I do not endorse nor would I recommend any products that I have not used nor trust to my readers. Thank you so much for your continued support in helping our small blog grow- at no costs to you whatsoever.

 

Contact:

Please contact me directly via email:  admin@fulloffortunes.com, if you have any questions and/or comments. Thanks for stopping by! 

 

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Rice Done Right! Every Time!

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(Note: Although, I was not compensated nor was I sponsored by Zojirushi for this post, all opinions, recommendations, and reviews are 100% my own. If, however, I may be compensated or sponsored by them in the future, I will update this post accordingly to reflect it as such.)

Image Source by Shutterstock

Want hot, tender, melt-in-your-mouth, perfectly cooked, freshly prepared rice? Want it fast and cooked from home every single time? If you answered yes, then read on…

Don’t order takeout, save your money, and make it at home instead. Thanks to my parents for making me eat gobs of rice growing up, I now know how to make it on my own. 😉 Here is the secret on how to do it the right way, once and for all.

 

Directions:

1-Wash once (rinse thoroughly) in lukewarm water, I use long grain Jasmine rice because I grew up eating it and that’s what I am used to eating. But you can choose whichever type, brand, texture rice that suits your taste buds.

2-Tap on the sides of the pot with your palms to level out the rice

3-Fill about 1 inch or approximately 1 knuckle above the surface of the rice with water and cook in a rice cooker on automatic white rice setting (or whichever you prefer using, like Brown, etc.)

4-Stove Top: Cook the rice 20 minutes on medium high heat if cooking on the stove-top oven, stirring often to make sure that it doesn’t spill over and ruin your cooktop. For those of you with a gas stove, consider yourselves lucky, I miss mine so much. My electric stove hates me, it burns all my food, thus I hate cooking. It is annoying for me to stand there for 20 minutes while I babysit my dumb electric stove. But alas, it still works, so I will suffer through it until it dies. 🙁

5-Microwave: Cook for 30 minutes on high setting if cooking in the microwave, stirring often every 10 minutes. This is also very annoying to stand there for 30 minutes while I hangrily wait for my rice. But at least there’s a built-in timer to alert me to care for the rice while I dabble in a side project. 😉

6-Rice Cooker:  Just set it and forget it.  “Easy peasy lemon squeazy,” as my daughter would say.  Oh man, this is by far my favorite method of cooking. Hit the button and walk away.

Image Source by Shutterstock

 

Final Verdict:

Mmmm rice, (drools).

 

When it comes to rice, go for Goldilocks:

Not too wet yet not too dry, but, just right!!!

 

Recommendations:

This is the model that we are currently using in our kitchen. We love it so much that we kept the sticker to remind us that we bought it brand new at one point. We love paying homage to those folks who still leave the plastic wrap on their furniture because we like to think we are spiffy like that too. 😉

If all else fails, try using an automatic rice cooker.

We have gone through our fair share of rice cookers in the past, whether it was a hand-me-down or a cheapie. All of which were cheap in price and also in quality. But my favorite by far is the Zojirushi Rice Cooker, it makes perfect rice each and every time!

This Zojirushi model, in particular, has delivered on its promise of perfect rice and then some. Not only does it perform well, it’s also quite an attractive piece of an appliance in our kitchen featuring its stainless steel exterior to match the rest of our kitchen appliances. Although it is a bit pricey, up front, it will last you pretty close to a lifetime.

And that, to me, is a great investment on any kitchen appliance, especially because rice is a staple in our household. We serve up rice at least 3-4 times a week with our meals.

How did your rice turn out? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Disclosure:

The purpose of this blog is to provide insight and enjoyment only. I am not nor do I claim to be an expert or professional in any manner. All opinions are 100% my own. Please do not copy any content from my website without my prior permission or written consent from me. However, you may link directly to my post for reference and to give credit.

Disclaimer:

This website contains affiliate links and sponsorships. I do not endorse nor would I recommend any products that I have not used nor trust to my readers. Thank you so much for your continued support in helping our small blog grow- at no costs to you whatsoever.

Contact:

Please contact me directly via email:  admin@fulloffortunes.com, if you have any questions and/or comments. Thanks for stopping by!

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10 Do’s and Don’ts To Help You Beat Debt

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Image Source: Pixelbay

Unless you’ve been living under a rock your entire lives or you are one of the lucky few who happens to be born into wealth, you are no stranger to debt. It is mind-boggling to see how quickly and easily you can spend your hard-earned money. Yet, on the flipside, you know how painfully slow and difficult it can also be to earn it and to save it. There simply are way better things that you would all rather spend your hard earned money on anyway.

And then you quickly find yourselves continuously digging deeper into a grave of your own doing. Yep, debt happens to the best of us.

Yes, even me.

Growing up, I was always taught that a successful life equated to hard work and continuous pursuits in education. Well for me, that meant getting a higher education, which meant either getting scholarships or taking out school loans in order to go to college. I did both. We were pushed to try harder, to do more, so that we can make more money later on and buy a big house and live a lavish life because that was what success looks like. And like a house, higher education was treated as a “good debt” in our household, and so that was what we all believed because that was what we were taught. I’m sure that’s what you were probably taught too. So that’s what I did.

And because of that, I now have a huge mortgage and matching huge school loans to look forward to every month for the next decade or so of my life. All because I was duped into thinking that this is the norm for everyone who wasn’t blessed to be born into a rich family.  This was what I believed, up until recently when I discovered tons and tons of stories from people who have gone against the grain to dig themselves out of debt.

Sometimes, it might truly be your fault. You just can’t help yourself from the allure of the latest and greatest new tech toy that just came out this season.

Other times, you just happen to get served by a circumstantial “act of God,” at no fault of yours whatsoever. Perhaps you might have bought your first house only to find out later that it was swept away because it happens to be in the direct path of a deadly hurricane.

Or, you made an appointment for your annual exam expecting your usual clean bill of health only to be told that you have incurable cancer that can possibly cost you and your family a future of uncertainty and an insurmountable amount hospital bills afterward. Whether it is due to health, an act of nature, or just exercising poor choice, debt happens and it happens to the best of us, believe me.

So what can you do to prevent it? It may surprise you to learn that there are many ways to soften the blow of debt and build yourself a soft cushion for when life strikes.

Check out these 10 Do’s & Don’t s On How To Beat Debt below:

1. Do Boss your money around: create a budget and tell your dollars and cents where to go. Be diligent with every penny and soon you’ll quickly find your peace of mind when you’re able to gain control of your money and not the other way around.

 2. Do get an umbrella: and start saving for a rainy day. Create a savings account for emergencies only, meaning do not spend it unless your life depended on it. Start off small, $25 per week, and by the end of the month, you would have saved yourself $100. Do this for a whole year and you would save yourself $1200, for when it really does rain.

 3. Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew: Pull back the reins on your spending spree and start asking yourself if this item is a “need,” or a “want”. Do this for every purchase and you’ll soon make a routine out of it. If it is truly a “need,” give yourself the green light to buy it. However, if it is a “want,” it can wait a while until you have the cash available to spend later.

 4. Do Find Alternatives: Look for other ways to achieve the same effect, swap out an old item before replacing it with a new item, trade services with a friend who happens to be a hairstylist if you happen to moonlight as a good alterationist on the side; host a potluck night where everyone BYOB (bring your own beer) and/or side dish; think of free games or activities to do with the kids instead of going out to eat or spending money at the amusement park.

 5. Don’t Try To Keep Up With The Kardashians: simply put, do not spend money and buy things just to impress people that you do not like. Instead, let it be known that you are living frugally and chances are your true friends will respect you enough to follow suit. Because as we all know, “birds of a feather stick together,” find like-minded frugal folks to hang out with so you don’t succumb to the spending craze.

 6. Don’t Knock Meal Planning: do not underestimate the power of meal planning. A quick fast food run can be convenient, but it can easily rack up a $40+ for a family of 4. Take that number times 3 meals for 7 days a week and you’re easily spending upwards of $840  per week just on eating out for all your meals. (That’s a mortgage payment for some folks!) Do your family a favor by spending just $40 a week and plan out your meals. It will save your wallet, your waistline, not to mention your sanity for the cash you’ll be saving. Make this a priority on Sundays so that the rest of your week runs smoothly. Take advantage of grocery store loss leaders (the front page of sales ads) and buy items on sale. With the money that you can save on your weekly grocery bill, you and your family can rack up a nice fortune at the end of the month to pay down credit card bills or even start a fund for a nice family vacation!

 7. Do Set Goals: Have a family meeting once per quarter and write down everything you plan to do this year, then next year. (Don’t worry if your goals change, it’ll happen.) Set up a savings account/fund for each goal and set aside a specific amount per pay period in order to reach that goal together as a family. Get your family to visualize the goal(s) and work hard towards achieving it together.

 8. Do Celebrate The Small Things: Start off small, say, 3 days at a time, and keep a spending journal of all the things that bought and did not buy. Did you spend any money? If you did, can you return the item? If you did not, congratulations! You did it! You saved yourself some moolah in our hot pocket! You get a gold start for that. Now let’s have a homemade dessert and extend that 3-day goal into 7 days! There’s another homemade cookie waiting for you in the cookie jar with your name on it, in 1 week. You can do it! 😉

 9. Do Believe in Yourself: This is no small feat. Otherwise, everyone in the entire world would be rich, right? But you have to be your own cheerleader and dig deep within to find the gumption to dig yourself out of debt and save not only for you but also for the future of your family. You can do it! I believe in you.

 10. Do Move Forward: So you hit a stumbling block. You were working late yet again this week and you answered the bright yellow siren call of the double arches. It needs you and you need it, like right now. And even though you know it’s wrong, no burger in the history of all burgers has ever tasted better or half as juicy as the one you’re about to sink your pearly whites into right this second. You hate yourself but you just can’t stop. You just spent $25 on a subpar meal that will give you heartburn for the rest of the night because you were just too busy this week to meal plan and pack a meal from home. It’s ok, you heard me right, it’s ok. This too will happen and it too shall pass because tomorrow is another day for you to try it all over again. It’s kind of like falling off a bike. Once you get tired of the bruises, you’ll either quit or you’ll suck it up and do it again.

Having debt can weigh you down and make you feel as though whatever it is you do, you just can’t seem to stay afloat for very long. At first, you may start to feel as though you are nothing more than just another cog in a constant hamster wheel, destined to spend your life trapped in this never-ending soul-sucking cycle. It’s suffocating and can oftentimes feel like you’re being bound by shackles anytime you are faced with the temptation to spend money. But it doesn’t have to be that way forever.

If you are ready and willing to take these small steps and be willing to sacrifice a few creature comforts now, you will set yourself up for a much more comfortable future later on in life. Because let’s face it, wouldn’t you rather be relaxing, digging your toes inside the soft sugary sands of a tropical island somewhere rather than digging yourself out of the grave of debt you’ve dug yourself into because of all the financial mistakes you’ve made in your youth? The choice is entirely up to you. But for most of you, it’s a no-brainer, right?

As the saying goes, “there’s no time like the present.”

Now go out there and get it done!

 

Disclosure:

The purpose of this blog is to provide insight and enjoyment only. I am not nor do I claim to be an expert or professional in any manner. All opinions are 100% my own. Please do not copy any content from my website without my prior permission or written consent from me. However, you may link directly to my post for reference and to give credit.

Disclaimer:

This website contains affiliate links and sponsorships. I do not endorse nor would I recommend any products that I have not used nor trust to my readers. Thank you so much for your continued support in helping our small blog grow- at no costs to you whatsoever.

 

Contact:

Please contact me directly via email:  admin@fulloffortunes.com, if you have any questions and/or comments. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

 

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How We Sold Our House in Just 6 hours! (And So Can You With These FoolProof Tips!)

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Photo Source by Mixed Media

In The Beginning:

It began as one of those builder grade foreclosed houses at the end of a quiet street. This house had many imperfections that included; a missing broken window, the not-so-private backyard, the honey oak wood trim, mismatched flooring, a burgeoning forest of weeds and dandelions as far as the property lines were marked intently on the ground. We bought it for a steal back in 2007, when the market was in the middle of a crisis.

Even in the middle of a downturn at the time, we saw these imperfections as a blank slate with tons of potential. We knew it was risky and we went for it anyway. Over the years, 9 to be exact, with some much-needed TLC, we turned this once forgotten foreclosure into our home boasting with pride and joy.

 

And then, it happened…

We did such a great job at turning that house into a home that we made someone else fall in love with it at first sight!

In fact, we maximized it’s potential, gave it some TLC during those 9 years and it more than returned it’s grace to us and paid us back in-kind.

To our surprise, we made another family fall in love with our home at first sight! Within a few short hours of already signing a contract for another house, they broke their contract and made an offer on our house, SITE UNSEEN!

You read that right!

We had our minds blown too when we heard those words uttered from the mouth of the new owners! We literally put our blood, sweat, and tears, not to mention some serious moolah, into this house thinking that we were going to stay there forever.

But then life happened, and we sold it after just 1 day of being listed on the MLS (Multiple Listings Service).

It’s a crazy mad roller coaster ride! I know!

This entire process was, I know it! Lol

Before I begin to show you what we did to sell our home so quickly, let me first begin by telling you to change your mindset.

You heard me right because, in order to make this possible, you must first change your mindset about how you see your home.

What you do with it, will determine how others see it for the very first time.

 

9 Questions to Ask Yourself About Why You Are Selling Your Home:

Ask yourself some really tough questions and answer those questions honestly.

1-Why am I selling my home?

2-Is the size of my current home too small for my family and I?

3-Is there enough space for my family and I to grow old together here?

4-Do I see myself living here for x amount of years or longer?

5-What can I do to improve my home’s value?

6-How can I add value without breaking the bank?

7-What are some positives and negatives about this home?

8-Does the neighborhood or my neighbors bother me?

9-What do I love the most/least about this home?

If you can sit down with your spouse, partner, and/or family and have a candid conversation about why it is you are selling your home. Then you are ready to tackle this adventure together.

Because let me frank with you when I say this: There is a whole lot of work to get your home ready, from getting it listed to get it SOLD!

-Some blood was spilled (someone had some paper cuts from folding all those cardboard boxes and decided to cut tape with their teeth)

-There was a lot of sweat (from going up and down the stairs several times to carry an obscene amount of boxes),

-And of course, some tears were shed too (tears of boredom from the kids-they never want to move ever again.)

But I assure you, folks, it was very well worth it!

Be sure to check out our DIY’s Before and After pix for more helpful ideas that you can implement in your own home to add value or help in the sale of your house.

 

The Nitty Gritty:

Without further ado, here’s what we did to make that happen for us and you can do the same too!

(This was what our basement looked like before we decluttered, 10 years of history was buried down here. Someone grab a shovel and start digging! Sorry, I forgot to take an After photo to show proof that we did, indeed, clean our basement!)
  1. Declutter! Declutter! Declutter! I cannot stress this point enough. Think less is more in this case. You want bare, or close to that, surfaces throughout your house. Think “model home” in this case. You are selling a vision of a “would be perfection” to your prospective buyer, not a vision of your cluttered left-overs. If you must keep your clutter, keep it hidden and out of sight especially during showings so that your prospective buyer can envision themselves living in this fantasy dream home that you have created for them.

*Side Note: There was a house right down the street from us (literally like 4 houses down) that was listed for the past 2 years, that sat untouched with no offers, most likely because it still looks like the photo above of our basement before we cleaned it out.

The main reason why it was still on the market well-after our house sold. The reality is that people do not want to see “you” strewn about. Instead, they want to be able to envision themselves living in the space that you are selling.

This was the reason why I was so nervous about selling our house. In every photo that they have uploaded to the MLS, it was apparent that there were gobs of clutter that needed to be gone.

Therefore, in order to sell your home, you need to not make it about you.

I know this is tough to digest because as proven by me, that’s how my before pic looked like before we decided to declutter and get serious.

Been there, did that, it will be ok. YOU GOT THIS!

(This piece de resistance was compliments from my daughter when she discovered a stray crayon on the floor. I hit that with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and the scribbles were gone lickety-split.)

2. Mean Green Cleaning Machine! Also another point I cannot stress enough about. Clean your house like your life depends on it! So clean, you can eat off the floors, like having your last-meal on it type of clean. I’m serious about this. There’s just no other way around it. You want your house to be immaculate, as in stain-free, without a reasonable doubt as to where that mystery odor is coming from kind of clean.

 

Photo Source  by Mixed Media 2016

3. Light the way! Be sure to turn on all the lights if the showings are in the evening. If it is during the day, be sure to open all the shades. The idea here is to let in as much natural light as possible to show how bright airy, and expansive your home looks and feels. This is another reason why any sort of light neutral shade of paint that reflects the most light will win the hearts of your prospective buyer. 

 

Side Note: (Before we decided to paint our master bedroom in a lovely shade of warm greige from Behr’s Rolling Pebble, we made the mistake of choosing a very greenish yellow wheatgrass color, which always seemed to make me sick in more ways than one. Moral of the story: choose carefully my friends…)

 4. Be like the Swiss and Go Neutral (see step #3) Paint your walls a neutral color or stick with plain white walls. Again, you want the eyes to continue glossing over the entire space allowing your home to look bigger and more expansive. Staging each room with some smartly placed and appropriately-sized furniture will help the prospective buyer imagine themselves living in their dream home. Use your own furniture if it is in great condition or consider renting out some from a staging company for the duration of your home selling process.

 

 5. The Holy Trinity When staging, decorate in vignettes of odd numbers, preferably 3’s and 5’s, for a more contemporary or modern look. If you have a more traditional looking home, like a classic Victorian home, then symmetry would work better. You would decorate in pairs using an even number or 2’s or 4’s, like pillows on a couch or place settings on a dining room table.

 

(One of my favorite features in our old house was the beautiful high windows. If you have them, be sure to highlight them by opening your window drapes and turning on all your lights before a home showing. This was a lovely sight for sore eyes after a long weekend away.)  Photo Source by Mixed Media 2016

6. Go Up, Up, Up: Take advantage of the high ceilings, if you have them. Draw the eyes up with long sheer drapes as close to the ceiling as possible and just barely skimming the floors. Or you can leave an extra 2-4 inches billowing on the sides of windows for a soft and romantic feel in the living room and bedrooms.

 

Photo Source by Mixed Media 2016

7. Deodorize the Premises Use a scented candle from the fancy store at the mall or a room spray, also from said store in the mall. Bake some chocolate chip cookies, brew a fresh pot of hazelnut coffee, or simmer some oranges, lemons, and cloves in a small slow cooker a few minutes before any showing. You want to enhance your prospective buyer’s ole factory by giving them a lingering memory of how pleasant your house smelled.

 

(This vessel sink and faucet combo was a total score at only $25 on Amazon! Can you believe it?!)

 8. Out of Sight, Out of Mind Be sure to clean, hide, and put away anything that is pet related, dirty, unsanitary, or just a plain eyesore. Put away your pet’s food bowls, hide/get rid of chew toys, and most importantly – absolutely & without a doubt get rid of pet dander, pet hair, and pet stains that can offend your buyers! Because pet hairs inside of your nice stainless steel fridge is a major turn off to any potential buyers giving them the impression that your home is dirty and unkempt!) 

 

(I love container arrangements! I look forward to it every spring! Put a couple of these by the front door to welcome guests as they visit for a showing. It will definitely make a lasting impression on them.)

9. First Impression is Everything! Be sure to trim the bushes, pull the weeds, mow the lawn, or shovel your driveway & front porch. Flank your front door with container flowers, a nice and clean welcome mat, and a pretty wreath to set the tone for the rest of your house.

 

(Accentuate the best features in each room of your home: here is one clear view of our jet tub in our Master Bathroom. Notice, we have eliminated all our personal photos, rubber duckies, and general knick-knacks to only display a relaxing spa experience for our potential buyers.)

 

10. Keep it Generic: Stash away your family photos especially wedding photos and children’s photos. You want to encourage your prospective buyer to envision their own memory-making process not your own. After all, you are selling them your property to them, not your memories.

 

 

(Here is a pic of our upstairs bathroom which we used for the kids. We’ve accentuated the double sink vanity and decorated this room with another “spa-like feel” but with a whimsical touch of color, in accents of blue. It’s a refreshing color for a bathroom.)

 11. Rinse, Wash, and Repeat all the steps above on up until closing. This is probably one of the hardest things to do, aside from de-cluttering your entire house. You have to continue the upkeep and keep it clean all up until you’ve sold your home and signed the closing paperwork. Just keep swimming, you’re almost there…

12. Sit back, Relax, and Enjoy the fruits of your labor because you deserve it after all that hard work! Now that you have gone thru each and every step, from 1-11, you deserve a much-needed break. Go crack open a bottle of wine and celebrate your hard work.

Best of luck to you! 

Photo Source by Mixed Media 2016
Photo Source by Mixed Media 2016

 

Disclosure:

The purpose of this blog is to provide insight and enjoyment only. I am not nor do I claim to be an expert or professional in any manner. All opinions are 100% my own. Please do not copy any content from my website without my prior permission or written consent from me. However, you may link directly to my post for reference and to give credit.

Disclaimer:

This website contains affiliate links and sponsorships. I do not endorse nor would I recommend any products that I have not used nor trust to my readers. Thank you so much for your continued support in helping our small blog grow- at no costs to you whatsoever.

 

Contact:

Please contact me directly via email:  admin@fulloffortunes.com, if you have any questions and/or comments. Thanks for stopping by! 

 

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All-In-One Pot Turkey Taco Hamburger Helper Replica Recipe

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All-in-one Pot Turkey Taco Hamburger Helper Replica

 

Get dinner ready in a flash with these ingredients found inside your very own pantry! Just add shredded cheddar and a sprig of cilantro!

Thump Thump Thump!

 

Tick tock tick tock tick tock!

 

Growl, gurgle, roar!

 

Rub, scratch, squirm…

 

My heart is racing, my palms are sweaty, and the day seems to be dragging its feet! Like a cobra on a mission eyeing a nice juicy field mouse in the short distance, my hunger pangs are just setting in. It’s 4:58 pm, my gut is wound up in a tight knot and I have dinner on the brain!

 

Of course, I forgot to thaw out the frozen chicken breast that I meant to transfer from the freezer to the fridge last night because I was catching up on the season finale of Game of Thrones. I could hit up a drive-thru and waste away $40. Or I can raid my pantry for on-hand staples that I the smart version of past-tense me have already stocked up in anticipation for this dummy version of frantic future me. Yay! 

 

It’s an All-In-One Pot Turkey Taco Hamburger Helper Wannabe (Whew! Say that 3 times fast!) to the rescue! With 15 minutes and time to spare, just long enough for the apple, I popped into my mouth to dissipate into oblivion. That’s all it took to whip up a batch of this bad boy and finally put those hunger pangs to rest.

 

This was a recipe that I originally adapted from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures.

 

I have tweaked it according to what we had on-hand in our pantry and our fridge at that particular time. I did not want to waste another trip to the store and spend more money on more things that we did not need, so we used what we had instead and our bellies were just as satisfied.  I also added more spices to cater to my husband’s palate. I hope that you will enjoy it as much as our family did too.

 

   Got a good 15-minute meal idea? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by my little corner today! 

 

(Original recipe adapted by www.lynnskitchenadventures.com/2013/01/homemade-cheeseburger-helper.html)

 

Cost Breakdown of the All-In-One Pot Turkey Taco Hamburger Helper Replica Meal:

Since I am all about living frugally, here is the true cost breakdown for this meal. I am using this helpful guide to assume prices at Kroger and it’s website, only because I like their search feature the best.

This meal serves a family of 4 and plenty for seconds and leftovers for meals during the week. You can also freeze the leftovers and eat them later. Just pop it in the microwave between 30 seconds – 1 minute per serving.

1 tube (2 lbs.) frozen ground turkey (thawed) ————————-$2.49
½ tsp. Salt ——————————————————————–on hand
½ tsp. Ground Black Pepper———————————————–on hand
½ tsp. Sugar——————————————————————-on hand
1 tsp. Cumin——————————————————————-on hand
1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper—————————————————— on hand
1 tsp. Chili Powder———————————————————–on hand
Olive oil Spray or 2 tbsp. Olive Oil—————————————on hand
1 tbsp. Minced Garlic in Olive Oil——————————————$1.99
½ Chopped & Diced Red Onions——————————————–$0.45
1 cup of beef or chicken broth/stock or 2 cubes bouillon & water—on hand
½ cup of milk or heavy cream————————————————-$0.69 (1/2 gallon)
2 jars of Mild Salsa————————————————————–$4 ($1.99 each)
1 can of Black Bean————————————————————-$0.59
2 Chopped & Diced fresh Roma Tomatoes———————————$0.56 ($0.28 each)
1 Chopped and Diced Green Bell Pepper———————————–$0.79                                      1 can Whole Kernel Golden Corn——————————————–$0.59
1 box of Elbow Macaroni Noodles——————————————-$0.73
1 ½ cups of shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese——————————$1.00
Salt, Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, to taste (We like heat so I used a good 3 dashes of each spice)
1 handful of chopped Green Onions (Scallions)————————-(on hand-we grow these)
Serve with a dollop of your favorite sour cream—————————$1.29

Total Cost of this Family-Sized Meal: $15.17, which is $3.79 per person to feed a family of 4 plus leftovers!

 

If you are a busy Mom or Dad who is tired, hungry, short on time and trying your darndest to save some cash in your wallet this week, give this recipe a try.

Let me know how it turned out for you in the comments below.

 

 

Ingredients: Serves 8

 

  • ALL-IN-ONE POT TURKEY TACO HAMBURGER HELPER WANNABE RECIPE

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook Time: 15 minutes

    Total Time: 30 minutes

    Category: Entree

    Cuisine: Mexican

    Serving Size: 8

    ALL-IN-ONE POT TURKEY TACO HAMBURGER HELPER WANNABE RECIPE

    Ingredients

    • 1 tube (2 lbs.) frozen ground turkey (thawed)
    • ½ tsp. Salt
    • ½ tsp. Ground Black Pepper
    • ½ tsp. Sugar
    • 1 tsp. Cumin
    • 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
    • 1 tsp. Chili Powder
    • Olive oil Spray or 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
    • 1 tbsp. Minced Garlic in Olive Oil
    • ½ Chopped & Diced Red Onions
    • 1 cup of beef or chicken broth/stock or 2 cubes bouillon & water
    • ½ cup of milk or heavy cream (whatever you have on hand)
    • 2 jars of Chi Chi’s Mild Salsa
    • 1 can of Black Bean
    • 2 Chopped & Diced fresh Roma Tomatoes
    • 1 Chopped and Diced Green Bell Pepper
    • ½ Bag of frozen Whole Kernel Golden Corn
    • 1 box of Elbow Macaroni Noodles
    • 1 ½ cups of shredded Sharp Cheddar or Mexican-Style Mix Cheese
    • Salt, Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, to taste (We like heat so I used a good 3 dashes of each spice)
    • 1 handful of chopped Green Onions (Scallions)
    • Serve with a dollop of your favorite sour cream

    Instructions

    1. On medium heat, spray skillet with olive oil or drizzle 2 tbsp. Olive Oil around your pan or skillet.
    2. Add minced garlic and cook 2 minutes or until fragrant.
    3. Add the thawed ground turkey and mix in dry spices (salt, black pepper, sugar, cumin, cayenne pepper, chilli powder). Cook and brown the meat mixture for about 5-8 minutes depending on your heat or gauge when juices run clear and meat goes from a pink to grayish brown color.
    4. Add a box of elbow macaroni to the cooked meat mixture and stir well.
    5. Then add the stock/broth to the mixture and continue to cook for another 7-8 minutes per the instructions on the pasta box.
    6. Once pasta and meat are cooked, add the salsa, and the remaining veggies (red onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, black beans, corn) to your skillet and cook for another 5 minutes.
    7. Add the milk/cream and shredded cheese. Stir until cheese mixture is melted and every morsel is well coated, about 2-4 minutes.
    8. Lastly serve it up hot with your choice of hot sauce and/or a cool dollop of sour cream and sprinkle of fresh scallions, enjoy! 😉
    https://fulloffortunes.com/one-pot-turkey-taco-hamburger-helper-replica-recipe/

 

 

Directions:

  • On medium heat, spray skillet with olive oil or drizzle 2 tbsp. Olive Oil in your pan or skillet.

 

  • Add minced garlic and cook 2 minutes or until fragrant.

 

  • Add the thawed ground turkey and mix in dry spices (salt, black pepper, sugar, cumin, cayenne pepper, chili powder). Cook and brown the meat mixture for about 5-8 minutes depending on your heat or gauge when juices run clear and meat goes from a pink to grayish brown color.

 

  • Add a box of elbow macaroni to the cooked meat mixture and stir well.

 

  • Then add the stock/broth to the mixture and continue to cook for another 7-8 minutes per the instructions on the pasta box.

 

  • Once pasta and meat are cooked, add the salsa, and the remaining veggies (red onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, black beans, corn) to your skillet and cook for another 5 minutes.

 

  • Add the milk/cream and shredded cheese. Stir until cheese mixture is melted and every morsel is well coated about 2-4 minutes.

 

  • Lastly, serve it up hot with your choice of hot sauce and/or a cool dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with fresh scallions, enjoy! 

 

Disclosure:

The purpose of this blog is to provide insight and enjoyment only. I am not nor do I claim to be an expert or professional in any manner. All opinions are 100% my own. Please do not copy any content from my website without my prior permission or written consent from me. However, you may link directly to my post for reference and to give credit.

Disclaimer:

This website contains affiliate links and sponsorships. I do not endorse nor would I recommend any products that I have not used nor trust to my readers. Thank you so much for your continued support in helping our small blog grow- at no costs to you whatsoever.

 

Contact:

Please contact me directly via email:  admin@fulloffortunes.com, if you have any questions and/or comments. Thanks for stopping by! 

 

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