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The Tree Dazzler: An Honest Review

I bought three boxes of the Tree Dazzler last year on clearance. Living under my rock, I had not ever heard of them. Based on the box, and the after Christmas price, I thought they were worth a go.

They didn’t take any time at all to install, as you just put the ring over the top of your tree.

Tree Dazzler review Christmas lights Christmas tree

The 64 bulbs on each set are guaranteed for a lifetime, which is impressive.

They’re meant for a 7 1/2 foot tree at the maximum. Ours is 9 or 9 1/2 feet, which I didn’t realize and is a bummer. I have to figure out what to do with the bottom gap.

Tree Dazzler review Christmas lights Christmas tree decorating

The lines connecting each bulb are really thick though, and while this protects them from getting tangled, they look ridiculous at the top of the tree where it’s so narrow.

Tree Dazzler review Christmas lights Christmas tree

You can’t even hide them behind the branches, and all the time we saved using this nifty gadget, was wasted trying to achieve hidden wires.

I am going to get some ribbon to make a garland and see if that can hide them. That part is a colossal drawback.

Tree Dazzler review Christmas lights Christmas tree kids decorating

The light bulbs themselves were quite a bit bigger than what I was used to. They remind me a bit of the vintage bulbs we used to have as a child. They also look like white ornaments so this isn’t necessarily a total drawback.

The top of our tree leans a bit, and we can’t tell if it’s due to our 160 year old farmhouse floor, our second hand tree, or the heaviness of the two Tree Dazzlers. I wanted to use all three but they were so heavy I was afraid our top section would topple off.

I like the options of the different light designs. They’re all pleasant.

The plugs are corpulent and oversized. Supposedly the Tree Dazzler is energy efficient so I don’t know why the plugs take up an entire power strip. Since my home is so old, electric outlets are much at the premium, so I’m not excited about this situation. Tree Dazzler review Christmas lights Christmas tree

Overall I can only rate the Tree Dazzler ⭐️⭐️/five stars.

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Easy and Inexpensive Christmas Centerpiece

Who loves Christmas as much as I do?

YOU!? Great. We can be friends then.

Cheap and easy diy Christmas centerpiece

I love all the seasons and holidays to be honest.

Decorating my mantel and house for every occasion (when I feel like it and have the energy) is my favorite. I go all out for autumn and Christmas which I love especially . Autumn fall table centerpiece

My log candle holder for fall-this is simply a fall garland wrapped around it.

I usually start decorating full on for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, but I have an autumn/winter mix going on for most of November. Hey, just like Iowa weather!

I wanted to share with you my super simple and cheap dining table decor.

I bought a piece of buffalo plaid flannel at Joann’s when it was 50% off so this cost me $6. I didn’t hem it or anything. I just folded it in half. When a kid bumped into my coffee (This is also our homeschool table. There are always kids and ALWAYS coffee!), I just flipped it over to the other side, and folded the selvedge edge under.

Yep. That’s how I do it.

My handsome husband drilled divets into an actual small log so I could put tealights into them when I was getting all hygge last winter. I can make this log work for all the seasons, but I love it most in the fall and winter!Buffalo plaid table runner Christmas centerpiece log candleholder diy

Dollar Tree decorative picks and a homemade log candleholder make for an inexpensive, lovely Christmas centerpiece.

The Dollar Tree has their Christmas decorations out now, which, even though I feel like Thanksgiving should have its day to shine, I’m not mad about, honestly.  I bought 6 decorative picks and bent them and bumped them until I was satisfied.Dollar tree Christmas decorative pick floral pine cone evergreen

This is what the Dollar Tree picks look like on their own.

I did have to take the flannel off and wipe under it and shake out all the crumbs, before replacing it. Don’t ask me how that happens.

There ya go. Minimal effort and minimal cost, which in my mind, equals perfect!

Christmas centerpiece decoration log pinecones Yule candleholder huge
My cozy Christmas centerpiece
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honest review of Hollar dollar store on line dollar tree

Hollar: An Honest Review

This is not a sponsored post, I was just impressed! I will however,  get a small kickback in credit  if you order after clicking through on any of the Hollar links in this post, and you can too, just for signing up for a free account at Hollar!

Have you heard of Hollar?  Hollar is an online dollar store. If you know me at all, you know I love a good deal. I heard about Hollar  on Youtube and decided to try it. If you order more than $25, you get free shipping, and they have sales that are always changing.

My order came in 8 days. Here’s what I thought:

Fizzy Baby helped me open everything in the appealing bright orange box.

hollar review dollar store online

I ordered a set of melamine plates for $2 each. I love them. We’ve been using them non stop and they are holding up better than our Corelle wear, and bring joy to my eyes every time I look at them.

hollar review dollar store online

I really felt like Gerta needed this squeaky dog toy  in the shape of a banana split, which was only $1. How wrong I was! The squeaker was so loud, it scared the pants off of her, and drove me nuts. I ended up binning it .

hollar review dollar store online

I hate the feel the of my feet in flats without socks, but I love the look. I’ve been wearing these “old lady” no show socks with my flats, and thought I had found the best deal at Ross, for a little over a dollar a pair. But no! I got EIGHT pairs on Hollar for $4. They are  more slippery than my other ones, but they stay on better.

hollar review dollar store online no show socks with flats

We only had one dryer ball left but I didn’t want to “invest” in another set of the reusable dryer balls, if I didn’t have to. However with only a $1 investment for two balls, I didn’t mind at all! They work great!

hollar review dollar store online reusable dryer balls

I use these scrubby pads on all the things in my kitchen and bathroom, from stuck on toothpaste and peanut butter and jelly on the counters, to burnt on crud on the stove, to congealed oatmeal in the bottom of the pan. This pack of 8 was $1. They don’t last as long as the brand name ones I usually use, but don’t scratch the surfaces and clean as well.

hollar review dollar store online scrubbing pad scouring

I use my wooden utensils to the point of death, until they are cracked and probably hazardous. Desperately in need of replacements, I scooped up all 6 for $3. I love the colorful handles too!

hollar review dollar store online wooden spoon bamboo kitchen utensils

Needing nonslip hangars for some of my dresses and kimonos, I thought I would replace some of my beautiful, matching wooden hangars for these beautiful, matching  rose ones. I LOVE them! The slim design keeps my clothes together and they aren’t as noisy as the wooden ones, and nothing falls off! I nabbed this steal in packs of 18 for $5.

hollar review dollar store online flocked hangars Both the app and the website are well designed and work in consort with each other. If you are on your phone and add some things to your cart, it stays in your cart on the computer. I add things until I get up to that $25 free shipping limit.

I’m not going to abandon The  Dollar Tree completely, but Hollar is definitely getting some of my business! If you like saving money and scoring good deals, and shopping in your pajamas after the kids are in bed, then Hollar is absolutely for you!

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easy refrigerator organization that works

Easy Refrigerator Organization (that actually works)!

This post contains affiliate links which, by you clicking through, give me a little fun money at no cost to you. Thanks!

Food. We all need it. We all buy it. Most of us have a refrigerator. Most of us end up throwing away unidentified science experiments at some point(and in my case, literal science experiments). I hate wasting food. I hate searching for the mayonnaise or garlic buried deep in the back of the fridge. Ain’t nobody got time for dat! After looking for years for the best, easy refrigerator organization system that actually works, I finally found success!

Because I have the goal of bringing up independent productive people, I try to teach them responsibility early. I attempt to put organizational systems in place which support that independence. If I want my 3 year old to be able to access her own cheese sticks and applesauce pouches, and get her own cup of water, I need to have organization techniques which support that. I have tried numerous methods of refrigerator organizations and none of them have stuck. I tried this particular one over a month ago, and with many people using the fridge hourly, it’s still in place. This easy refrigerator organization is definitely a win for our busy family, and I know it will work for you!

Here’s what I did.

LABEL THE SHELVES AND COMPARTMENTS

Labeling the wall with a dry erase marker has worked better than anything I’ve tried. I saw this hack on a Rachel Ray clip. The dry erase marker did leave residue behind in my fridge, so I put packing tape where I wanted the labels and wrote on that.

easy kitchen refrigerator fridge organization cheap clever food organize

easy kitchen refrigerator fridge organization cheap clever food organize

USE A LAZY SUSAN

I used a lazy Susan in my fridge. I’ve had one for a while, but it was never clear to the other users what should be on it. Since we apparently have a kajillion open containers of pickles and relish, all of them are placed on the lazy Susan.

easy kitchen refrigerator fridge organization cheap clever food organize

INVEST IN A FEW CLEAR ORGANIZERS

I got a couple clear containers from Amazon in which to put our lunch meat and cheese.

easy kitchen refrigerator fridge organization cheap clever food organize
Jam=mead, apparently. 🙂

As you can see, it’s not perfect, because being able to find some ingredient quickly just isn’t a priority to the rest of my family. It’s  a whole lot better than it was, and I can keep it cleaner and clearer than before because now I remember my system too. I’d love to know what works for you to keep your fridge organized.

This post contains affiliate links which, by you clicking through, give me a little fun money at no cost to you. Thanks!

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Tips for Finding the Best Thrifting Deals

I am always looking for a bargain and for quicker, easier ways of doing things. If you are too, this thrifting haul example and tips for finding the best deals fast is for you!

Thrift store tips goodwill savings cheap chic style fashion frugal Salvation Army

Hoodies for my 11 year old

I asked her how many she thought she needed, and she vehemently responded, “ALL of them!”

Thrift store tips goodwill savings cheap chic style fashion frugal Salvation Army

Tees for her to wear and also with which to make Pinterest crafts.

Ah! The freedom to use my sewing scissors and cut things with abandon!

Thrift store tips goodwill savings cheap chic style fashion frugal Salvation Army justice old Navy

Pants and leggings. The black ones are to cut off and wear under her skirts. Sometimes the staffers catch a brand which resells well, such as Justice or Pink, and mark it up quite a bit, but often you can find them for the standard price, like I did today.

Thrift store tips goodwill savings cheap chic style fashion frugal Salvation Army

Summer skirts. On Poshmark and ThredUp, all of these go for at least $10. Know the brands you want, and whether or not you’ve found a good deal. If you’re unsure, look it up in store.

Dress for almost 3 year old. It’s actually a 24 month size-don’t be afraid to try things on. And once we tried it on, I couldn’t talk her into taking it off again.

Pro tip: just roll with it. I only bought her this because sometimes it’s easier to fork over $2.88 than listen to the incessant whining.

A few items for me. I’m thinking of making the capris into Bermudas. Only buy things to alter if you’re actually going to do it! The top is actually Motherhood maternity, but for $.44, I don’t really care!

Wear a skirt while you shop and it’s easy to just try something on in right there in the aisle.

A couple of skirts for 13 year old.

I also got a pair of Keens for 9 year old. They were the most expensive item at $8.88.

The total cost: $89 and change!

Total time spent: Under an hour.

Kids along: Three

I discovered thrifting in my 20s, when I went into a store I didn’t realize was consignment, and found my favorite Express sweater for less than 1/3 of what I had paid for it. That was lightbulb moment for me.

Why pay mall prices when you can get the exact same thing second hand and way cheaper?

With some experience under my belt buying for my own wardrobe and some house wares, I found thrifting to be a freeing way of life, especially once I quit teaching and more and more kids came along.

Now, homeschooling six kids on one income, I have to be frugal and fast. Here are some more of my best tips:

Go with as few of kids as possible

The more kids you have along the less able you are to think.

Try to take the kids who you are shopping for with you.

I bought some Keens for Cadrian today which he doesn’t really love because he’d prefer to wear socks and tennis shoes!

Really kid? Are you sure you’re mine?!

If I would have had him with me, I would have known he didn’t like them–and wouldn’t you know, shoes aren’t returnable. I can resell them or save them for Denton.

Keep a running list of needs

On the side of my fridge, I write down the things I’m on the lookout for. This includes when I realize someone has outgrown shoes and what size they need, or that they need a white shirt for this event. Or if I saw a cute DIY on YouTube, I’ll write down the items I want to watch for.

Set a time limit.

I usually go thrifting when my boys are in tutoring. That gives me about 50 minutes to choose items and pay. The time limit makes me make quick decisions and I’m less likely to buy something I only like (versus love) unless it’s $.44.

Go often.

I go to the same Goodwill a couple times a month. Sometimes I buy very little, sometimes I find a lot that will work. The inventory is always changing and different colored items are on sale or clearance.

Know the return policy.

I buy things too for my kids who might not be with me that I can return just in case they don’t love it. (I didn’t realize that shoes weren’t returnable until today! See how important that tip is!!)

It’s sometimes easier to not have them with me, have them try stuff on at home, and return it if it doesn’t work. I’m usually ok with donating it back too if I miss the return deadline, since most kid’s clothes are only $2.88.

Know the deals.

At Goodwill, they have a color of tag that is cheaper that day. Today for instance, anything with pink or yellow tags were 2 for $.88. Sometimes it’s “only” half off, but you still want to pay attention to the signage.

Go early.

I can never do this because of homeschool, but the color of the day is pretty picked over by 2 pm when I can go.

What are some of your favorite tips for getting the best deals?

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