{Mostly} Homemade chicken pot pie

Earlier this month, I shared with you 15 tips on saving money on your food bill.
One of those ways, is to eat at home as much as possible.

One of our family favorites is homemade chicken pot pie
It costs around $3 to make and provides around 6 servings for our family making it about 50 cents a serving.

You will need:
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup chopped onion (I leave this out since my picky kids won't eat it)
1/3 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper
14 ounces of homemade chicken broth (or 1 can)
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 cups shredded chicken (you can use turkey too-I used leftovers I had in the freezer)
1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables (18 ounces)

Heat over to 425 degrees.
Make your pie crusts (or if you are running out of time, use store bought) and place the bottom crust in a 9 inch pie plate.

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
Add onion (or not), cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently

Stir in flour, salt and pepper until well blended.

Next, stir in broth and milk 
stirring constantly

Your broth mixture is done when it thickens and gets bubbly.

Stir in chicken, and mixed vegetables
Remove the saucepan and spoon into your crust filled pan
Top with your second crust and seal the edges.
Cut slits in your top crust

Bake for 30-40 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Easy as pie!
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Knotted burlap wreath

I sort of have an obsession with wreaths.
I love them!
I love making them, and I love the impact that they can have on a door or in a room.

Today, I am going to show you how to make this super easy knotted burlap wreath.
The wreath cost me less than $5 to make since I already had the burlap on hand.

The burlap was a left over from a wedding I helped with this summer.  
You can read more about the wedding here.

Just a few things you will need.
You will need YARDS of burlap.
I don't know how many I started out with, but it was probably around 
2 yards of burlap that I used when I finished.
A wire wreath (mine cost $3.50 at Artco)
and a rotary cutter

I decided to cut my burlap into 1 inch strips.
It's easiest to do with a rotary cutter, but if you only have scissors, that works too.

It sort of looks like I am cutting strips to make a mummy.

 Once the strips were cut to 1 inch wide, I then cut them into about 9 1/2 inches long.
No rhyme or reason, the strip was around 30" long, so I just divided that by 3.
It adds up!

Once I got all of my strips cut, I headed downstairs to catch up on my Downton Abby.
Love that show!
Disclaimer: working with burlap is messy business.
Because I tracked from upstairs to downstairs, I had burlap strings all throughout my house.
I vacuumed twice.

I started by tying my strings tight one on each wire.
If you do it in a pattern, you won't forget where you left off.
I started at the top and worked my way down.

You want to tie the strings tightly and then slide them down the wire making room for more strings.
I like a full wreath, so the more strips the better!
This is one of the sections of the wire wreath fully done.

And this is the finished wreath!
Super easy right?

Will you try one?
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How to save money on your crafting

I am so excited to have Laddie from Re-New Furniture Finds and Re-Finishing with us today.
We all know how expensive it can get to craft and create, and today Laddie is giving us some tips on how to do just that without spending a ton of money.
That girl is speaking my language!

Often times when I post new projects and ideas for fixing
up old furniture I also get a slew of questions on how to do
this cost effectively.
Since it's the start of a new year and some of us may have made
resolutions to save more money or live a more frugal lifestyle I decided
to dole out some of my cost saving secrets.

I ALWAYS get asked where I find my furniture pieces.
Spring and Summer are obviously YARD SALE prime
pickins! I love me a good yard sale...especially COMMUNITY
yard sales! Look for these postings as you get more bang for your buck and
less driving! You can literally hit 5 sales in one block because
large neighborhoods plan for everyone to hold their yard sale at the same time!

I also like places like Goodwill as they sometimes have in store
manager specials where they will have an additional 30% off of furniture.
Also in our area we have Facebook Friday where you can go to
the Facebook page and print off a discount coupon for Goodwill
EVERY Friday! Not sure if this applies everywhere but it's worth
looking in to. Goodwill and Value Village (Savers Stores)
have colored tag days where items are 50% or $1.29!
This usually does NOT apply to furniture but it DOES
apply to home decor and everything else in the store.

I have referenced several times on my Facebook page
the "oops" section of the paint store which then baffles most followers.
Almost all home improvement stores and big chain
stores that have paint departments also have an "OOPS"
section where mis-tinted or returned paint is sold at
a drastic price reduction.

I have found paint anywhere from .25-$7!!
These can sometimes be really random colors but if you
aren't looking for a specific color I suggest perusing
this area for ideas and DEALS!
I have also been able to find other things like wallpaper,
spray paint, glazes, brushes,etc. in this section at
marked down prices.

Something many people may not know is that if you take
a gamble on that gallon of mis-tinted paint that isn't
quite the color you wanted...you can MIX it with
another can of paint to achieve your desired color!
I also re-use my brushes and rollers by rinsing
them out with warm water immediately and letting them dry
before using again. But, we are all human and sometimes
we walk away from that paint brush to answer the phone,
pick up the kids from school or make dinner.
Don't worry!

Soak them in a jar of vinegar and warm water for
a little while and it will soften up that dried up paint so you
can rinse the brush and use it again.
I hate wasting paint and therefore use small paint trays
and rollers for most projects.
That way you can pour a small amount and add more as needed
but also if I have some left in the tray I don't want to waste...
it fits nicely in a quart size ziploc bag and I can
save it for next time!

I use craft stores for a lot of my supplies and even decor
pieces. It's amazing the selection they have in stores these days!
You can get home decor, drawer knobs, hardware,
scrapbook paper, wood accessories, transfers, stencils etc.
that all make great supplies to have on hand for projects.

Most craft stores have member programs that you
can join for free to get additional coupons, savings and deals.
You can usually find weekly coupons sent in most local papers
that you can use on top of or in conjunction with your member perks.
They also have great CLEARANCE sections as a good
portion of their inventory rotates seasonally.

Hope some of these tips help keep your costs down on projects
and that it inspires you to start up a project that may
be sitting in your garage right now!
You can re-create high end looks on a budget
and have the self satisfaction of knowing that
YOU made that!!

Here are some of the other projects Laddie has shared with us

overhead projector image transfer
faux leather finish with brown paper bags
What to do with those old frames
Don't forget to "like" Laddie on Facebook to see all of her ideas, inspiration and current projects and sale information.
Thanks Laddie!
What are some of your tips for saving money on crafts?

Master bedroom closet inspiration

I've talked about my master bedroom closet before.
One of my favorite things about our house when we bought it two years ago was the separate his and hers walk in closets.
My closet is huge.
But oh so disorganized.
This was before my husband made me a little sewing work space.

and this is the after.

It has always been our intention to do built in's in my closet to make it a more usable space.
Wire racks just don't cut it.

My husband made built in's for his closet last year that have worked out great for him.

This year, I would love to tackle my walk in closet.
Check out my pinterest board for inspiration. 

Do you have a favorite thing that works for your closet?
Anyone want to help make my dream closet a reality?

Book page and music page stuffed hearts

Can I make a confession?
Valentine's Day is my least favorite holiday.

I don't really know why.
Red is one of my favorite colors and I love candy

But when it comes down to it, I think Valentine's day should get as much hype as, let's say, flag day.
It's just not that important of a holiday in my opinion.

That said, I felt like I needed to make a few Valentine's day decorations, so I whipped up these music page and book page stuffed hearts for the mantle in my den.  
Who knows, maybe they will make my heart that much softer to Valentine's day.

You will need:
book pages
music pages
a heart (I found an image on google images and printed mine off)
and a hole punch

I made sure that my heart wasn't too big for the book pages I was using.

I didn't plan this, it just happened, but check out the title on this sheet music that I used!
Position your heart on your paper and cut it out

I have a very small hole punch (1/8 inch size) that I used and punched holes about every 1/2 inch
I always made sure there was a hole at the tip of the heart and also at the top of the heart in the dip.

I found some red string and threaded it through a needle.
I started at the bottom tip of the heart.

Once I got mostly around the heart, I stopped and got ready to add my stuffing.
You don't need much!
Just enough to make it look fluffy.

Once your stuffing is in, pull your strings tight but not too tight, you don't want to rip a hole in the paper.

Finish sewing around the heart and meet back at the beginning.
I tied a small knot in my string connecting the two loose ends.

I hung a string on my mantle, and hung the hearts with clothespins.

What do you think?

I love The Idea Room's tutorial for the felt heart wreath, and since I gave the one I made a few years ago away, I made another.

Do you love Valentine's day, or do you feel the same way I do about it?

Don't forget!  There are only a few days left to vote for me in the top 25 Creative Moms blog contest.
It's super easy!
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Shutters vs blinds

I was obsessed with getting a dog!

It took me years of talking and convincing to finally have my husband on board with the idea.
His deal was that if the Obama girls had to wait until they moved, then our kids could wait too.
So before we had even spent 1 night in our brand spankin' new {to us} house, I found a dog on craigslist.
They told me we had to act fast and despite my husbands hesitations against this particular dog after meeting her, I convinced the owners and him that we needed to at least give this dog a shot for the night.

Well, before the night was over, the dog has destroyed our blinds, scratched up our front door, and chewed through the garage door wires.  You can read more about our 12 hour dog here.

These are the blinds that the dog destroyed and because they were custom fit for the window, we have decided that the best solution for now {and the past 2 years apparently} has been to just pull the blinds up a few inches in the dining room. 

None of you are any the wiser are you?

This is actually what the blinds look like down
{yes down.  The dog chewed through several blinds that are now missing.  You see it now don't you.}

In our old house, we actually upgraded all of our window blinds
from the regular builder grade, to the faux wood blinds.
In our current home, we have the faux wood blinds in every room.
I have considered switching out to the plantation shutters like a few of our neighbors have.
Don't those look nice?
So what do you think?
Upgrade, replace or stick with the solution we have going for us?
disclaimer: this post is sponsored by blinds.com all opinions are 100% mine.

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I was recently nominated into the top 25 circle of moms creative mom blogs.
I would love to maintain my title but can't do that without your vote.

Would you please take a second and vote for me?
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