Monday, September 10, 2012

Cozi Review

The opinions in this review are totally my own feelings and thoughts on this product, I was in no way compensated for this article/post by anyone.

In my search to stay organized and ahead of the clutter that two working parents and three elementary students inevitably bring to life and my house I came across an online organizer that I have been using now for several months. I originally downloaded this onto my iPad back in December 2011 but didn’t take the time to figure out how to use the program to benefit my family until sometime in March.

Now every organizer/calendar will be used by everyone differently, for me it was finding one that I could use the way my brain works that was easy and included all those little things like, school schedules, menu planning, etc and that integrated with my other calendars so that I could see it no matter where I was.
The program I use is an online based one called Cozi. I can keep our carpool schedule, team practices, grocery lists, school calendar as well as our daily calendar on here. It shares info with other calendars so regardless of what calendar I’m looking at I know what we’re having for dinner, who’s picking the kids up from school tonight as well as a reminder to send in the field trip permission form tomorrow.

One of the nice things is you can set it up to e-mail or text you (and any other people you choose) a weekly calendar every Sunday showing you at a quick glance what is coming up for the week.

Once a week I sit down and add our dinners to the calendar for quick easy reference, double check I’ve got any important meetings for all of us added, and run through with my husband his schedule to see if I need to add anything in that is going to affect our daily routine.

Another great feature is the journal, as a busy mom there are little moments in our lives that I want to remember, or funny stories I want to keep for later. Well Cozi has a journal section that I can write down a quick summary of what happened or if I have more time write out a full story. I can keep these private or share them with family and friends. So as you are away on family vacation you can keep a record of special fun times together and even add photos.

Home Page
I love that I can access this through my iPad (there’s an app for that!) or if I’m at work or even the library and I need to check who is picking the kids up, what time hockey practice is, what we’re having for dinner or what’s still on my grocery list to pick up on the way home I can access it quickly and even text or e-mail myself lists of groceries or to – do items.

Here are some pictures of how we use Cozi to organize this craziness called life; at least it does for …
This Frugal Momma! 

tool bar

To Do List

Weekly Calendar
Shopping Lists

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Monster Door Wreath on the Cheap!

So I'm always on the look out for fun (and of course frugal) ways to do pretty much everything around our house. And most recently I've been drawn to the whole idea of fall ... warm soup, pumpkin spice anything, fall leaves, pumpkins, and of course ... Halloween. I guess I'm still a bit of a Northern Girl at heart! We don't go all out in any major way for decorating the outside of our house except at Christmas but I always like a little 'something' on our front door. So my latest obsession has been figuring out  what I can do for our front porch to give it that little something extra but still do it super inexpensively?

Tubing Wreath by The Penny Parlor
In the past, I've put up a Christmas wreath and I've got a cute little harvest door hanger and of course a patriotic one for The 4th of July (I mean, how could I not have something for The 4th as it's oldest son's birthday!). Well this year in looking around Pintrest I found this great idea for making a wreath base - cheap!At The Penny Parlor  of course I just kind of tucked the idea away as something cool someday! Well I supposed really I 'Pinned' it. Along with a million other fun things to do ... someday!
Fur-ocious Wreath - Image Collection
Fur-ocious Wreath by Disney Family Fun

Over Labor Day weekend the family hit the local bookstore for some browsing (a family favorite thing!) We all meandered the store looking at all the books and magazines. I love looking through craft magazines looking at all the wonderful crafty ideas that came out of someone's head and onto the page for me to drool over. Now I'm a somewhat crafty person but well ... I'm no Martha!Lo-and-behold while looking through Disney's Family Fun Magazine I saw this fun looking monster wreath! Now I will admit while I loved this wreath ... I mean it is too cute! I didn't take the time to actually read the instructions. 

Now you might have already made the connection that took me honestly, about 15 minutes of wrangling children out the door to put together ... "Hey! Bet I could make this monster wreath cute, cheap and using that foam tube stuff!" And so an idea was born and the search was on for how to make this wreath on a very slim budget - like $5 slim! I LOVE a challenge!!

Here's what I bought, where & for how much:
Home Depot 
Foam Tube $0.97

Wiggle Eyes $0.97

Halloween Hay (Orange)$1.99
Black Glitter $0.99
Ribbon $2.99 (also on clearance)
Michaels 40% off Coupon = $1.20 (went online and printed this before going to the store)

So if you are keeping track ... I blew my target but I think a wreath for $6.71 is still pretty good! And I didn't use all of my supplies so I have leftovers of everything to make something else! So not being a math genius, if I took the time to figure out what percentage of everything I bought and the cost of the amount I used I probably came in under $5 but you know what, I'm still extremely happy with $6.71!

Gathering supplies
Foam Tube
Duct Tape or Packing Tape
Halloween Hay 
White school glue
Needle & Thread 
Wiggle Eyes
Black Glitter 
Exact-o Knife 

So the first thing I did was create my wreath with the tubing. I played around with the size but ended up using a little over half the tube. I just cut it with scissors and taped it together with packing tape ... almost as good as duct tape but what I had on hand!

Then I unpacked the halloween hay, this is similar to the cobweb material but they had it in black, orange and white. It reminded me of thin fiber fill. It was folded up so I unfolded it, glued a section onto the back of my wreath and then started wrapping the form with the 'hay'. I played around with it, never making it too tight and pulling little bits to make it 'fuzzy' looking. Once I was fairly satisfied with it I ripped off the excess and glued down the end, making sure it was on the back also. I used my fingers a lot with the glue because I couldn't get the nozzle unplugged.

Now I should have probably let this sit for an hour or so to dry but I'm a little impatient and wanted to see the finished product so I kept going. I drew out the word "Boo" on a cardboard box from our recycle bin (aka free!) and used the scissors and exact-o knife to cut it out. Then I played around with the placement of everything before gluing it down. I spread glue on the front (yes, using my fingers again) of the cardboard and sprinkled the black glitter over the top. I was generous with the glitter - I wanted it to sparkle!!! But so I didn't waste any I put a piece of paper under to collect the glitter and put it back in the container.

Now in hind sight I would stop and attach the ribbon hanger because I actually sewed it on. Don't worry it's easier than you think, just make sure that you have a little longer needle. I sewed from the back right though the tube about 2 or 3 times and tied it off. Then it's time to start gluing again!

Glue all your pieces onto the wreath and give it some time to dry ... okay, you know I gave it all of 5 minutes before putting this on my front door to show y'all! But now that I have a good picture it's back on the table drying. Hmm, now I'm thinking we need to have warm crock pot soup for dinner, guess it must be fall someplace ... well maybe another night. For now we'll enjoy our funny monster wreath and the warm evenings made for walks and bike rides. I think it turned out pretty cute! Hope you have fun making it! Well that's my frugal wreath from ...

This Frugal Momma