Am I a Funny Girl?

Saving made easy, big purchases made reality


Are we only family who had a crazy 2015? Besides the normal young family adventures of starting second grade, camping trips, and another round of birthdays, we had some serious adventures and experiences last year, and many of them were made possible thanks to how easy it to save with 360 Savings from Capital One. We started off the year with plans, like a camping trip over my birthday, the 4th of July. But we made other plans, too. Jamie turned 40 last August, so we had to do something big.

Luckily, I’m a planner and had started saving for the celebration a year or so ahead of time, so I already had a tidy little sum set aside when we started talking about how to celebrate his milestone birthday.

The final choice? A cruise to Alaska (which was AMAZING) and was almost exactly the amount I’d stashed in my “Top Secret” 360 Savings account!

alaska

There were other things, too, because sometimes opportunities arise that you simply can’t pass up. TWO family trips to Florida in the spring, first to visit Jamie’s grandparents and then back a few weeks later because I was invited to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.

Again, we were able to pull these trips off because of savings accounts that we had set up with automatic deposits, allowing us to build our savings with almost no effort. We haven’t been really aggressive with our savings; small deposits of $25 or so, every week, lets that money grow without having a dramatic impact on our finances. Setting up additional savings accounts is SO easy with Capital One. It takes about a minute and you’re all set!

set up new capital one savings

Another adventure of 2015? A spur-of-the-moment trip to Disneyland, to check out their Seasons of the Force exhibit. It was a whirlwind from The Force Awakens opening night to a plane ride to Disneyland, but it was a most excellent adventure and one we’re thrilled to have made happen. In related news, Chewbacca is very soft and snuggly.

disneyland

A recent Capital One survey found that only 1/3 of Americans felt they accomplished their financial goals in 2015, and we did NOT want to be among the majority there. Another, long-term, savings goal we had set was a new car for me. My 2005 Mazda has been a great vehicle for almost 11 years, but at 220,000 miles, we knew that a new something was coming up, so we had been saving for that as well.

Again, thanks to Capital One’s 360 Savings, we were able to make a substantial down payment on my dream family car, an awesome Toyota 4Runner. While this was technically a 2016 purchase, our saving happened in 2015 (and before) so it gets credit for 2015.

buying a new car

And that brings us to 2016! We’ve already talked about our savings plans for the future, and have set a pretty lofty dollar amount goal for this year, but we think we can do it, with help from 360 Savings from Capital One.

We’ve got a couple of decent/better than decent cars, just took some amazing vacations, so it’ll be a year of camping this year, and otherwise really buckling down to save. Because the next saving goal? Our dream house.

saving for a house

What are your strategies for saving? How are you reaching your goals?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Thursday #407

thursdayLose a second tooth and your face reverts to like when you first learned to “Say Cheese” and you squish your face up so tight your eyes close.
Also, there’s a VERY real chance that Thursday #408 will feature YET ANOTHER missing tooth. He gained them quickly, cutting his first five teeth all in a single week, apparently they’re going out the same way!

Thursday #403

thursday

Max spent Christmas Eve building our new Santa’s Toy Shoppe LEGO set and working on his wiggly teeth. The first one should be coming out any day now! (You can tell they’re shifting around in his face; that space wasn’t there on the right a week ago! FIVE active wigglers, just wondering which one will be the first to go. He got five all in a week as well, his first five, all within a week of his first birthday)

Graham Cracker Teardrop Trailer Project

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HoneyMaidHouse #CollectiveBias

Honey Maid Graham Cracker Teardrop Trailer Tutorial and Template #HoneyMaidHouse AD

We’ve been a little teardrop-obsessed ever since Jamie finished building our #TransPorter back in August 2014. We take it out as often as we can, and when we aren’t camping, we’re talking about camping or planning a trip, or admiring adorable teardrop-themed merchandise all over the internet. (Just me? No? Good.)

Family with trailer #FallGlamping AD

So it only seems fitting that instead of a plain old gingerbread house, we’d make a trailer this year. And thanks to Honey Maid Graham Crackers, there’s no real baking involved, unless you count making the royal icing.

I picked up everything I needed for this project at Walmart, so you can too, the next time you’re there. Easy peasy. I spent several evenings working on this; I wanted to leave lots of time in between steps to give the icing time to dry, so this is best taken on with a little patience and time, if you want the best possible results. Now let’s get to the building!

Supplies

  • Graham Cracker Teardrop templates (I’ve created this free printable for you, so just download the PDF and print it out at 100% on letter paper to have your cut lines.)
  • Mounting board (I just used a piece of scrap from Jamie’s workshop)
  • Honey Maid Graham Crackers
  • Royal icing (Recipe below)
  • Piping bag and small point frosting tip
  • 2 can lid rings
  • 3 drinking straws
  • And a partridge in a pear tree (Sorry! It’s that time of year)
  • Green food coloring
  • 2 1/4″ circle hole saw
  • Decorative pieces for the trailer. I chose to stay with a trail mix-inspired theme to match my campsite.
    • Peanuts
    • Banana Chips
    • Pretzel sticks
    • Raisins
    • Shredded coconut

Royal Icing

I use a pretty simple icing recipe, you are, of course, welcome to use your own. I store mine in the icing bag on the fridge in between steps. I put a straight pin in the tip to keep it from hardening up too much, and then prop the tip up in a small bowl, covered with plastic wrap. I was able to use a single batch of icing for the whole project, over several days.

Simply combine all the ingredients in a mixer bowl and mix until smooth. If you need it thinner, add a splash more milk, thicker, add a bit of powdered sugar. This is just a starting point.

  • 1 1/2 c. Powdered Suga
  • 2 T. Milk
  • 2 T. Light Corn Syrup

Construction

  • Lay 4 whole Honey Maid graham crackers down to line up with the edges of the rectangle on the template. Use royal icing to “glue” 1/4 graham pieces to stick the 4 whole crackers together, as shown. (I included a couple of pretzel sticks for extra security, but you don’t have to)
    Teardrop Wall on Template #HoneyMaidHouse AD
  • Allow to set for at least 30 minutes, longer is better. After about 15 minutes, I slid both of my walls into a large ziptop bag and let them set overnight just to be safe.
  • Once the walls are well set, replace the wall pieces on the template to cut to shape. (You’ll notice the template has 2 pages, you’ll want to do one of each so you have walls facing each direction with the supports on the inside.)
  • Using a serrated knife, cut carefully along the marked lines. I use a large bread knife and don’t add any pressure, just let the weight of the knife press down enough to make the cut.
    Cutting on template #HoneyMaidHouse AD
  • Don’t worry if the cut off part breaks! :)
    Cut piece of corner #HoneyMaidHouse AD
  • Continue to make all 12 cuts shown on the template, 6 for each wall. Your finished walls should look like this one:
    Finished teardrop wall #HoneyMaidHouse AD
  • Once your walls are set, apply the floor and one ceiling brace. Lay a side down, support-side up, and use royal icing to attach whole graham crackers across the bottom and a single one for the top. Put the icing on the frontside of the cracker you’re attaching, so the thinedge of the wall is attached to the wide side of the whole floor/ceiling cracker. Use a box to help hold the new pieces perpendicular to the walls.
    Walls propped #HoneyMaidHouse AD
  • Add a brace to the front piece as well. When all the bracing is done on the first side, it will look like this:
    One wall done #HoneyMaidHouse AD
  • Attach the opposite wall. Once this has had time to set, carefully cut graham crackers the long way to cover along the angles of the top of the trailer. Use royal icing to fill in the spaces in between the crackers. At this point, once it’s dried, you can easily move the trailer around to make it easier to decorate.
    Blank Trailer #HoneyMaidHouse AD
  • Turn the trailer so one side is facing up, and begin decorating. I cut a 1/4 graham cracker for the door, and used part of a pretzel stick to prop it open while it dried.
    Door propped open #HoneyMaidHouse ADTrailer door #HoneyMaidHouse AD
  • I used roasted peanuts for trim along the edge, and a banana chip and raisin for the door.
    Decorating on side #HoneyMaidHouse AD

Assembly

  • Use two can rings to hold the trailer up off the mounting board. A little royal icing will adhere them to the board, and adhere the trailer to the rings.
    Can rings #HoneyMaidHouse AD
  • For wheels, I used a 2 1/4″ circle hole saw. It works like a very scary looking cookie cutter; just press down on the graham cracker to cut it to size and shape. I adhered two identical circles, and added a smaller one on top. (The smaller one is 1 1/2″)
    Attach the wheel to the trailer with royal icing.
    Drill bit #HoneyMaidHouse AD
  • For the trailer hitch, it’s a couple of paper drinking straws cut and glued to make a triangle, with a tiny scrap for the base. My husband actually threw this together in about 2 minutes.
    trailer hitch #HoneyMaidHouse AD
  • The campfire is made of pretzel sticks, fruit roll ups and almonds. Everything is royal icing’d directly onto the mounting board.
    Campfire closeup no grass #HoneyMaidHouse AD
  • Dye your shredded coconut by mixing a few drops of green food coloring and about a tablespoon of water in a sandwich-sized ziptop bag, then adding the coconut. Mix in the bag until everything is coated. I helped mine dry faster by putting it in a 200 degree oven for about 10 minutes, but you don’t have to do that.
    Spread the grass all around in front of the trailer and around the campfire. Get some right up against the trailer so it covers the can rings that are supporting it.
    Finished campfire #HoneyMaidHouse AD

    And you’re done!

Teardrop with box #HoneyMaidHouse AD

Finished close up with box #HoneyMaidHouse AD

Looking for more great ideas using Honey Maid?
Click here for #HoneyMaidHouse inspiration!

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