Pinterest Test Drive | Paper Pom Poms

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My son's hockey club had a Fun Fest this past weekend at a local park. Each team could do whatever they wanted to try winning a team spirit award. I wanted to make decorations but not spend a lot of the team's money to do it. I liked the idea of hanging pom pom poofs from the canopy but I didn't like the prices I was seeing at the party supply stores for the pre-made ones. Naturally, I turned to Google and Pinterest to find a DIY version.

I ended up using this one from Kristen at Big Box Detox. I loved the way mine turned out but it is not quite as easy as it looks in the tutorial. If you give this a try, here are my observations:

*Cutting through that many sheets of tissue paper is tougher than it seems. The paper might tear if you're not using your sharpest scissors.

*In the post, it mentions using pipe cleaners in place of yarn to tie off the center of the paper. Don't. Instead, use the pipe cleaners to make a nice loop at the end of the thread. The pom poms will be easier to hang.

*I had two different sizes of tissue paper 16 1/2 x 24 and 20 x 20. The smaller sheets were much easier to work with. (The orange paper is from Target, the blue from Party City)

*Make your creases as sharp as possible. 

*Tie the center firmly, but not too tight.

*After you make the fan and tie it off, separate the fan blades a bit. This will make it easier to peel up the tissue paper pieces with as little tearing as possible.

tissue paper pom pom

If I do this again, I'll try three colors instead of the two. I also think I'll cut the tissue paper in half and try making mini poofs. Happy crafting!

I Paid Off My Credit Card! | Frugal Friday

Friday, August 10, 2012

Yesterday, I reached a mini milestone. I paid off my credit card! I'm so happy right now. This is my personal 'mad money' card, not our joint card, but still. It has a zero balance! I paid it off with money *I* earned and that feels pretty damn good.

For the last few months, it's been so tempting to keep going with only making the minimum payment. I could see the balance going down, so why not? But, in keeping with my 40 Before 40 goals, I made myself add more even if it was just $10.

Before I made the last payment, I made a phone call to my bank. If you're about to pay off a card I strongly suggest you ask these two same questions.

Banks are starting to close inactive credit accounts and I wanted to make sure mine wouldn't do the same. I asked if, once I paid the card off, would they close it citing non use of the card and do they consider the annual fee as the card being used? The rep hadn't heard anyone ask the second question and she checked with a manager before answering.

I learned a few important things from that call:
1. At my bank, they will not close my account without notifying me first. 2. They do not consider the annual fee as the card being used.
3. I have 12 months from the time the card is paid off to use it again before they will notify me that they will close the account.
4. When I use it again, there is no minimum amount I have to charge. In the words of the customer service rep, "you can buy a pack of gum if you want to."

I have a pretty good credit score because of this card. There's no way I want to put that in jeopardy by having the bank indiscriminately decide to close the account because I'm not actively charging on it.

As far as I'm concerned, credit is a necessary evil. When I got my first card back in college, I had no idea how to use them. That came back to bite me in the butt. I've made a to educate myself about different types of cards and credit scores. I'm passing on that information to Tyler as well. Hopefully he'll be much smarter about it than I was and not have the same credit rating highs and lows that I've had. Next up, tackling the joint cards. But for now, I'm celebrating! (not by shopping though!)

What credit lessons have you learned? 
Have you paid off any cards?

Summer Fun at San Elijo State Beach

Monday, August 6, 2012

San Diego is a fantastic place to live. We have great weather and fun attractions. But, and rightly so, we're known for our beaches. We have miles and miles of coastline with spectacular views. We're very lucky that our family spends a full week every year at the San Elijo State Beach campgrounds. My husband's cousins hold a mini reunion every summer and we head to the beach every day they're here for boogie boarding, sand castles and s'mores.

campsite San Elijo State Beach

The campground has WiFi, Bull Taco restaurant, a full camp store and offers surf lessons. San Elijo is across the street from a 7-11, Starbucks, Jack in the Box and Subway. Also within walking distance are the Cardiff Seaside Market home of the famous Cardiff Crack (ask a local about it!) and VG's Bakery has some of the best doughnuts in San Diego.

Bull Taco San Elijo State Beach

Bring your bikes to the campground and you'll be able to get back and forth really easily to some of the nearby attractions and eateries. A few minutes north of the campgrounds on PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) is the community of Encinitas. Downtown Encinitas has great restaurants, bars and shopping. Get up early, go to Potato Shack Cafe for breakfast and share a manhole chocolate chip pancake. Head south on PCH to Las Olas Mexican Restaurant for happy hour.

The next community south of the campground is Solana Beach, also home to great shopping (on Cedros Avenue) dining and live music at The Belly Up Tavern. Have breakfast at The Naked Cafe or The Orange Blossom Cafe (try the lemon crepe) or some of San Diego's best pizza and craft beer at Pizza Port. Make sure you stop into Leaping Lotus for souvenirs and gifts.

beach camping San Elijo

Camping at San Elijo is really one of the best things San Diego has to offer, especially in terms of summer fun. The access to great stretches of beach, really good local restaurants and unique shopping can't be beat. Here are six things you should know before booking a campsite at San Elijo State Beach.

Tips for Camping at San Elijo Sate Beach in San Diego

beach campfire San Elijo

1. Book early! The online reservations go live at midnight in January. Campers wait up till all hours to jump on sites they like. The summer months fill up really fast but you can always take a chance on a walk up reservation for a site that may have had a last minute cancellation.

sandcastle San Elijo

2. If you can, walk the campground, or have someone do it for you. Some sites are definitely better than others. We usually have 5-6 tents on one site and need to make sure we've got one of the largest lots. Decide ahead of time if you want an ocean view, need to be near the showers, want to be close to the stairs leading down to the beach or near the mini amphitheater.

3. Stingrays and jelly fish are pretty common on that stretch of beach. Make sure you know first aid for those types of stings.

sunset San Elijo

4. There aren't really any banks or ATM's nearby (except for 7-11) so have plenty of small bills on hand for shower tokens and Bull Taco.

5. Be prepared for pests. Squirrels are a menace. All your food should be in plastic totes with lids. Go to the dollar store and buy several of the largest ground cinnamon containers you can find. Sprinkle it on the ground around your site to help keep ants at bay.

6. The campground has covered up the electrical outlets outside the bathrooms. Invest in some type of solar or backup chargers for your devices or be prepared to schlep your things across the street to Starbucks to juice up everyday.

Since I leave the campground at night to sleep in my own bed, veteran campers probably have better tips than these.

What is your best advice to prepare for a camping trip?

This is post six in a series of sponsored posts for the San Diego Honda Dealers Association.   
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