Monday, November 19, 2007

Being "On the Cheap" Isn't Always So Bad!

It is common knowledge that I am officially "on the cheap", and I have a grave disorder I so lovingly refer to as "my fear of spending." It is a real blessing thorn in my side. It often cripples me to a point that is hard to explain. I can agonize over the simplest purchases. If you haven't read about this crazy little quirk, go right ahead and read about it. It is really something that sets me apart from EVERYONE I know. (A little update for you...I finally did purchase that DSLR and of course I am loving it. The funny tidbit is this...I purchased my camera through Amazon. I signed up for the Amazon credit card, and saved $30 off the top, then....then....I used my Amazon points to get a FREE Waffle Iron! tee hee, so don't fret....I'm no longer deprived of waffles.)

This crazy non-spendiness covers all areas of my life. Since having Sugar Bear, I am constantly eager to take hand me downs when offered, shop second hand, and often...and I mean OFTEN I choose to just MAKE her what I want her to have. Here are a few of the examples of this particular illness.

There was the "I'm not paying THAT for a Boutique Bow" phase:

The beginning of the "I'm not paying THAT for portraits" era (my photograph skills have come a LONG way, huh?):

The "I'm not paying THAT for Boutique Overalls" era:

Then to top that all off, I usually end up making these things to sell, so that I can actually MAKE money. It really gets crazy here in my little head.

This past summer, the preschool teacher in me was going crazy. I badly wanted to give Sugar Bear the sensory stimulation that a Sand and Water Table could provide. You know what I'm talking about, this little thingy. The only thing holding me back was the pesky price tag. All the ones I could find, cost at least $50, and I just couldn't justify spending that much money for something she may or may not like, and would soon outgrow. I did a lot of thinking. I picked my hubby's brain, and this little set up is the result. Not only was the price right, it is quite functional.

We purchased four clear storage totes. Two of the large ones, and two of the shallow ones. As you can see in the photos, the smaller ones fit right down into the larger ones leaving some space in the bottom.

We use one as a water table. I simply filled the shallow tote with water and added some cheap water toys. When she was done playing, we would dump the water and store the toys in the bottom of the larger tote.

We use one as a sand table. We "borrowed" some sand from the beach. We put the extra in the bottom of the larger tote, so if the sand slowly disappeared, due to a young child not quite keeping it in the container all the time, we had extra to replace it with easily. The sand toys were also stored in the bottom of the water table tote. We simply place the lid on after playing, to keep the cat from using it as a litter box.

I can not recommend this set up enough. Not only was it about $20, it can be used for storage both now and when she is no longer interested. Sugar has been playing with her sand and water tables for over 5 months now, and still loves it. If it is too short of her by next summer, we'll just put the totes up on something to lift it to the right height. Possible some wood blocks or some bricks we have laying around here.

I know this post would probably be better timed if it were sand and water table season, but I just edited these photos recently, and wanted to share our great idea. I'd love to hear what you think....go ahead leave me a little comment. wink wink...even if it is just to tell me that I am the weirdest person you know.

26 Live It or Love It:

Stretch Mark Mama said...

I was just thinking of doing the same thing myself! We had to ditch the "frog" sandbox when we moved cross-country, and I too thought the $$$ sand/water tables were pretty neat. But truly, a couple of storage tubs will accomplish the same thing, as you have proven!

grace said...

My family don't spend too much on toys. And you don't need to go spend money on photo ops at the studio, your photos are fab enough!

holly said...

i totally love this, corey. i'm going to copy!

but maybe in the spring, when it's not freeze-butt cold out.

Laura said...

Corey, that's ingenious! I don't completely have your fear of spending, but I definitely balk at the prices of kids' toys and activity sets, so ideas like this just make my day!

I'll definitely be trying this when the weather gets warmer!

Summer said...

I'm like you. If it can be homemade I'll give it a try instead of paying too much.
I wish I had better sewing skills. I've taught myself how to make pillows. That's all I can do for now.
I love the sand and water table you made!

jennwa said...

I too am cheap. I love this idea and I am going to do this. My 2 year old is going to love it. Thanks so much for sharing it.

Terry said...

I am very cheap too. I too consignment shops as well and clip coupons. I think it is because growing up money was so scarce. In my life I have two big fears...fear of flying and fear of money.

Lori- Fairytales & Margaritas said...

Great idea! We have a water table (no sand) that I found for $29, so I got it. Otherwise, I love your idea!

Autumn said...

I love this idea Corey. Funny thing, my dad did something very simular at his house for Bug. Only he didn't use the big tubs on the bottom, that is a great idea. I'm right there with you on the being cheap.. I just like to call it being thrifty!

Jo Beaufoix said...

Wow. I'll be nabbing this idea sweetie. I'm like you, and I've been meaning to get Miss M something like this, so I'll do it next summer. Thanks. :D

Deb - Mom of 3 Girls said...

That's a great idea! And a creative way to re-use something since you never have too many storage totes. I may have to try that one for Becca next summer. :)

mama bear said...

Great idea - I hope I remember it when summer comes. I will try it for the little ones!

childlife said...

I love the bow and boutique overall phase : ) Soooo cute!

I landed on a very similar solution to the expensive sand and water table dilema... Great minds think alike ; )

Ingrid said...

What a cool idea, Corey. I may borrow it and do something similar for Isabel.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

Have you ever read The Tightwad Gazette books by Amy Dacyczyn? Those books were the single most important thing in letting me stay home with my kids.

Cheap is one of my favorite words.

Donetta said...

Those are a fantastic idea! Try rice in one of them or dried beans are good too. That was what we used indoors. It is fine to boil the beans if you do not want to waist them. But they are very cheep. Good of the wintertime. Nice cropping of the pics. Loved the jeans too cute!

Megan (FriedOkra) said...

You're so clever! I mean the sand and water tables, yes, but I love the photo of SB in the pot of soup. Too cute, missy. Just too cute.

Kim said...

I love that sense of accomplishment when you do something like this. I know Sugar will always benefit from her Mama's ingenuity.

WorksForMom said...

I puffy heart those photos (AGAIN). And I so want a DSLR for Christmas. Is that what your shooting these shots with?

Fantastic, clever idea too BTW!

Joeprah said...

You are the weirdest person I know.

Pam said...

I love how you mounted the smaller tub inside a larger tub. I used shallow tubs when I taught kindergarten to let the kids play with rice, and we just set them on the floor.

Beth said...

First, let me say, I love the big bows! Those are so adorable! I really like the one that is almost the size of her head! Too cute!

Second of all, what a great idea! You should post the sand and water table idea on Shannon's Works For Me Wednesday Carnival! The world needs to know about this!

a writer's woolgatherings said...

Good for you!! You are definitely NOT weird, my friend. What I do think is weird is paying a pretty penny for stuff that doesn't have to be expensive.

You are one talented mama, by the way!

Ann said...

Awesome idea! We used a large under-the-bed tub for a sandbox one year; it worked great, and I think the kids had better access to the sand than in a regular sandbox. Nothing wrong with cheap :)

Mary Ann said...

What a great idea for the water and sand table. I am totally going to do that when it warms up. You are so creative. Thanks for the idea!

Anna said...

I don't think you're weird. I think people who just go ahead and pay for stuff they can do themselves are weird. And people who buy brand new expensive clothes for little people who are growing so fast they won't even use them very long. Now that's weird.

I'm extremely cheap, too.

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