How to Get Your Bachelor’s in Less Time, For Less (Part IV)

photo by Mary Gober

In the past three weeks we’ve defined distance learning (otherwise known as a non-traditional college route); discussed its pros and cons and taken a look at the two most common credit-earning exams: CLEPs and Dantes.

Now it’s time to discuss how to prepare for the exams.

Not only does earning credit-by-examination save considerably on per-credit cost, you also don’t have to purchase highly priced textbooks. I about died when Joshua started law school and we had to fork over $80 for the cheapest used textbook on Amazon. We hardly spent that much for all of our undergrad resources combined.

Most of the resources necessary to prepare for CLEP or Dantes exams we checked out free from the library!

Resources to Prepare for Credit-by-Examination

Get to Know the Exams:

The first step when preparing for any test is to familiarize yourself with the exam.

There are 33 CLEP exams. The Collage Board describes the tests and offers a few sample questions. The Official CLEP Study Guide is published by the creators of the CLEP exams and offers full length practice tests, as well as recommendations for preparing for the exam. We took numerous CLEP exams and found the Official Study Guide to be an invaluable resource for checking our readiness to take the exam.

If you want to take a Dantes, GetCollegeCredit.com offers a detailed overview of each test with sample questions. The writers of the exam authored the Official Guide to Mastering DSST Exams to prepare students for their eight most popular exams.

Start studying:

Once you know what you need to study, it’s time to get busy!

Teaching Company Lectures: I absolutely LOVE these! The Teaching Company recruits distinguished professors from around the world to lecture on their area of expertise. They are fairly expensive, but we raided our library’s huge collection. The lectures cover everything from Mastering Differential Equations to The Classics of Russian Literature.

The best part? You can listen while you drive, do dishes or fold laundry! 

My very favorite professor is Timothy Taylor who teaches on Economics. I listened to these while still living at home with my family. The lectures were like a magnet. My siblings inched their way into the kitchen so they could listen too. Timothy Taylor even got an 8-year-old to beg to dry dishes, just so she could listen to the history of economics. Impressive, huh?

Instant Cert: Instant Cert is great for areas in which you need a lot of work. It uses a series of multiple choice questions with detailed answers to quickly help you grasp the pertinent information.

I was delighted with how quickly it helped me prepare for my most dreaded CLEP: College Mathematics. In fact, rather than this CLEP taking the most time to prepare for, I was ready to take the exam in only a couple of weeks.

 Membership is $20 a month and they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee: if you decide you don’t like it during the first month, just cancel and your money will be refunded (no questions asked!)

Instant Cert also hosts a forum, which you can access for free, that is full of great information about schools, tests, etc…

Dummies or Complete Idiot Guides: If you prefer an actual book, these series have guides to almost every subject imaginable. Sometimes if you’ve listened to a lecture on a subject, it’s useful to follow-up with a glance through one of these guides. I spent an couple hours reading over the The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Economics after listening to Timothy Taylor’s lectures and together they covered all I needed to know for the two Economic CLEP exams.

Conclusion:

Thanks to a wonderful library system, we spent about the same on all four years of college credit than we did on just one of Joshua’s law books. (We purchased one month of Instant Cert flashcards and The Official CLEP Study Guide, and wouldn’t have needed to purchase it, but checked it out from the library SO many times we eventually decided it would be worth it! We also ordered a few other books that are no longer necessary.) Even if your library isn’t as extensive as ours was, preparing for a CLEP or Dantes exam is considerably less expensive than a regular college course!

Even if you’re going to a traditional college, I highly recommend that you consider testing out of some of your general education courses. It will save you time and money.

If you, like us, want to get your entire degree through examination, join me next week when we’ll cover the three major colleges that offer degrees non-traditionally and the pros and cons of each.

Have a question? Email or comment and I’ll do my best to answer it!  

linked up at Works for Me Wednesday and Frugal Friday

(Full disclosure: The links to products in this post are my referral links.)

How to Get Your Bachelor’s in Less Time, For Less (Part III)

photo by Mary Gober

Now that we’ve defined distance learning (otherwise known as a non-traditional college route) and discussed its pros and cons, it’s time to get practical.

Distance learning operates under the assumption that you don’t have to sit in a classroom in order to learn. You can study anywhere, anytime and then test your knowledge using standardized tests. If you score well enough, you “pass” and earn credit.

Some students may want to complete their entire degree through distance learning. (I’ll share how in coming weeks.) However, you don’t have to take an all-or-nothing approach. Many colleges allow you to test out of at least some courses and have credit applied.

For example, here is a list from OTC (a local college where I grew up) of the tests OTC considers equivalents of their courses and what score you need to have the test count towards your credit. Search your school’s database or talk to an advisor to find what tests they accept.

Two Major Types of Credit-Earning Tests

 

College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams:

CLEP exams are the most popular way to test out of entry-level college courses. For a 90 minute test that costs just $77*, you can earn between 3 and 12 credit hours! Nearly 3000 accredited colleges nation-wide award credit for at least some CLEP exams. (Check here to see if your college accepts CLEPs.)

CLEP exams cover 33 subjects including biology, Spanish, calculus and American literature. With the exception of foreign language and composition CLEP exams, the exams are made up of multiple choice questions.

Taking a CLEP exam allows you to choose your course material, save money, and gain your degree more quickly.

There are limitations to CLEPs: they don’t cover all areas and colleges generally only award lower-level credit for them.

Dantes Subject Standardized Tests (DSST/Dantes):

These tests were originally designed for the military, but civilians can now take them. Like CLEPs, Dantes exams cost a fraction of earning credit traditionally. Dantes exams are $80* for a 3 credit-hour exam and many of the test are even awarded upper-level credit! Nearly 2000 colleges across the country accept some Dantes exams for credit. (Search here to see if your college awards credit.)

Dantes exams cover 38 subjects including “Human Resource Management,” “Principle of Statistics,” and “The Rise and Fall of Soviet Russia.”

These exams are more difficult than CLEPs, but are multiple choice. Though Dantes require studious preparation, you can study at your own pace with the materials you choose.

(* Most testing facilities charge a $15-20 fee for administering the test.)

Coming up…

Next week I’ll share the wonderful resources we used to prepare for these exams. Then, we’ll take a look at three colleges that let you obtain a degree entirely through examination. I’ll wrap it up with answers to common questions.
Have a question? Email or comment and I’ll do my best to answer it!  

linked up at Works for Me Wednesday and Frugal Friday

How to Get Your Bachelor’s in Less Time, For Less (Part II)

photo by Mary Gober

Last week we talked about making sure college is the right choice. Today we’re going to talk about the pros and cons of a non-traditional education.

Pros of non-traditional college:

A non-traditional degree saves money:

The cost of college has skyrocketed in the past decades. After you adjust for inflation, the total cost per year of attending a Public College was $6,320 in 1981. Last year it was $14,870. (See U.S. Department of Education stats)

That’s just shy of $60,000 over the course of four years.

It cost us under $3,000 each for our Bachelor’s degrees.

A non-traditional degree saves time:

No more sitting through long lectures (while chatting on Facebook, like so many students do.) Instead you can listen to lectures while jogging, driving or doing the dishes. Then take tests that you’ve scheduled.

Want to finish sooner than four years? It’s much easier this way. You can test out of multiple classes in a single day.

A non-traditional degree is flexible:

You can study at your own pace, on your own time. Work or family obligations prevent many people from going to school full time. This allows you to earn credit when you have time. You can jam it all in to a year, like Josh. Or, you can work on it a bit here and there, like me.

Cons of a non-traditional college:

It requires self-motivation:

Unlike a college classroom, you’re the one setting the pace. You have to be proactive and study a subject and then schedule the exam.

You miss out on possible connections:

Studying on your own cuts down on distractions, but limits your circle of acquaintances. You also miss out on Career Services or other career placement programs that a brick-n-mortar college offers.

Traditional scholarships aren’t available:

Most scholarships are for traditional colleges and can’t be applied towards CLEP credit (unless things have changed since we got ours.)

Conclusion:

Whether or not you want to get your degree the traditional way, I think all students could benefit from obtaining at least some of their Gen Ed classes non-traditionally, through examination.

Up next: CLEP and Dantes exams (and how to use them!) 

linked up at Works for Me Wednesday and Frugal Friday

How to Get Your Bachelor’s in Less Time, For Less (Part 1)

Note: After posting I realized I should have included a better introduction. College is probably not on the radar for most of you. Many of you, like me, are full time homemakers. However, so many people have asked us how we obtained our degrees for less than $3000 in a relatively short period, I thought it may be of interest to some of you. I’ve decided to make Fridays the day for posting mini-series. After this college series, I have other series in the works.  

photo by Mary Gober

Joshua finished his Bachelor’s degree in a year. I dragged mine out over several. We both spent less than $3000.

“How?” many people have asked.

Today I’m going to start a series on the non-traditional college route we took and that worked well for us. In the series I will cover:

  • what a non-traditional, or distance, degree is
  • the pros and cons of a non-traditional degree
  • how to get a distance degree
  • various ways of earning credit
  • how to integrate non-traditional ways of earning credit into a traditional college career
  • resources to help prepare for exams

Maybe college is not on your agenda. Chances are, it is for someone you know. If you find the information useful, I’d be so grateful if you passed it on.

Before getting into the pros and cons of a non-traditional degree, it is important to get three preliminary questions out of the way.

“What is a non-traditional distance degree?”

A non-traditional degree is one obtained outside a brick-and-mortar classroom, particularly one earned through exams and online classes. It challenges the belief that the education required to succeed can only be obtained by sitting in a classroom for four years.

“Is a college degree necessary?”

Traditional wisdom says “Go to college. Get good grades. Get a good job.” That worked in our parent’s era, but more and more often these days, students are graduating college with a boatload of debt and few job prospects (unless McDonalds counts.)

One recent study showed that only 56% of 2010 college graduates had found a job by spring. Those jobs paid 10% less than starter jobs in 2006.

Meanwhile, the cost of college and the associated debt load is rising. Tuition is six times more expensive than 20 years ago. The average college senior graduates with $24,000 in student loans.

Will the sacrifice be worth it? Many careers require the letters B.A. stamped on a piece of paper. Some don’t.

“Is a traditional college campus necessary?”

So you need a degree. But do you need to go to a brick and mortar college?

Many degrees can be obtained without ever stepping foot inside a college classroom, including English literature, psychology or political science.

For other degrees like nursing or engineering, at least part of the coursework can be done outside the classroom. Some schools will even allow pre-med students to test out of general education courses.

Earning at least some credit through examination is a wise option for most students.

Next up: the pros and cons of an outside-the-box education.

Linked up at Frugal Fridays

Learning to Say “No”

Christmas is around the corner. The calendar and pocketbook are being tugged at from every corner.

Cookie exchanges, Christmas performances, and holiday get-togethers vie for our time. It seems like every time I enter a store or turn on the computer, some new item that no one on my Christmas list needs, but would be so fun to get anyway, shows up. On sale of course.

The temptation to over-commit and over-spend is strong.

We must learn to say “no!”

Even to some of those incredibly delightful sounding parties or tempting books on sale for $5.50. Not so that we can play Scrooge, but so that we make room for the best, with no regrets come January.

We must make room to treasure the true Meaning of Christmas.

It's the season of love, joy, and endless demands on the schedule and pocketbook. Learn to say "No!", so that you can say "Yes!" to the best.

photo by Benjamin Earwicker

Learning to Say No

I hate saying “no” to events. Partly because I don’t want to miss out on any of the fun, partly because I don’t want to offend a friend. After numerous times of reaping the consequences of over extending myself, I’m slowly getting better.

As Crystal from Money Saving Mom points out, the purpose of learning to say “no” is so that we can say “yes” to the best.

We simply cannot do everything. (Or buy everything.) Time and money are limited resources. Saying “yes” to one thing of necessity means saying “no” to something else.

Prioritize

 Choose what is most important for your family, at this season of life, and let go of the rest.

Know your limits

 Some women can bounce from activity to activity without letting it affect their home, their family life, or their attitude. I cannot. Just because another woman/family is hostessing or attending fifty activities doesn’t mean it would be wise for me to.

Likewise, each of our Christmas budgets are different. We’re working intensely on paying off school loans. In the long run that’s a much better gift to our children than a large play set (that probably wouldn’t even fit in their room!)

Don’t commit immediately

It’s not an earth-shattering idea or anything, but it has been so helpful since I read about it a few months ago (I wish I could remember where!) Graciously say you need to check your schedule and/or talk to you husband before saying “Yes!”. This helps avoid an impulse decision that you’ll regret or, even worse, have to back out of later. (Don’t ask me how I know!)

Clear out the clutter

De-cluttering in December is weird. It’s also a very strong motivator to avoid impulse purchases. Many of those “50% off TODAY ONLY!” items will end up in the donation pile within a few months.

Simplify other areas of your life

The schedule is almost always more full at Christmas, so simplify other areas if you can. Unless you are forced by budget constraints or pressing health needs, lighten up a bit on yourself. As Joshua reminds me, “It’s not a sin to use paper plates!”

Most importantly, give thanks!

 We’re celebrating the greatest Gift ever given to mortals: God Himself as our Redeemer! No celebration can come close to being more lavish than that Gift. Yet don’t let the celebration cloud the Cause!

Learn to say “No!”, so you can say “Yes!” to the best

Learning to say “No” is hard, but so totally worthwhile. Every time we say “Yes!” to something, we’re saying “No!” to something else. By learning to prioritize, recognize our limits, and simplify, we can make sure we have room in our hearts and schedules to say “Yes!” to the best.

How do you stay sane during the holidays? (And have you ever had to back out of a commitment?) 

Ten Tips to Stay Away from Walmart Longer

photo by Cindy Kalamajka

Shopping with three little ones. It’s doable. You can make it fun.

If you’re like me though, you would much rather take them to the park or sit on the couch together with a stack of books.

Unless you live on a self-sustainable farm or can afford a personal shopper (wouldn’t that be nice?!) trips to the store are a necessity. My goal is to make them as rare as possible. Even if you don’t have little ones, spreading out the shopping trips saves money by avoiding impulse purchase. Here are ten tips for lengthening the time between treks.

  1. Keep your pantry stocked: Instead of waiting ’til you’re scraping out the last bit of peanut butter, keep several jars on hand and rotate them. Don’t have a pantry? There are many other creative ways to store food.
  2. Make a menu using common ingredients you keep on hand: find your family’s favorite meals and keep the staples for fixing them well stocked.
  3. Plan ahead: Do you entertain often? Pick a few meals that you like serving to guests and keep the pantry or freezer stocked with ingredients to make them. Will you need to bring food to a baby or wedding shower? Pick out a few recipes that you enjoy bringing to events and (you guessed it!) keep the ingredients on hand.
  4. Keep a running list: As soon as you start to run low on an item, add it to the list. Before heading to the store, make sure your husband isn’t almost out of shaving cream.
  5. Substitute: Out of eggs? A tablespoon of flax or soy flour mixed with a tablespoon of water works in baked goods. No oil? Try substituting applesauce or yogurt. Here’s a detailed list.
  6. Check expiration dates in the store: The difference between one dozen eggs’ expiration date and the next can be weeks.
  7. Keep the expiration date in mind at home: Some foods spoil quickly. Some don’t. Eggs, potatoes, apples, Romaine lettuce, citrus fruits, etc. can keep for at least two weeks properly stored. Eat the fresh food that spoils more quickly first and then rotate to longer keeping foods.
  8. Utilize your freezer: Many perishable foods can be frozen, including milk. We don’t like thawed milk as much as fresh, but I’ll use it to make yogurt for breakfast smoothies or to serve with granola. If you run out of fresh fruits and veggies use frozen.
  9. Be creative: Out of numerous basics?  Search for recipes using what you do have.
  10. Share the load: Have a friend or neighbor that also has small kids (or just doesn’t *love* shopping)? On their shopping day see if they could pick up a gallon of milk or other item you need to prolong your trip and then return the favor when you’re shopping.

These ideas work for me. What about you? Do you space your trips out as far as possible?

Be a Hairstylist

Cutting my family’s hair is one of those things I would still do if I were a millionaire.

“Hair-cutting day” formed part of the regular routine in my mom’s home. About once a month, she pulled out the hair cutting supplies. My dad and brothers never set foot in a salon.

I soon wanted in on the action, but my brothers never let me come close. Once, while a brother was in the middle of a haircut, I snuck in behind and grabbed the scissors determined to learn. Before I snipped one tuft, my brother realized it was me and cried, “Stop! I don’t want to be your guinea pig.”

I was thirteen – and devastated.

Years passed but still they obstinately refused to let me “practice” on them. My hands were untried when Joshua and I got engaged. He has seven brothers. His mom always cut their hair. You can imagine just how experienced she is. But, thankfully, he entrusted his hair to my care. (What choice did he have?!)

Obviously, cutting your family’s hair is the frugal route. A cheap men’s haircut runs $10 around here.

All you really need to do your own haircuts is a pair of scissors and comb, but a simple kit makes the task simple and produces good consistent results.

The best way to learn is obviously by watching. You could go to the salon and study the stylist, but youtube has scores of free tutorials with instructions ranging from conservative cuts to dyed Mohawks. The library is also a great resource.

I cut Joshua’s hair about every four to six weeks. That’s almost $100 saved yearly. Over the years, that adds up—especially if you have eight sons!

Even if money weren’t an issue, these reasons would keep me snipping away.

  • Convenience: You are not confined to the hairstylist’s schedule. I can cut Joshua’s hair at 10:00 Saturday night or fit in a haircut right after breakfast on Monday morning.
  • Time saved: No need drive to the appointment and wait while the stylist finishes another client. Now that I know exactly what Joshua wants, it takes less than twenty minutes to cut and clean up. (And those minutes are minutes that I get to spend with my busy husband. Why would I want someone else to?!)
  • Creativity: Homemaking encompasses an array of skills. Each one is an adventure and broadens our scope of abilities. If you’re cutting a wiggly toddler’s hair, try the bath. Their hair is already wet and they are preoccupied. A sleeping baby is even easier.
  • Satisfaction: Not only the satisfaction of getting the exact style your husband wanted, but the satisfaction that comes from mastering a skill.

I don’t foresee ever giving up cutting my guy’s hair, but am not so sure about my own. I have cut my own hair twice. Once was my favorite haircut ever. The other the worst. Usually I just talk my mom into cutting it.
What about you? Do you cut your family’s hair? What about your own?

part of Thrify Thursday and Frugal Friday

photo by Flavio Takemoto

Thrive in Small Places: Storage Solutions

Small homes don’t come with oodles of storage room. Old homes are often short on cupboards and closets. Combine the two and you’re left with small closets and few cupboards.

Have you ever wondered just how many items the modern home contains?

Our grandmothers have much to teach us. They didn’t depend on every new gadget that hit the market to run their homes.  Most of the shiny new contraptions aren’t worth the price tag. Carefully evaluate whether a new item will significantly help you become a more efficient or frugal or healthy homemaker before it ever enters the front door. This will dramatically cut down on the need for storage.

Simplicity is best.

Some items, however, are worth storing: Grains bought in bulk or a year’s worth of pasta purchased at a rock bottom price slash the grocery budget. A well stocked cupboard eliminates unnecessary trips to the store.

If you hope to have a large family, it would generally not make sense to get rid of the hand me downs. Storing a “bare minimum” collection of clothes saves considerably over the long run.

A gift stash makes last minute birthday parties or the event that crept upon you unaware (even though it was on the calender for a month) no cause for panic.

But of course, food stockpiles and old clothes take up space. Where should they be stored? There’s the obvious places like under the bed or behind-the-door racks. Here are other ways we’ve made limited storage work.

  • Build a shelf: it doesn’t need to be pretty, just sturdy. Most of my “pantry” sits behind the couch on a rough floor-to-ceiling shelf . Cover it up with a pretty cloth and it actually adds to the decor.
  • Keep the fridge and freezer full: even if something doesn’t need to be stored in the fridge, most items stay fresher. Plus, a full fridge cuts down on cooling costs. Air is more expensive to keep cool than a bag of flour. (An awful lot of food fits into a regular freezer.  If you don’t have room for a deep freeze, prioritize. Meats fluctuate in price considerably. A freezer full of rock bottom priced meat is a good investment. Brown hamburger, add the spices and sauce and you have dinner almost ready to pull out of the freezer.)
  • Use the bathtub: a dirty laundry baskets fits perfectly. The pile of clothes is out of sight but easy to get to.
  • Decorate with storage: Jars full of beans, rice or honey add a cute country charm. Hang your child’s cutest outfits from pegs on the wall.
  • 5 gallon buckets of grain double as sturdy movable stools for a toddler.
  • Fill the trunk: Light weight sports equipment, an umbrella stroller and the return/donate box fit well.

What other places do you store items?

Photo by Eva Schuster

Simplify the Children’s Wardrobes

“He was clad rather shabbily (but, as it seemed, more owing to his mother’s carelessness than his father’s poverty) in… very wide and short trousers, shoes somewhat out at the toes, and a chip-hat, with the frizzles of his curly hair sticking through its crevices.”

Many years later, Hawthorne’s description of “the little urchin” in House of the Seven Gables lives fresh in my mind.

None of us want to be that careless mother. Thankfully, it no longer takes the average mom hours with a needle in hand to make enough shirts to last her son through the summer.

Our problem is generally quite different: an over abundance.

As moms, the goal is simple: to start the morning in clean clothes. (Who can vouch for them after an hour at the park?!) You don’t need a dresser full of clothes or half a dozen pairs of shoes to accomplish this!

In fact, a simple wardrobe makes it easier to keep the children presentable. Have you ever stared blankly at a full closet wondering “What in the world should they wear?” By limiting the selection to a few durable outfits you (and they) like, when morning rolls round you don’t have to wade through a heap of clothes to find something appropriate. And matching.

Too many clothes is most American’s problem. Why not hand the excess on to someone who really needs?

Two simple questions help determine how many outfits your child needs to avoid “urchin status” and keep the wardrobe manageable.

How many messy is your child? My toddler can easily go through two or three outfits a day (and sons are, reportedly, even messier), but usually it is more like one to two outfits daily.

How often do you do laundry? Of course, if it isn’t dirty, don’t wash it! There’s nothing wrong with wearing the same outfit two days in a row.

With those two questions in mind (and using  need in the loosest sense possible) what clothes does your child need to be presentable, cute and clean?

This list works for us:

  • Dress clothes: Two or three outfits.
  • Everyday clothes: Seven or eight outfits.
  • Pajamas: In the summer a clean t-shirt and shorts work great. Then in the morning they’re set to play. In the winter a couple warm snugly pairs are nice.
  • Shoes: dress shoes and a pair for everyday play (if they’re neutral all the better!)
  • Socks and undies: a 8-10 pairs of  socks for every day and a couple pairs of nice socks… and about twenty pairs of underwear if you’re potty training!
  • For girls: Hair bands, ribbons and bows. The simplest difference between “urchin-like” and presentable is simply making sure hair isn’t covering the eyes.
  • Summer fun: Swimwear, “wet shoes” (we LOVE crocs!) and a sunhat or two.
  • Winter warmth: Jacket, gloves, hat and winter boots.

Another way to keep it simple if you have boys and girls is to gravitate towards neutrals. I’m all for masculine boys and feminine girls, but coats and play sandals, underwear and everyday socks don’t need to be covered in dolls or trucks. Leather, tan, chocolate, or any shade of green works for well for either gender.

What works for you?

photo by Siewlan

Thriving in Small Places: the Nursery

Just before sitting down to continue this series, as I got Rosalind ready for her nap, she asked “Why don’t we have a little house?” She pressed her fingers together to make an ant’s sized home, then spread her arms wide, “We have a bi-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-g house. Right?”

Yes, it is a big house.

Compared to what we need, our home is big. Compared to 90% of the world, our home is big. Compared to the homes that many are grateful for, ours is a mansion.

Some days children have as much to teach us as we them, don’t they?

Now that we have established the fact that my title is false, this is how our big nursery works for us.

Keep the floor space clear: Avoid big bulky toys and focus on a simple selection of toys that store well and keep children entertained for hours. Duplos, dress up clothes and puzzles slide under the bed or fit in a toy chest easily. This leaves most of the room open for actually playing.

Stick with a simple wardrobe: Determine what you need to keep your children in clean clothes and then don’t stuff the closet and dresser with extra. A simple selection of quality outfits you (and the munchkins) like makes getting them dressed easy, keeps the clothes manageable and doesn’t take up much room!

Go outside: It’s more fun and healthy than staying cooped up inside. A game of tag or afternoon at the park doesn’t take an inch of space in a small (or bi-i-i-i-i-i-g) bedroom.

Stick with a neutral theme: At least if it’s a “nursery.” Trains, teddy bears or plaids in neutral colors work well for sons and daughters. Rosalind’s room was green and pink until William came along. Simply moving the pink to just around her bed and adding in chocolate as an alternate accent made it much more boy friendly (not that he really cares yet!)

What do you do to make the nursery more practical?

Part of Frugal Friday at Life as Mom

Photo by Eva Schuster

P.S. This weekend I’m finishing the switch from “girl’s room” to nursery, and will have before and after pictures up next week!