Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Making The Clothes You Have Into The Clothes You Want

Years ago, when I was first getting into teaching, I bought this lace cardigan to make some of my dresses work appropriate.  Unfortunately, it was the dumbest cardigan ever, in that the button was placed in a totally ridiculous position, & essentially covered up nothing.  It hung in the back of my closet for years & only for me to occasionally pull it out, try it on, &  become disgusted, again, with the ridiculous placement of button, & hideously large, accompanying button hole.

Finally, it occurred to me, that if the button & huge button hole were what bothered me, why not fix the problem?  I sewed the button hole shut, used a seam ripped to rip off the button, & had a somewhat close version of the cardigan I'd always hoped to have.  The neck is still a little odd for my liking, but for now, it's a vast improvement from the random button.  Sometimes, a little creative thinking, & a fresh perspective, is all it takes to make something new again. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Simple Way To Say Thank You

Last week we were hit hard by a stomach flu, and by hit hard, I mean essentially annihilated.  During that time, two dear friends dropped off some get well supplies for us, so I wanted to find a way to say thank you. 

Fortunately, two of our rose bushes are in bloom, so I put the clippings in jars I saved from candles, & the bouquets came together beautifully.  The notes are Hallmark & I got the box for $0.35 at our scratch & dent store!  They're so cheery & I love the lined coordinating envelopes.

I was pleased that I was able to use things from our home to make such pretty little thank yous, especially for such deserving people. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

DIY Foaming Body Wash

After pulling out a new bottle of body wash, inspiration hit, & I decided to have a go at making foaming body wash.  Much like foaming hand soap or dish soap, this helps your soap last longer & save some cash. 

Simply take your chosen your body wash & an empty foaming soap bottle, 

Pour between 1/4 and 1/3 full of body wash, fill the remainder with water.

Combine, & voila, you have foaming body wash, which works just as well as the regular stuff.  This is quite possibly one of the easiest ways to go green & save some green, I highly recommend it.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Today's Shopping Trip

Several weeks ago, we traveled to Iowa, & I got some Earth's Best diapers for Harper girl.  Though I love Earth's Best, the diapers just did not agree with her.  Harper's bottom was absolutely covered in blisters & they didn't improve for a week, even after returning to cloth diapers.  It was horrible.  Because the reaction was so severe I called the company, & they were kind enough to send 6 free food product coupons, & 2 $0.55 coupons. 

Today, the girls & I went to Toys R Us to return the second, unopened package of diapers, & to use my coupons to stock up on baby food for our upcoming month of travel.  

Here's my haul:  3 EB organic puffs, 1 box of  EB organic cereal, 2 boxes of EB organic teething biscuits, 6 Earth's Best organic pouches, & 6 Babies R Us baby food pouches, $29.84 full retail. 

After coupons the total was $11.18, but I had the credit from the returned diapers, so I only paid $1.35! Not too shabby! 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Frugal Accomplishments Of The Past Two Weeks

Things have been a little chaotic around here as we've celebrated 3 birthdays, Mother's Day, & are preparing for our upcoming anniversary.  As a result, we've been out of our regular schedule, so this is a list of my frugal accomplishments over the last two weeks. 

Our haul
  •  Our major accomplishment was strawberry picking.  We went to a local farm & hand picked 21 lbs.  It was a wonderful time as a family, Harper was very content in her stroller, & Emerson was quite the little picker.  After the work we were able to see the animals on the farm, which the girls just loved.  
  • From the strawberries I froze a gallon whole, sliced, packed, & froze 16 cups of strawberries, & made 10 jars of freezer jam. & a lemon scented strawberry mascarpone trifle.  The only down side was my plastic huller broke, so I had to replace it.  Fortunately $1.99 bought a super cute metal huller with a strawberry on the handle. 
  • I saved the mushy parts of the strawberries & their collective juices for smoothies
Emerson & JC
  • We ate out for  JC's birthday, but ate at lunch time & used coupon, which feed our family of four for $12.
  •  I took the girls to library for Toddler Time
  • We took the girls to a free carnival thrown by Parents as Teachers, a program in which we participate.
  • We ate dinner at church on Wednesday
  • I sorted through hand-me-downs for the girls & added the next sizes to their closets.  Each time I do this I am blown away by the generosity of our families, and feel so blessed to be able to pull out clothes to fit our girls needs. 
Little donkey at the farm
  • I hung many loads of wash on the line, as well as one load inside 
  • I made a batch of laundry soap
  • I cleaned out & organized the freezer
  • We ate bagels & bread we got for a dollar at the bakery outlet
  • I rescued batteries from random items in the house to be reused in a few of the girls' things.
  • I made foaming body wash
  • I gave our teething Harper girl Tylenol we got as a free sample from the pediatrician
  • JC cleaned out our garage & we pulled out stuff for our upcoming garage sale
  • I made rags from a holey pair of pants 
  • I mended a sweater & reattached the handle of Emerson's favorite purse
  • I got a free pair of undies from Victoria Secret for my birthday
  • I used a $10 any $10 purchase to get two t-shirts for $4 
  • I sent away for some free samples & received some in the mail
  • We lost our Roku remote, which was not good, but we found a FREE app, so our phones now double as remotes
  •  I walked to church for choir practice instead of driving
  • I received my first All You magazine from a subscription I earned with Coke Rewards.  

Hope you all have been well & have been finding ways to help your pocket books & the Earth.  Have a good week!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Make It Do: Creating a Shaded Child's Wagon

We've been spending a lot of time outdoors, & it has been absolutely wonderful being able to enjoy some sunshine & watch the girls play together.  The only unfortunate thing is our backyard doesn't get much shade, so while I'm hanging laundry & Harper is sitting in our little utility wagon, she's basically roasting in the sun. 


Rather than go in search of a more child friendly wagon, I decided to rig up an umbrella on the wagon in a rather ghetto fabulous way.  One rubber band, a large twist tie, & a safety pin later, the umbrella was secure, & the girls had some serious shade in their wagon.

Of course, by the time I got the wagon all arranged, Harper decided she wanted to get out and walk. Oh well, at least it will be ready when the next load needs to be hung! 

Monday, April 29, 2013

99 Tips & Tricks To Make Life Easier

I've shared a condensed version of this, but this is the mother load of clever little tips & tricks.  Read it, bookmark it, & revisit.  I'm certain you'll find something new with every read.  Enjoy! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ghetto Fabulous Flip Flop Fix

Bug's a little particular when it comes to her shoes, so after hearing her whine that her flip flops were indenting her heels, one too many times, I figured some action was necessary. 

I simply hacked off the elasticized portion with scissors.  A two second fix, & now she has two pairs of sandals she'll actually wear. 

She was so thrilled with the results, she insisted I take a picture & then she ran around the shouting, "I love my pwip-pwops!"  Who knew?!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Happy 1st Birthday Harper Girl!

Our little Happy turned 1 on the 14th & we had an absolutely wonderful day.  

Harper girl showing she's one, sitting in the rocking chair I had as a child, & wearing a beautiful Baby Gap dress I got at a garage sale for $1-- my idea of a perfect trifecta.

We woke up, went to church, Harper screamed her head off in the nursery (that part was not wonderful), came home & had a lovely party with good friends, my gram, & Aunt Sandra. 

The only problem with having the party immediately after church was Harper was completely exhausted, so while we had pizza, Harper girl snoozed away.   

Eventually she woke up & really enjoyed herself.  She LOVED her cake & played with all of her presents just as soon as Emerson opened them.  

 I made Harper's cake & bear print cupcakes, & was pretty pleased with how they turned out.  Aside from our usual, homemade decorations, I decorated our mantle & china cabinet in the dining room with bears, bear books, & the boxed set of Winnie The Pooh books we gave Harper. 

We gave Harper a "Harper sized" doll &  I knitted it an accompanying doll blanket that matches the blanket I knitted her before she was born (pictured above).

It was a beautiful day to celebrate our happy Harper girl & we are certainly blessed to call her ours!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

14 Things You Should Almost Always Buy Used

Oh, to be able to own a vintage Mustang!
Whenever possible I like to search for a used option, before investing in a new product.  Buying used tends to be much more economical, not to mention, it prevents the use of new materials.  If you're a bit leery of buying used, Money Talks News compiled a list of 14 Things You Should Buy Used, many of which are worth serious consideration.  Read on here.   

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Use It Up: Getting the Most Out of Your Prescription

Our winter, & now early Spring have been filled with more sickness than I have ever expected.  Last week Harper was diagnosed with her FIFTH ear infection in 3 months & Emerson is currently running a fever.  As a result, I've had gobs of prescriptions & meds to dispense to the girls, but there always comes a point when I can no longer fit the dropper in the bottle & still need to finish the prescription.  

I've found that the best methods are to either a) drain a single dose into a medicine cup, then use the dropper or, b) finding that process rather tedious, dump the entire contents into a glass baby food jar, which allows the use of every drop. 

Not very exciting, but super effective.  And that my friends, is about only frugal thing I can accomplish with two sick children. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Extend the Life of Your Shower Curtain

I usually buy our shower curtain liners for a dollar, but that doesn't mean I don't want them to last as long as possible.  Once our curtain gets to the point that mildew has taken over, rather than spending ages scrubbing, I simply trim the curtain.

Rather than cut it perfectly, I bunch the curtain, find the stopping point of the mildew, & cut. 

While the curtain is a little jagged it's no worse for wear & this process can be repeated until the curtain is too short to stay in the tub.  Also, if a hole at the top rips, simply use a hole punch to punch another hole.  Using these methods, I only have to replace our liners once a year, saving money & saving trash.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tis A Gift To Be Simple

I recently finished knitting a baby blanket for my sister.  I love knitting a baby blanket, with each stitch I pray for a long, happy life, & pour out all my love for that sweet little baby.  I find it so encouraging to think of the baby's future. 
I also feel that covering up homemade gifts, of any kind, with wrapping paper is a crime.  Instead, I prefer a simple ribbon & gift tag; in this case I made the gift tag from the baby shower invitation. 

Straightforward wrappings present the love & craftsmanship that went into the gift.  In my opinion, when the gift is homemade, simple wrappings are definitely the way to go.     

Monday, April 1, 2013

Saving Money on Baby Food

The vast majority of the time I make my own baby food,  & while homemade is much more environmentally friendly & economical, while preparing for travel, I often have to buy expensive baby food. 

Several weeks prior to our trip I made a phone call to Beech Nut, to request one of their toddler kits, which includes coupons for free product.  Upon telling the super friendly customer service representative that I had filled out the online form multiple times with no results, she offered to send me 2 of both the toddler kit & newborn kit
The kits came promptly & with the coupons I was able get several boxes of baby cereal, 2 boxes of teething biscuits, & 4 jars of baby food, for FREE! 

In addition to the free Beech-nut, I stopped by Big Lots & picked up some Dole Squish'ems.  They're 100% fruit, and at $1.80 a box, which makes each pouch only $0.45; a phenomenal price. 

Shopping smart, using coupons, & seeking opportunities for free products certainly can reduce the costs of store bought baby food, though for me, nothing beats feeding our little one from scratch, & not filling up the landfill. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cute Kids Room Organizers

Any parent knows that kids stuff can become quite overwhelming rather quickly.  Here are some seriously awesome & functional ideas to help organize the rooms of the children in your life.

Friday, March 8, 2013

This Week's Frugal Accomplishments

I got the idea for this post from The Prudent Homemaker Blog & I think it's just fabulous.  By the way check out her blog & website, they are so inspiring.

I called Amazon customer service after messing up a subscribe & save purchase & ended up getting $2 off & free 2 day shipping.

Harper has a pair of Wee Squeak shoes I bought from Goodwill that are missing a squeaker.  One phone call & the company is sending me multiple squeakers for FREE!

I redeemed my Beech-Nut free product coupons. (More on this later)

I made up two batches of cloth wipes.

When I ran out of pocket diapers & was too sick to do laundry, I used flat-fold diapers & covers instead of disposables. 

After not knowing what to do with some apple butter my gram canned, I found the perfect recipe, & made delicious apple butter muffins with Emerson. 

I cut some of Emerson's old onesies into undershirts & salvaged the tail for rags

I pulled out a pre-made batch of homemade laundry detergent.

We donated extras from our health & beauty stockpile to a local charity.

I cooked from scratch despite our home being plagued with sick little girls & a sick mama.

While the girls were sick I used free samples of Tylenol from the pediatrician & some cough drops I got as a manufacturer sample.

I sent away for a Olay Regenerist eye cream & a Pedialax sample.

I entered in codes at Kellogg's Family Rewards, Swagbucks, My Coke Rewards, & Pamper's Gifts to Grow.

I resisted the extreme temptation of shopping at our local Growing Kids sale.  I've gone to every sale held since I was pregnant with Emerson, but I looked around the house & we've got plenty for the girls, so I'm just going to rely on what we have or get creative to make the things we have work.  I've had to remind myself of this everyday though.  Sometimes it's not so easy to resist the temptation of bargains. 

What did you do to save money this week?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

How to Cut Your Food Budget in Half

Innumerable blog posts & books have been written claiming to cut grocery budgets in half, leading to copious redundancies on the subject.  This recent article is by far the best I've seen & is short & sweet.  If you are looking for simple solutions to cut your grocery budget read this Forbes article. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Spring has Sprung!

We had gorgeous weather today, & our happy Harper girl & I were able to hang the first set of sheets of 2013. 


Emerson enjoyed the daffodils on a recent trip to Texas, & back home, our trees & bushes are covered in buds.  I'm thrilled that our lenten season is flying by & my favorite season is so close I can smell it.  Here's hoping spring comes to your neck of the woods shortly!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cutting our Grocery Budget: Bread Edition

Over the last year I've been buying bread at The Dollar Tree.  They sell loaves of Natures Own whole wheat for, you guessed it, a dollar a loaf, which is a significant savings over regular prices.  There are only two problems with this:  1. I loathe making a special trips, so I only go after we've been to the pediatrician.  2.  The store doesn't consistently have bread, & can't predict when they'll receive it, so you have to get while the gettin's good.

Consequently, when I do find bread at the store, I buy at ton; a minimum of eight loaves at a time.  In order to prevent freezer burn & the bread drying out, I've figured out the optimum method for storage in the deep freeze.

I simply bag two loaves of bread at time, tie the ends of the bag, reverse the opening of said bag, & slip it into another grocery bag.  This keeps the bread fresh for several months & allows the bread to stack nicely & keep the freezer orderly.  Not only does this method prevent having the run to the grocery frequently, but it saves us several dollars per loaf.  Win win. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

18 Household Tips To Help You Get Through Life

I'm a sucker for a good list, especially one that provides ways to re-purpose common household items.  Quite a few of these were new to me, & many seem quite useful.  Check it out.  

Monday, February 25, 2013

Make It Do: Big Girl Undies In A Pinch

Once Emerson was potty trained, (Hallelujah!), I was shocked by the price of little lady underwear.  Even on clearance, underwear can run $2 or $3 a pair, which, in my opinion, is exploitation for the amount of cotton received.

While putting away laundry, the solution came upon me:  dress bloomers.  These underwear shaped little bloomers, which are designed to cover unsightly diapers are the perfect solution.  They run rather large, so I pulled out the 18 month bloomers & they are the appropriate size for our 3 year old Emerson. 

I just love solving a problem with things we already have!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentines Schmalentines

I personally hate Valentines Day.  I think it's a day of unrealistic expectations & consumer hokum.  That said, I'd really rather try to keep my cynicism to myself, so the girls are not jaded about Valentines day at the ripe ages of 3 years & 10 months.  

The girls & I spent the morning at our local library's toddler time, which is totally free (yeah!!), is filled with songs, books, a craft, & snack.   In addition to the regular festivities the library has a puppet show, which Harper loved, & Emerson enjoyed it despite her odd fear of all things mascot-esque.

We then headed to the craft room for delicious treats & the Valentine craft.

                                                Followed by loads of play,

checkers, & a little reading.  

How cute are these Baby Lit board books, by the way?!

After naps, the girls & I went outside & enjoyed the warm weather with some bubbles.

Once J.C. came home we had a  lovely family supper, followed by dancing around to our wedding video.

Not such a bad way to celebrate a holiday I'm not totally wild about.