Archive for September, 2009

Slight addiction starting…

Ok, confession time. I have a slight addiction starting… TO FELTING! Ugh my god I love it. I have made two hats one for Bay one to sell. Check em’ out:

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This one is for sale. I think it would be a 3-6 mos but I need to try it oun Bay to be sure.

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Top Ways We Save Moola.

One of my favorite blogs did a blog post about cutting down on waste. It inspired me to talk about the top 5 ways we save money in our home. I hope this encourages you to share your tips!

As I have now been home for 8  months( wow,  has it been 8 months ?)  I have had the opportunity to reconnect with home life and really take the time to take a look at our budget.

Top 5 Ways We Save Money

1) Green Cleaning:

About a year ago I purchased a mega bottle of Simple Green cleaner for my home. I am still working on it. I think the bottle cost me $8? I use a vinegar and water mixture for sterilizing toys. I also have a few Seventh Gen, Sun & Earth and Caldrea products from sales and coupons.

We have put a serious dent in our paper towel buying by using rags made of my husband’s old undershirts. Cut em’ up, bleach em’ out and use em’. This was one of our New Year’s resolutions and we really don’t miss them. I do keep a roll in the house for puppy accidents or guests ( even though I always offer up a clean rag for them. )

2) Cooking

We cook every night. If we don’t, we don’t eat. Easy as that. I can not remember the last time we ordered out. It’s difficult cooking for a vegetarian, a meat eater and a baby eating solids but somehow I get it done. Cooking in not only saves loads it’s much healthier in the long run.

I make a menu every two weeks ( conincides with paychecks) and plan what we are going to make. I use leftovers and try not to be wasteful.

If you do opt to eat out try Restaurant.com for discounted giftcards.

3)redbox:

Top movies for $1 a night- enough said. Enter code BREAKROOM or DVDONME for free rentals. ( FYI- They only work once per card.) Sign up for their weekly newsletter to recieve  more free codes.

4) Cloth Diapers:

As you know we cloth diaper. It doesn’t take up as much time as one would think. I do a load every 2-3 days. I was using regular, non-green ( gasp!) laundry detergent but I recently switched to a natural homemade blend. ( Just call me Mrs. Duggar) a great recipe recommended by a fellow mom.

The investment in cloth diapers was a bit hairy but we do save by not having to purchase as many disposeables. I keep one pack of disposables in the house just incase we run out of cloths and its laundry day.

One way to save on creating your diaper stash is buying diapers secondhand. I would say that we have apromixatley 40% secondhand cloths. Check your local Craigslist or DiaperSwappers.

5) Making Gifts:

I always say my husband is the luckiest SOB I have ever met because he has not had to purchase a gift for anyone in the last 7 years. For Christmas last year we gave out hand stamped muslin cedar bags and small glass herb jars filled with organic French herbs.  They were a hit and were very inexpensive to assemble.The year before we took Mason jars and planted paperwhite bulbs with river rocks. Everyone loved that gift.  T Kids birthdays I make T-Shirts with cupcakes or bibs from ROBAY STUDIO.

BONUS) Water, water everywhere…. DRINK IT.

We have saved hundreds by elimnating juice and soda from our house! We drink water all the time. Over the summer we did splurge on some lemonade here and there but for the most part water is number one. No calories and best of all its virtually FREE. We installed a PUR water filter on our tap. Opt for the one that takes out 99% of pharmaceuticals.

6) Coupons ( We call them ‘Coups’ to make them sound a little more fun 😉

My mother did coupons when I was a wee little one and I always dreaded Sunday because she used to make me cut them. ( Can’t wait til Bay is old enough!) I recently have rediscovered the power of these magical pieces of paper. You cut them out and it saves you DOLLAR BILLS. Really they do.

The kicker is you have to get coups for what you actually use. I just put ink in our printer and have started printing them online. It’s important to call your stores and see if they accept them. Most do.

Last week I did a test to see how much using printed coups could really save me. Here’s the loot:

IMG_1907Cost for this shopping trip: $7.08

(2) Healthy Choice Meals priced at $2.50 used two $2 off coups=.50$ each

Nature Source Bathroom Cleaner priced at 2.99 used one Target $1 off coup + a manufacturers coup for $1 off. =$.99

Up & Up Target brand disenfecting wipes priced at 1.99 used a Target $1 off coup =$.99

* Note I usually don’t buy these but the world has gotten even germier. I keep them in the car and use after the library and grocery shopping.

Whole Wheat Pasta Priced at 1.19 used one$1 off coup=$1.38 for two!

Chef Michael’s Dog Food Products, used a few buy one get one coups plus a few free coups.

* I usually buy Trader Joes canned but these were a great deal!

Silk Soy Milk priced at $2 used a $.50 coup=$1.50

As you can see I saved a lot of $$$. I am so excited to do grocery shopping this week with our printed coups!

Now I ask you , what are your tips? How does your family or household save cash?

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Upping the Creative Anty

Still sick. Poor little Bay is sick too! We had a good weekend though, made the most of it. Swimming has begun again and they are a bunch of energy filled  little ones!

We had the opportunity to go to Tower Hill in Boylston. They were celebrating one of their directors I believe and admisson was FREE! We were so excited to take Bay there. Here are some photos from the trip:

IMG_1846 Beautiful Fountain in the Atrium

IMG_1850Cherub Statue in the main Garden

IMG_1875Fountain Sculpture

IMG_1881Buddha’s Hand

IMG_1851Top: Meyer Lemon Tree Bottom: Lime Tree

As you can see it is a beautiful place. These few photos don’t do it justice. The weather was amazing.

I finally finished some shower gifts. Can’t post photos as the mom to be reads the blog 😉 but I made the happy couple some beautiful much needed accessories for baby. Still shoe making but slowly. Things have been moving very slowly the past few weeks.

We finally put ink in our printer and I will now become a complete coupon whore. I have been dabbling with the  local paper but printables, well they offer another world of couponing. I have been reading a number of blogs on the subject- most based out west, coincidence? I think not.  I have been learning about how to properly shop at CVS, Walgreens and all the other stores. I think I get it and over the next few weeks I am determined to get more for my dollar while still maintaining our healthy eating style.  I’ll keep you posted…

Off to bed. Lets pray my cough is gone by tomorrow.

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When life gives you lemons…Make Shoes.

My little one went to the library this week and all the kids were wearing shoes. It was a crisp fall day so I could see why. There my little Baylen sat, shoeless.  I looked at him and said , ” Well kid, money is tight and you don’t even walk yet. When you are old enough Mama will buy you the best shoes money can buy.” He looked back at me as if to say, ‘ Screw you, I need some new Robeez.’ That little look launched me into a creative spin of course and I found a great pattern for shoes. Tada:

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My husband( my dear sweet patient husband) made the trek with me to Joann’s today to buy some fabric for Bay’s shoes. He got into it, dodging all the crazy quilters with our bolts of fabric. We decided on this really cute robot print lined with red and smoky grey cordoroy soles ( mostly because leather was out of our price range.) We also bought a green mod print I adore and a fall orange for another pair. We spent about $8.00 and went home happy.  I have enough for more pairs too!

I spent all night making these shoes. I lie, we ate dinner and made lactation cookies. Total time maybe 3 hours- but I was watching tv too. Ugh, I forgot photos of the cookie  process, but I am sure you get it. Oatmeal cookies with brewers yeast, flax meal and of course oatmeal. Here’s the finished product:

IMG_1779I have been bitching about our lack of funds but I have to say I have become ridiculously resourceful. It’s a better life this living simply and we are better for it. I do miss getting a pedi and buying shoes but hey, I get to be with Bay all day and that is payment enough. And Hey-  I can say I MADE shoes?! Who else can do that. Elves…

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Now they have thought of everything!

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Well hello blog, how have you been?! Its been a while.

So Bay is officially 7 months and practically to the day a friend came by. Ugh. I feel like garbage. Really I do.I have been petrified about my milk supply plummeting with the return of this dear friend so I sought some advice from a fabulous group of women on the Boston Nesties board.

Prescription? Cookies. Lactation cookies that is. No, not cookies made with breastmilk. Wow, if only I could have cookies for a headache. This weekend I will be making my first batch of Lactation Cookies! They contain oatmeal, brewers yeast and flax- all things to keep the milk flowing so to speak.  Very excited!  People swear by these things. I’ll be sure to take photos!

Its been a busy few weeks with ROBAY kicking off again. We are working on getting into a few stores locally. Plus, I have been sewing like a mad woman for some upcoming showers.

I took some time out for me today and made my first homemade banana bread. Came out awesome! SO yummy with a cup of tea. I was in heaven. Sorry no pictures.

Today, well yesterday as its 12, was 9/11. 8 years ago I was sitting in my dorm room and the world changed in a second. I have been thinking a lot about college recently and how the event rocked our lives. My prayers to those who lost their lives that day, the courage that came from it all and the families who still grieve. We have to work together to make this world  a peaceful place for generations to come.

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Kids Green Clean Kit

We have had a TON of birthdays over the past few months and I was a little sick of painting shirts. My husband’s niece loves to clean and loves to be green so I thought, why not make her a cleaning kit!  It was super inexpensive to put together and really came out quite nice. Would make a lovely housewarming gift too!

I hit up my local dollar store for some items and was able to find some great spray bottles and a widemouth plastic container. You can also use recycled materials just be sure to remove the labels. ( think baby food jars, salsa containers, even yogurt cups!– remember this is a GREEN gift!) You could even spray paint lids to make it more matching. Opt for a color theme to make your kit look put together. I chose silver and green of course.
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1)  I borrowed a book from the library on green cleaning for the project.  I chose a toy cleaner, multi-surface and a sink & tub cleaner. ( Tried to think, what would kids actually want to clean…) I copied the recipes onto index cards and laminated them with a laminating kit I purchased for around $5. ( Michael’s and AC Moore carry them+ remember their weekly coupons!)

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2) Label your containers. I used laminate at first but they kept peeling off so I used packing tape as a last resort.

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3) Choose accessories: I included 2 celluose sponges( $1.00), A small pump bottle of Dr. Bronners Castile Soap( Pump $1.00, soap was from my home), A spatula to mix cleaners ($1.00), reuseable cleaning cloths ($1.00)  all in a nice galvanized bucket I snagged at Goodwill ( $2.99). I crumpled up newspaper to give the items some height. ( The newspaper can also double as a window wiper with the toy cleaner!)

IMG_16754) Fill your containers! I chose to make a batch of the cleaners so the child  could start cleaning right away. I also included a small jar of borax, castile soap and a box of baking soda so that she could mix a cleaner. The recipes for green cleaning usually involve items you already have in your home i.e. vinegar.

IMG_16785) Assemble your items in the bucket or basket  and it is ready to give. This is a wonderful gift for all ages. Many people are intimidated about green cleaning but these simple recipes show that it can be done. ( And is cheaper!)

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