Sunday, September 14, 2014

Free DIY Upcycle Art

I helped a friend Sue move & reorganize at her shop and in exchange she gave me some art canvases. These have no signatures and probably some older kids art work. Which means I can paint over them without ruining some works of art worth who knows what. 
I dug around our paint pile and found some water based primer and a old paint brush. 10 minutes later and we have a blank canvas. Free! 
Once dry I'm letting my twins paint till their hearts content. Can't wait to see what my little Picasso's do with these. 

Perfect project that cost me zero dollars and in return endless hours of fun and some beautiful art work. Talk about non consumerism! 

Big thanks to Sue! 

Friday, August 15, 2014

20 Things You Didn't Know About Me

1. I never plan anything. Why? Because I'm awful at it. My brain works in one mode and one mode only.  Anymore and it overloads.

2.  I'm 37 but act 15 and look 25.

3.  I'm a old school nerd when it comes to records.  I have 2 record players and many albums. Seriously nothing beats the sound of a record. Nothing.

4.  I don't eat raw carrots or apples. Its a texture thing. I will eat them cooked but keep those raw things away from me.

5.  Ive eaten steak 2 times in my life.  I don't get the hoopla about steak at all.  Its good but not worth $15+ a pound for.

6.  I wear flip flops 80% of the year and I live in Oregon.

7.  I love old things and this includes my husband. Just kidding he's only a year older than me. But a year is a year baby! From old kitchen items, furniture and even clothes.  LOVE IT!

8.  I'm addicted to liquid energy. MMMMM COFFEE!

9.  I'm just as in love with my husband as the day I laid eyes on him. Its pretty sickening to people.  Mostly our daughters.  Only when we make out in front of them.  In a week its our 15th wedding anniversary.

10.  Although I grew up pretty poor in a single mother household I can honestly say I never felt deprived at all.  My mama is and always has been the most amazing mother ever. Ever!

11.  My favorite juice is grape juice. Hands down.

12.  I rarely buy anything for myself.  Well unless you count sweet sweet handmade pottery I score in thrift stores.

13.  My best friends name is Dulcimer. Yes you read that correct. Dulcimer is an instrument.  She is the most beautiful person inside and out.

14.  When I was a kid I had pet rats, parakeets and a cactus.

15.  I am a half full glass kind of gal.

16.  I can't see at night. I'm blind. Even in my own home. Ive lost count how many times I have jammed my toes on furniture.

17.  Ive been the same size since middle school.  From shoe's to clothes nothing has changed.

18.  I'm a big chicken. No scary movies for me unless its real paranormal stuff which for some reason excites me and scares the pee out of me.

19.  I laugh till I cray. At a certain point my body says sure lets cry now.  AFV gets me every single week.

20.  I care too much. So much that I get anxiety about it. Mostly stuff that I have no control over like global warming, toxic chemicals and where the world is going to.  I'm afraid for my children but know if I continue to be a good example just one day maybe my kids will be the new green leaders and will keep the fight going.

Now share one thing about you that I don't know. Go!

Monday, August 4, 2014

How to Save Money on School Supplies

I have learned over the years many different ways to save money on school supplies.  Having four daughters you can just imagine how expensive it can be.  Maybe these tips can help you out. Enjoy!

At the end of the year teachers send home extra supplies that didn't get used and everything from the students desk they get to take home.  I empty all their backpacks and keep everything I know they will use again.  So here you can see we had plenty of left over pencils which came in handy. This year the teacher asked for 36 pencils for 4th graders which they share. Since I have twins this means I needed 74 pencils.  And can you believe it that I actually had that many? I did.  They are able to reuse scissors, calculators, pink erasers, pens, and pencil pouches. Woot! 

My next stop is to write down everything we didn't have at home onto a paper and head over to a thrift store.  Each of my twins needed a 1.5 inch binder and these easily can cost about $5 a piece.  I found 2 perfectly good binders for .99 cents and $1.99.  Saving myself  about $7 or so. Its recycling, its reusing and its saving me money. Woot!

Next after that we stopped by Office Max to get what I couldn't find at home or the thrift store.  4 folders at .25 cents each, 3 composition books on sale for $1 each, and pencil erasers for a penny a pack.  
We also needed spirals and it was a lesson for my girls in how to save $$.  My oldest was pointing out just to buy a pack of 10 for $3.50.  Yes a good price but we don't need 10 we just needed 4.  I was going to wait to buy these till I found a good price but I was lucky enough to see they were selling them single and a great price.  40 cents each! So instead of spending $3.50 I only spent $1.60.  Yes its a small amount of savings but its savings! 

Once I looked around and things were too pricey for other stuff I left and headed to Target which is in the same parking lot.  Tissue is always a must and only $1.39.  Sharpies were $1.99 (unlike Office Max which were $1.79 each!). Glue sticks .39 cents each, crayons .50 cents each (Office Max $1 each) and colored pencils .99 cents each.  
My girls have eczema so they cannot use any antibacterial hand sanitizer because they break out in a rash and itch.  Last year the school wanted hand liquid but I talked to the teacher and explained our issues.  I ended up buying toxic free hand soap for the whole class and replaced it anytime it ran out.  This year they want wipes and even the "green" ones have some not so good ingredients.  So I headed on over to the baby section and found these Seventh Generation wipes that will work just as well as the ones they wanted us to buy.  They were $2.49 which is around the same price as the mainstream bleach kinds.  

And here is what I came up with.  Everything the school list ask for but at a big price savings.

Tissue- $1.39
Composition books-$3
Spiral Notebooks-.80
Glue sticks-.39
Colored Pencils-.99
Binders-.$1.50 (different prices so I made it even)
4 Sharpies- .99 (2 we had & were free)
Pencils-FREE from last year
Pink erasers-FREE from last year
Scissors-FREE from last year
Calculator-FREE from last year
Zipper Pouch-FREE used ones we found
Ball Point Pens-FREE we had them

Total $13.06

Could of cost us this much more
Average prices I saw today

Pencils would easily cost us $6
2 Sharpies-$1.99
Zipper Pouch-$3
Ball Point Pens-.99
New Binder-$4.99

Total $23.95
Add the total above and your looking at $37.04 for one kid.
That's $74.02 for my twins. YOWZERS!

For my older girls who are in middle and high school we don't have to buy anything just yet.  They do have a suggested list on their school website but honestly they never use any of those items so we don't buy them.  We instead wait till they go to school the first couple of days and my girls ask what they specifically need for the class and then we buy those items.

Lets not forget this doesn't even include backpacks, lunches, clothes and shoes.  For us we reuse our backpacks and lunch boxes each year.  I buy fabric that's good quality so I know it will last many years.

So how do you save money on school supplies? Share in the comments below and lets inspire each other!

Friday, August 1, 2014

No Fuss No Muss Clean Face plus DIY Skin Toner

For some reason memories of me in high school reminds me of clowns.  I admit it. I used make up.  At fist I dabbled and then it turned into a full blown problem.  It was awful just awful. I'm sorry everyone from high school.  I mean really.

These days my skin routine is pretty simple.  Just 3 items! 

1.  Good Soap made by Allafia sold by Whole Foods 3 for $6. Comes packaging free (love!) and is made somewhat local in Washington.  Coconut is my personal favorite but they have many other scents and even one unscented. 

2.  Skin Toner which I make. Keep reading to find out how I make mine.

3.  Acure Argan Oil that I purchased at Whole Foods for $10 on sale.  I bought this a year ago and I still have half a bottle.  This stuff goes far! Its also multi use which I love.  Adds shine to your hair and makes your skin feel amazing but not oily.  

My no fuss no muss clean routine

1.  In the shower wash your body and face with Allafia Good Soap.  For extra cleaning use a wash cloth but for sensitive skin just rinse with water from the shower.  Need some extra cleansing? Use a tad bit of baking soda in your hands with the soap to scrub your face. 

2.  Once out of the shower/bath you can pat dry your face with the towel.

3.  Spray your face with DIY Skin Toner.  It will dry when you get dressed.  

4.  Get your hands wet and add a couple of drops of Acure Argan oil.  Rub all over your face completely including your neck.  If your hair is a bit frizzy also rub your hands on your hair.  It adds such a beautiful shine without making your hair oily. Just don't add drops to your hair directly or it will do that.  Tiny tiny TINY bit will do ya.  

5. That's it! 

DIY Toner

What you need:
Witch Hazel
Glass spray bottle 
All can be purchased at Whole Foods or New Seasons (or any natural store)

Fill the bottle half way up with witch hazel. Fill the other half with rose water.  Done!

Note: Now days you can find rose water/witch hazel in one bottle but I don't think its smells as lovely as when you mix it yourself.  Plus you can use the rose water to spritz on your face at bedtime. Its lovely and feels amazing. 

As you can see I have no skin issues at all.  I get the usual pimples when my monthly visitor comes but that's how it goes. Otherwise this is how I look.  I wear no make up because I have no skin issues to cover.  I'm not saying this is the miracle cure or anything its just what works for me.

NOTE: Again I'm non profit and these products are things I love and purchased with my own money. All links are not affiliate and are simply here to show you what they are. I'm not getting paid to write this or promote these products. I just love them.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

DIY Zucchini Bread

Whats a girl to do with a huge zucchini that mysteriously showed up in my garden today? Zucchini bread of course!  I really don't get where these things hide because I'm pretty good at harvesting every few days and very well I might add.  3 times now these sneaky zucchini have hidden on me and then WHAM there they are. WHHHAATT???? I mean really. 

Zucchini Bread

Preheat oven at 350 degrees

2 cups of all purpose flour  ( I used Arrowhead Mills organic flour that I found on sale at Grocery Outlet $1.49 a bag which is a steal of a deal so I bought a case of them)

1 tsp cinnamon (although you can add more if you like. I'm not a huge cinnamon fan)

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 salt

1 cup sugar (I use Wholesome Sweeteners which I buy from Costco for $11 a 10 lb bag. WAY cheap this way. Wholesome Sweeteners are my favorite and only brand of sugar I buy. Ive worked with them many times over the years and they rock! )

3/4 cup of oil ( I used olive oil)

3 large eggs (1 egg from Mary, 1 egg from Cleo and 1 from Gladys. I love them so!)

2 tsp vanilla 

3 cups shredded zucchini (from my garden today)

Butter and flour your cake pan or if you use a stoneware pan then no need to do that.  First 5 ingredients mix in a large bowl.  In a medium bowl beat sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla.  Mix in zucchini in this mixture as well.  Once mixed well you can add this wet mix into the dry mix.  

Pour batter into your standard sized cake pan.  Bake about 40-45 minutes or until a fork is poked in and comes out clean.  Let cool and enjoy.  

And as usually you can add anything you want or alter as you will.  Don't have regular sugar then use brown sugar.  Just have whole wheat flour then just use that.  Get creative and have fun with this! 

$$ saving tip-Buy in bulk whenever possible! Its cheaper usually and no packaging to toss or recycle. Plus any chance I can show off my food in mason jars i'm all over that. lol.  But serious. I'm a little obsessed with mason jars.....

I found this recipe here and altered it to my likings. It called to bake for 1 hr 20 minutes but mine didn't take that long.  t love Epicurious recipes!  Go take a peek and see how you can alter it to your likings. Life is way more fun when you change things up. 

NOTE:I'm a non profit blogger and I do this all in my free time. I get no money from any of these companies I just share what I love.  Links are not affiliates! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

DIY Lemonade Blueberry Muffins

Today my friend Theresa let us pick her blueberries/lemonade blueberries and I put them to good use. Blueberry muffins can easily be a treat or a small breakfast. What I really love about this recipe is that there is very little sugar in them. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Blueberry Muffins

1 cup blueberries of any kind (I used blueberries and pink lemonade blueberries)
2 cups flour
3 tsp double-acting baking powder
1 tsp salt ( I used 1/2 tsp)
1 egg
1 cup milk (I used water)
6 tbsp melted shortening (I used olive oil)

Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix flour, baking soda, salt, 2 tbsp of sugar together in a bowl.  Beat egg till fluffy.  Add milk, shortening and egg to dry ingredients.  Only stir till mixed then stop.  Add blueberries and mix very little.  Fill cupcake papers.

Bake 25 minutes.

Optional: I sprinkled a bit of sugar on top along with some cinnamon.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Get your creative juices flowing!

With prices going up on just about everything its time to get creative.  Ive been trying for years to share how you can shop at Whole Foods and keep on a budget but the same old cliche happens. Whole Foods Whole Paycheck! Well to be fair yes you can spend your whole paycheck very easily.  But to be perfect honest you can do that in any store not just Whole Foods.  Its how you spend your money that determines if you stay on budget.  Instead of planning your meals then going shopping how about go shopping, buy whats in season and then do your planning? Let me give you a few examples.

I recently went to my local Whole Foods and made sure I would stick to organic and on sale.  So here you can see Organic Zucchini only $1.99.  I picked up 3 of them to use during this weeks dinners.  Spent only 2 smackaroos! Soon I won't have to buy because my zucchini plants are loaded with flowers. That will save me a bundle. 

Since the Organic Spinach was 2 for $4  I snagged myself two bundles.  This is a good sale and those bundles are pretty large.  Tonight's dinner will include a bundle of these.

And look at these! Organic Baby Bok Choy is so yummy! I took home about 4 of them only setting gem back $2.  Yup these will also be used in dinners or heck maybe even in scrambled eggs in the morning.  I'm drooling just thinking about these. 

What I really needed was fruit and was hoping to buy some apples. At $2.49 per pound (not in season here) they just weren't in the budget. These white nectarines will be just fine. Yes they are not organic but they are non sprayed and way better than fruit in big box stores.  I mean right?   I picked 5 medium ones and headed towards the next sale item.  By the way I didn't use one of those paper boxes or use a plastic bag because that's added weight to my bill.  Just put them in the cart because we wash our produce before we eat.  And besides plastic sucks!

Organic black plums? YES PLEASE!!! Again I picked up a few of these and plopped them gently into my cart as is no bag or paper box.  My girls are going to scream when they see these.  So plump and juicy.  Our plum tree isn't ready just yet but soon we will have a week or two of our own fresh organic plums for free! I'm sure I will find lots of ways to preserve them.  

And here here looky here! This is how I make budget friendly organic meals.  $1.39 is a fantastic price but did you know you can buy them for cheaper? Buy a case of them (12) and get an extra 10% off! When you feed a family of 6 like I do a case isn't a big amount ha ha.  I already have regular pasta so I picked up a case of these to stock up on.  So instead of paying $16.68 I only paid $15.  That's only $1.25 each!

So when it came to making dinner I brought out what I had bought earlier at the grocery store.  On the way home I also stopped by my local Grocery Outlet and picked up nitrate free salami for only $1.99 each.  Kept one out for dinner and the other 5 went into the freeze for a later meal.  

Now doesn't this look yummy? I boiled the noodles then drained.  In the empty pan I tossed in 2 minced cloves of garlic with some olive oil.  I then tossed in the recently rinsed spinach, the salami  and tossed the noodles back on.  On a medium heat I cooked it till the spinach till it wilted. Added salt and whalah! You have dinner.  Here's the break down.

Organic Pasta from Whole Foods $1.25
Organic Spinach from Whole Foods $2.00
Organic Garlic FREE from my garden
Nitrate Free Salami from Grocery Outlet $1.99

Total cost: $5.24
That fed 5 people making it $1.04 a person.
I even have left overs!

Now is that budget friendly enough for you? Now go to your local organic or natural grocery store or local Whole Foods and do this for yourself.  Be smart with your purchases and you can still stay on budget!  Just gotta get your creative juices flowing people.