Thursday, February 25, 2010

Evil cold sore beware, super Lysine to the rescue!

Friday morning I put my chap stick on (I am a little obsessed with Burt's Bee's chap stick) and my lip just didn't feel right. Almost like I was getting chapped lips on one spot of my lip. Years ago I was under a ton of stress and ended up getting a really really bad cold sore. I was working 30+ hrs a week nights, my twins were only 3 months old and I was still breastfeeding them, and was just plain stressed out. My little cold sore turned into this monster on my face and it took weeks for it to go away. Amazing just how bad stress can take on your body. Cold sores are the worst because you literally cannot cover it up with make up and no lipstick due to how painful they are. They are just plain evil!

So Friday morning I started to worry if I was getting a cold sore. Saturday morning I knew it was one and started to freak out because of my only one I had before that turned out to be horrible. I found a random sample of cold sore medication I had received in the mail. It tasted disgusting and was oily and plain yucky. So I head up to my local Whole Foods and asked my trusty lady over in the vitamins what she thought would work for a cold sore. On a side note, this lady is amazing. I really should get her name because I feel horrible for not knowing it. Anytime I go in and ask any questions, she has the answers. But back to my story, I had found the chap stick area and there was only one type of cold sore chap stick. It was called Super Lysine.  I asked my trusty friend if this was all they had to fight cold sores the natural way. I followed her down the aisle with thousands of pills and she brought me right over to L-Lysine Caps. First of all I was amazed how she even knew exactly where these were and then I was amazed how she even knew about every one of these thousands of pills. First thought was "I love you." I think I might of even told her that.

L-Lysine Caps
What is this exactly? Well its complicated but I will try to put it into a short explanation.Lysine, or L-lysine, is an essential amino acid. That means it is necessary for human health but the body can't manufacture it; lysine has to be gotten from food. Amino acids like lysine are the building blocks of protein. Lysine is important for proper growth, and it plays an essential role in the production of carnitine, a nutrient responsible for converting fatty acids into energy and helping to lower cholesterol. Lysine appears to help the body absorb calcium, and it plays an important role in the formation of collagen, a substance important for bones and connective tissues including skin, tendon, and cartilage.
Most people get enough lysine in their diet, although athletes, vegans who don't eat beans, and burn patients may need more. Not enough lysine can cause fatigue, nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite, agitation, bloodshot eyes, slow growth, anemia, and reproductive disorders. For vegans, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) are the best sources of lysine.  Some studies have found that taking lysine on a regular basis may help prevent outbreaks of cold sores. 

Dietary Sources:
Foods rich in protein are good sources of lysine. That includes meat (specifically red meat, pork, and poultry), cheese (particularly parmesan), certain fish (such as cod and sardines), nuts, eggs, soybeans (particularly tofu, isolated soy protein, and defatted soybean flour), spirulina, and fenugreek seed. Brewer's yeast, beans and other legumes, and dairy products also contain lysine.

Available Forms:
Lysine is available in tablets, capsules, creams, and liquids, and is usually sold in the L-lysine form. 

Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, dietary supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider.
Lysine in the diet is considered safe. High doses have caused gallstones and a rise in cholesterol levels in animals.
People with kidney or liver disease should ask their doctor before taking supplemental lysine.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take supplemental lysine without talking to their doctor


That day I started taking the pills and using the chap stick as directed. One pill each night before bed and chap stick reapplied all day long. The chap stick coated my lip completely which allowed me to eat anything I wanted. With the other nasty kind, I had to put it on constantly and it was a super thin layer so it would come off any time I drank or ate. And I would taste the nasty stuff. Yucky! With the L-Lysine chap stick I had none of that. Its a thick chap stick filled with beeswax, vitamin E, L-Lysine, Echinacea extract, Goldenseal Extract, Tea Tree oil, Vitamin A & D,  and much much more. The cap has a hole in it so you can put some string on it to keep it around your neck. I thought that was a great idea. 

Was it worth it? Well the caps cost me $5.99 for 50 500 mg pills. Ive used maybe 7 of them. Worth the money because I can keep them and use them if I get another one. The Lysine chap stick was $6.50 and worth every penny! I was able to eat and drink as usual. In the first few days I kept some baby gum numbing pain gel with me because it was so painful. But the Lysine chap stick helped me out so much! So yes yes yes its so worth it!!!!!  Years ago I would just go and buy any product to help me out with any ailment. Those days are long gone. Its only all natural for myself and my family from now on. Next time you have a ailment, head on over to your local health store and start asking questions. Or try looking it up yourself. 
My favorite website for any ailment is You can find literally everything on there. I love it! Plus people rate it and tell you if it actually worked or warn you if it didnt. Thousands of people's testimonies. Check it out for yourself.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Synthetic Chemical Ingredients to be aware of

Did you know that according to the FDA, there are over 10,500 different ingredients that are used in cosmetic products, and more than 89 percent of those ingredients have never been evaluated for safety. I almost fell out of my chair when I read this. The agency's regulation for cosmetic ingredients is:" a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA." OMG is what I was saying thinking back on how much make up Ive used in my lifetime.
The FDA did limit the use of a few chemical ingredients in cosmetics. Why only 9? Who knows but here they are.
Halogenated salicylanilides
Methylene chloride
Hexachlorophene (HCP) (limited to 1%)
Mercury compounds (can only be used as a preservative in eye are cosmetics provided no other effective and safe preservative is available for use)
Chlorofluorocarbon propellants (prohibited in cosmetic aerosol products to protect the ozone layer)
Vinyl chloride & zirconium-containing complexes (banned only in aerosol cosmetic products)

Can you believe that European Union has banned over 1,000 ingredients that are suspected of giving you health problems? I think that the USA needs to learn a little from the European Union.

Although there are way more synthetic chemicals to list, there are 3 that are biggies.

This is used as solvents for fragrances. Its also used as plasticizers in flexible polyvinyle products. Its commonly found in fragrances;perfume,deodorants;nail polish;and in hair care products like shampoo,cream rinse, hair spray, hair gels and creams, and hair dyes;in skin creams and lotions. Why is Phthalates so bad? Well well let me tell you. It may damage the liver, kidneys and reproductive organs.  Also may cause cancer. Its a suspected hormonal disrupter.

Glycol Ethers
Solvents used as antifreeze and in paints, adhesives, dyes, inks and cosmetics. Its usually found in deodorant, nail polish, perfume and other scented beauty products.  Gylcol Ethers can cause dermatitis and in very high doses can cause liver, kidney, and reproductive damage. This is very common in the United States.

Compounds that release formaldehyde are: paraformaldehyde, benzyl hemiformal, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol, 5-bromo-5-nitro-1,3-dioxane, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate, and methenamine.
Formaldehyde is used as a preservative and can be found in nail polish, shampoo, eye shadow, mascara, blush, foundation, and other cosmetics.   It can cause probably human carcinogen and may also cause birth defects.  It can cause respiratory problems, and exacerbates asthma.  May also be toxic to the kidneys, liver, skin and central nervous system. And of course its banned in European Union. Seems as if they have their heads on straight.

Is used as a skin lightener which inhibits the production of melanin.  Did you know that hydroquinone is on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of Inert Pesticide Ingredients of Toxicological Concern.  This chemical can cause irreversible skin damage, swelling and permanent discoloration. You can find this in products aimed at the African American community. And once again the European Union banned it. Hello USA? Are you awake and reading this?

The whole reason I am bringing this up is because I am reading an amazing book called Green Barbarians by Ellen Sandbeck. I thought I was in the up and up with green living until I started reading this book. I literally am ready to go in my bathroom and take everything I have ever bought and go put it on the steps of the FDA building. They can have all of it if its so safe.

I encourage you to go out and get this book. She has written 3 other books that I will be reading as well.  I have not finished it, to be honest I keep going back and reading things over and over again. I guess im trying to make sure I am reading these things correct. I now need to start taking a long hard look at what I am using on my body. I know everything I am putting into my body because I make everything from scratch and only buy healthy food. But I have not actually sat down and looked at what i'm putting onto my body . I am starting to freak out a bit thinking about it. Its going to be an interesting journey and I hope to bring you all with me.
All information was found in her book mixed with my few comments.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This instead of that...

I could go on and on about why you should not buy certain things. One one hand I understand why people buy things. They get them on sale, with a coupon  and usually for free. When you are on a budget or out of work, sometimes this is the only way you eat. So I do understand why people do the things they do. But these options are not always healthy or good for the earth. This is where I have a hard time. I have finally come to a place in my life where I take the time to think about stuff and choose not to do it. There are alternatives to many things out there and would love for people to maybe try them out. Not everyone has the time to do some of these things but just try one or two. I want people to understand that just because its free, does not mean you need to take it home.

A few examples:

Free Oreo's coupon a few weeks ago-Become a fan of Oreo's and get a coupons sent to you for a free bag of Oreo's. Really? Do we really need to bring home a container full of sugar? Yes they might be good but oh my gosh are these so unhealthy. In just 2 cookies there is 150 calories, 7 grams of fat , less than 1 gram of protein and 12 grams of sugars. 2 cookies!  Each pack has 32 cookies in it. How about instead of getting these free cookies, maybe make some homemade cookies? Substitute 1/2 the sugar with apple sauce and throw in some flax seed. Plus the kids will love the whole experience of making cookies with their parents.

Tomorrow is free pancakes at IHOP.  Which means you will go there, wait in line forever to eat some pancakes that are not the healthiest. Plus there will be lots of butter involved, and sugary syrup. Then don't forget the tip your gonna have to leave. So is it really free? No its not. Your body is gonna have to digest all that unhealthy food, your wallet is gonna be a little skinnier, and your patience will be running thin as well. No thanks. Instead I would much rather make my own whole wheat pancakes that I can make with no sugar involved. Maybe throw on some homemade jelly and feel full and healthy after.

Super cheap plug ins, sprays, lotions etc at your local drug store. Its on all the blogs, you read about it or hear about it from everyone. Get free product from Walgreens, CVS, etc. I struggle with this one the hardest. I hear FREE FREE FREE all the time and my little frugal freebie inner me wants to run out and go get all these amazing freebies. Well guess what? You can do other things instead. Plug in fresheners are usually almost free, instead maybe burn a candle. These plug ins can be easily taken out and your children or pets can get sick from them. They are full of synthetic oils that say they are natural scents but are toxic. Or free lotions for your skin with rebate. Okay first you will have to send in for the rebate.  I have no patience so this wont work for me. Then its the matter of whats inside these lotions. Have you ever read the ingredients on these brands?  Oh my oh my. My skin crawls thinking about them all. Instead how about buying a all natural lotion? Trader Joe's has one for only $2.99 and its all natural.  There are hundreds of new and exciting all natural lotions available all over. Check out your local Whole Foods, New Seasons and Trader Joe's.

Breads are anywhere from $1-$5 per loaf of bread.  Usually the healthier the bread, the more expensive it is.  I invested in a bread machine a couple of months ago and boy am I glad. My $40 investment has payed for itself in the first month. Instead of buying your bread full of sugar or preservatives, get your own bread machine and have control over what kind of bread you want and whats in it. I now make my own bread for about 50 cents per loaf. Since I have to feed a family of 6, we go through a loaf each day. Plus this machine also helps me make lots more things like pizza dough and rolls. Keep an eye out for sales. My machine I bought for $40 at Bi Mart a local NW business. Thats was a good deal.

Another thing that gets our attention is sugary cereal's. There are always tons of coupons for these things. You can get them for pennies or even free at times. But do these unhealthy cereal's really get our children off to a good start each morning? Take a look at how much sugar is in it, then how much sodium, and then take a peek at the ingredients. Cringe... Nope I just cannot do it. Years ago when I had my first 2 children I would buy these cereals. I admit that I even ate it. Then to not get so much sugar in our systems, I would mix half of this unhealthy cereal with some healthy cereal like cheerio's. And then I just stopped buying any of the unhealthy stuff. Now instead we eat healthy options. Our favorites are the following. Banana, apple slices, oat meal, any Bobs Red Mill whole grain cereal's, Kashi of any variety, and my oldest daughters favorite saltines with cream cheese. Don't ask, I have no idea why she loves it.  My favorite thing to eat for breakfast is a slice of my homemade bread with butter and almond butter.  Mmmm

A big thing that we did was stop buying fast food. Its unhealthy, who knows if its sanitary, and seems cheap but its not. So instead of hitting up a fast food place we do a few different things. First you can just pack your own snack for later. My kids love picking what snack they want to bring with us and putting it in their lunch bags. If your on the go and do not have the option of a health food store, there are still options.  Any grocery store will work too. Our favorite is a fresh baked roll, one banana and a yogurt. Again my kids love this one. Its usually only about $1.50 per kid. We just drink water they provide at the deli area. My favorite option is going to Whole Foods. They have an amazing deli area that changes each day.  You get a plate/bowl and fill it with what you want. Best part is its no waste!  They provide plates/utensils that they wash. Plus they also have recycling for everything, alternative corn based utensils for on the go, and best part is they compost everything!  Im in love with their mac n cheese and salad bar. Mmmmm So instead of hitting up your local fast food joint, stop by a regular store and get some really fast food called fruit.

Again I really could go on and on about stuff. Anyone else have any this instead of that idea's? Share with the whole class!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Fear tactics

I used to buy many products to make my home smell oh so lovely. I would think that if I didn't use these products, then my home would smell bad and people would think I don't clean my house good enough. Plug in's and air fresheners were on my shopping list each payday. You see the commercials, you get this idea in your head that I need to buy it. But the fact is that big business really doesn't care if you get sick or not, they just want your money.  And you know the tool they use to get you to buy these things is? Fear. They make you feel as if people will judge you or if you don't clean your house good enough, you will die. Bravo bravo to you big business. Clever idea. But guess what? People have wised up. They have figured out what you are doing and realized that your products are synthetic and toxic for you and your pets.

Have you ever noticed that when you hear of something that could threaten your family, there is always a exciting new product that will come save your family? Hmmm convenient.How about find out what the threat is and act accordingly. Read up about what it is, and find out how you can fix it. Did you ever notice when the swine flue was all the rage , all you saw was commercials about antibacterial sprays, lotions and wash? So everyone thought that if you bought these items, you were gonna be protected. Hey guess what? Soap and water does just the trick. How about not touching anything or anyone and just wash your hands if you do?  Did you run and get everyone shots? Guess who was making all the money off your fear? Doctors, and big companies. Don't get me wrong, you should take all the precautions when you think your family might be in danger. I called our doctor and asked them what they thought we should do. We took our 4 girls in to get shots and kept them up on their vitamins and ate healthy.My husband was able to get the shot for free but I did not get the shot at all.   We did not make our kids be  scared to be around anyone and made no big deal about the situation. I didn't want to use the fear tactic on our kids.  We informed them and talked about what steps we needed to take to protect ourselves.

One thing that really gets me is the business's trying to collect on being green. We call this the "green cloak". Where they push this green message all over your face in hopes that you will want to buy it. Even though the company really is not green. Yeah there might be some natural ingredients but take a look at all of them. Take a look at the company itself. What steps do they make to make a greener planet? Do they use recycled packaging? Are there any toxins in their product? You need to think of all these things when you decide to buy anything. This rule alone has saved me a ton of money and stopped a ton of money from going to big business trying to collect on my fear. My fear of bad companies. I only buy products that are good green companies and make actual green products that are safe for my whole family to use. I no longer believe commercials, marketing or avdvertising.

So what do you think about this? Are you guilty too of giving in to the fear tactic?  Any companies you know that have a green cloak? Speak your mind and help others against this fear tactic.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Running myself silly

Lately it seems I have been so busy.  I had a blast with my husband at the brew fest. To be honest we didn't end up even doing the whole fest....Just one. To be honest neither of us had time to eat anything due to having to drop our kids off at a friends and take the Max downtown. So when we finally arrived at the brewery we each had a sample and headed down to get some grub. Then I did something really bad. I literally ate my Reuben sandwich whole. I ate the whole hot steamy yummy sloppy goodness.  Lets discuss the reasons why this was really bad. To start off with I am a very small person.
-At the most I weigh 105 lbs. I think this sandwich weighs 2 lbs itself. Or at least it seems. So when I ate this, I ate nothing for the rest of the day.

-Its not the healthiest. The bread was a yummy dark and white bread mix which looked healthy if thats possible.  The meat (and there was a ton of it) isn't the best as in fat free but it was okay. The sauce was NOT healthy. Some sort of a mayo spread that was so tasty but I know was not healthy. And the sauerkraut...oh the sauerkraut! It was super duper yummy! There was just a whole lot of salt involved in this sandwich.

-I eat healthy 24/7. Literally I make most all of our food from scratch. From soaking my own dried beans, making all our bread, to even making our own jelly. Everything!  So when I ate this stomach was not happy.  At all! So after my 20 minutes of slopping this down it was followed to a 3 hour stomach ache. Was it worth it? uh....yes

-To make matters worst I quenched my thirst with a nice tall pint of beer. I drank 3/4 of it and had to say goodbye to the rest. So anyways I had fun and ate good. But payed for it!

Then I did something crazy and when I say crazy its just crazy for me. I signed up for a 1/2 marathon. And now its totally freaking me out. This is the reason I have not blogged for a few days. Instead I was starting my training for the marathon.  I'm 33 (don't you dare tell anyone!) and not getting any younger. I get bored easily and since i've pretty much conquered the toilet paper challenge I have been looking for something more difficult to do. I know its just crazy. Its just what I do.

Although I never played sports growing up, I took up jogging right out of high school. It felt good just to go running in the beautiful city I lived in. Small town with lots of roads leading into the country. Oh how I do miss the Grove. Now I live in a larger city and have to deal with traffic and lights. No fun when your jogging. This is where the problem is. I refuse to buy a gym membership just so I can use the treadmill.  I take my daughters to soccer 4 days a week to recreation centers and each of them has a track around it.  Plus my best friend lives near me in some apartments and they have a gym. Sweet!

One thing I did not plan on doing was getting new running shoe's. I bought a pair last year and thought I could get away with using them. Not so much! My feet are killing me after each run. So Friday I am picking up a new pair of shoe's and a gadget to track how much im running. My husband says he has a friend who works for Nike Campus(located a few miles away) so I might get a good deal. Yes!

Training is gonna be interesting....I'm not the best at planning things.  I don't keep track of how far I am running unless its posted somewhere along the trail.  I also not good at remembering to eat or drink water before I run. These are things I need to work on.

Day 1-walked/ran around the track 3 times. I think it was about 2 miles. Give or take. Next day tender but not sure.

Day 2-Walked/ran around a different track 4 times which was much larger than the first track.  It was getting dark and I wanted to get as much running/walking as I could in. And now this is why i'm sore. Too much too soon.

So from now on I might skip a day or two from blogging. This will only be until June 12th which is the day of the marathon. My point of doing this challenge is to show how you can challenge yourself even when you think you have no time to do it. I am a full time mommy, full time soccer mommy, and full time wife. But I need to remember myself and what I love to do. I forget this....its a mommy thing.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ditch the disposables for goodness sakes!

I was reading up on my reader today and once again The Good Human really inspired me. Disposable's make your life easier right? You put your children first right? Well when you use disposables, your affecting your children. In a way. Just think about all that disposable junk in landfills sitting there. One day our children or children's children will have to deal with it. And why? All because it was convenient for us. Makes you think huh?
There is only one way to get around this. Stop buying disposable anything!  Buy with your eyes open and recycle as much as possible. When you grocery shop look for items that are Eco friendly brands, recyclable packaging or no packaging at all. This way you cut back on your garbage. My neighbors (4 person family) and us (6 person family) share a garbage can/recycle bin/yard debris. Guess how much trash in the actual trash bin has in it? One medium trash bag. Thats it.   Everything is recycled or taken in to be recycled (some plastics). We compost everything possible.  You see, it can be done!
I can see how this seems kinda too much for people so I thought I would share with you some small things you can do that are super easy.

1. Ditch paper filters for your coffee pot and buy a "Gold Filter". Some coffee makers actually come with them now. Yes you will pay a tiny bit more but you will save so much money and tree's by buying that one.

2.  Ditch the plastic bags/disposable containers when grocery shopping. Use reusable fabric bags (google it and make your own) or you can use net bags found in sports shops. I found mine at the dollar store. I can put everything except flours into them. Some places like Whole Foods will let you bring your own container for these types of things and weigh your container before you fill it. Saving you even more money!

3.  Ditch the bags. Some items dont even need a bag. I simply put things in my cart with no bag because I wash everything before I eat it. Cauliflower, cucumbers, banana's, and large things do not need bags.

4.  Ditch the paper bags. Bring your own bags to put your groceries in. Any bag will do! Maybe you have a great back pack, or a old book bag, etc. Don't think you have to go buy a new fabric bag. Just use what you have.

5.  Ditch the tissue. Instead of using tissue paper or toilet paper to blow your nose, try a fabric handkerchief. Remember those things your grandparents always had on hand? They were onto something! Just wash daily.

6.  Ditch the paper towels. First of all you will be saving so many tree's by not buying these things. You will also save yourself a ton of money.  Invest in 1 fabric napkin per family member and thats it. You will not have to buy another one for years! Same idea for the kitchen. Invest in one cotton set of kitchen towels. Just wash them daily and your set. No more paper towels!

7.  Ditch the plastic utensils. I bought 2 sets of utensils for my home years ago. I also have some from thrift stores/garage sales. This way I do not ever have to buy plastic utensils for any special occasion. Another great tip:Carry a set of metal utensils in your car or purse. This way you will not have to use any plastic ones ever again.

8.  Ditch the paper/plastic plates. Again just have extra glass plates on hand so you will never have to buy any disposable ones. They sell these super cheap in thrift stores/garage sales.

9.  Ditch plastic trash bags. This one might be hard for you. I am using up my last few plastic bags and once they are gone, they are gone! I will instead just carry my trash to the trash bin. If you cannot part with your trash bags, buy the ones made from recycled plastics. Better yet buy the biodegradable ones. Doesnt it sound silly to put your trash (stuff that wont decompose) into a plastic trash bag (that wont decompose either) ? Exactly.

10.  Ditch the retail sponge. I have always disliked sponges because they are just disgusting.  You use them for a few weeks, then they get all nasty and you throw them out. You can get by a few ways without buying conventional ones. There are several products out there made out of natural materials. But just like regular sponges, they break down and have to be replaced. I started off by knitting my own sponges a few years ago and just washing them every few days with my regular load of laundry. Love this idea!! I found some better ones on I found some crocheted ones with nubbies that help get food off my dishes. They only cost me $3 each and shipping was super cheap (independent sellers send them first class).  These will last for years and years.

11.  Ditch the plastic straws. How about just drink it like an adult? Were not kids anymore and we can drink our liquids from a cup with no straw. If you just love straws, you can now find glass straws in some stores and on the internet.

12.  Ditch the plastic wrap. You hear all the time how plastic can leach toxins into your food when heated up. Guess what plastic wrap is made of? Plastic! How about get rid of plastic wrap and just use good old glass wear with lids just like your grandmother did? Im telling you, they were onto something! While your at it try to limit yourself with the aluminum foil. I get away with not using any by using my metal pan lids covering my glass wear. There are times when I do need it (Turkey time comes to mind) and when I do need it I buy recycled aluminum foil. Its available in any store. No excuse.

13.  Ditch disposable diapers. I know I know in some cases you just cannot do it. Lifestyles are so different and we understand this. BUT you can find other alternatives. There are several lines of all natural disposable diapers that are just as good as name brands. Seventh Generation has a great diaper available at any Fred Meyers and even online. Most major stores carry these natural diapers so look for them. While your at it buy the all natural diaper wipes too!

14.  Ditch bottled water. This is a major problem we as humans have. How about just buying 1 stainless steel container for your water? This will last you for years and years. Better yet, when your at home and you get thirsty just use a cup. Who would of thought? We are lazy lazy humans.

15.  Ditch regular batteries. Invest in a set of rechargeable batteries. You will not have to buy another battery for years and years. This is especially handy for people with children.  Everything takes batteries anymore so invest in rechargeable ones!

16.  Ditch paper cups. This also includes specialty coffee drinks! Again you can find glass cups in thrift stores/garage sales for super cheap so just buy extra for when you have company or special occasions. When you go to get a cup of your favorite coffee from you know who, just bring your own reusable coffee cup. One small investment means you save a ton of tree's. While your at it, get your favorite coffee place to start recycling their paper garbage or at least start a recycling program. Yes Starbucks im talking to you!

17.  Ditch boxed juices or drinks. Instead of sending boxed juices with your kids in their lunch, invest in reusable drink containers. This has saved me a ton of money each year. And while your at it, just pack water. This will save you some money too!

18.  Ditch disposable food containers. Invest in stainless steel containers which you can find just about anywhere now. They even sell sets that clip together. Most come with a bowl, plate, small container and all clip together with a handle so its easy to carry. They run about $20 but worth every penny. Just keep it in your car and anytime you go through a drive though (which I hope you do not) or out to eat, just bring it and you can put your food in it.

19.  Ditch portable tissue. You know, those tiny prepackaged tissues (yeah thats you mom!) .  How about just toss some tissue in your purse or better yet a fabric one that you can wash.

20.  Ditch disposable med's. Single use any type of med usually involves plastic. How about just take some time and plan out what your gonna need. Invest in a non plastic container to put your med's in. Make sure its small enough to put in your purse or glove compartment. This will also save you some money. I am shocked at the mark up they put on these easy convenient products.

Now Ive given you so many idea's on how to eliminate your disposable habit. Challenge yourself to a few or all of these and watch your garbage go down and your money stay in your wallet.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Me in a nutshell

You read my blog each day and get some insight into my life but do you really know me? I thought it would be fun to tell you about myself and my life in a nutshell.

1. Ive been to the movie theater maybe 2 times in 7 years. I just refuse to pay $8 for just the ticket to see a movie. In order for my family to go to a movie, it would cost us around $40 just to walk in the door and see the movie. Thats not including snacks or drinks.

2.  No cable or dish. I know! A year and a half ago we were getting ready to move and turned it off to try to save some money. After a few weeks we decided not to get it again. Now days you get way more than the usuals back in the day. They even have a 24/7 kids channel.

3.  My husband and I eat meat maybe once a week. Since my all my daughters are vegetarians, I cook all meat separately and usually forget to even cook the meat. I am so okay with this and lucky that my husband has not noticed. This saves us so much money.

4.  I am a very small person. I am about 5 ft 4 and 105 pounds. I stopped growing in middle school and actually am a little smaller than I was then. This comes in handy because I rarely have to buy clothes. Yes most of this is from my DNA but I gotta give credit to lifestyle choices.

5.  I am addicted to grape juice. And im not talking about white grape juice. I like the dark purple yummy tangy grape juice. Mmmmmm

6.  I avoid driving on holidays. When I go it better not be on a holiday and ruin that holiday for my family. I also wear nice panties always.  My grandmother always said to wear your nice panties because you never know when your going to be in an accident. You wanna look your best.  I know, its weird.

7.  As a child I would get annoyed when my mom would wait to get everything on sale. I remember actually getting so angry because I wanted something and mom wouldnt ever get it until months later. Guess what I do now? You guessed it!

8.  I do not read books. I know, i'm horrible. I teach my kids to read yet I never do. One habit I intend to break soon. I do a ton of research online so I think this should count. Right?

9.  I will refuse to pay a certain price for something but when it comes to something I like, all rules go out the window. I wont pay over $5.99 per pound for coffee but would pay $4 for a fancy coffee from my local coffee shop. I don't understand it. Good news is that I stopped drinking coffee cold turkey last week and dont have to worry about it anymore. Yeah!

10. I do not get dressed until I leave the house. When I am in my own home I want to feel comfortable. So if you come to my home unannounced,  just expect me in my pj's with my slippers. Its just how I roll.

11.  I have to help and have no ability to stop. For as long as I can remember I have been this way. If I had a friend having problems with their family, they stayed at our home. I have a friend who needs a toaster, I will find a way to get it. I even give them my own things and replace mine.   One time I had not eaten and grabbed a few cookies I had made (healthy!) and was sitting at a  light. A homeless man was sitting there with a sign asking for change. You know the end of the story. He was fed and I was hungry till I got home  Its a sickness. A wonderful wonderful sickness. I can thank my mother for this. Thanks mom! This is the best part of me.

12.  I over think everything. If I did not check the back door to see if it was locked and im already in bed for the night, it will eat at me until I get up and go check. Ive literally turned around after driving off somewhere. All because I could not remember if I turned off my coffee pot. Note:coffee pot turns itself off after 30 minutes.  I constantly worry about things and its the point where I feel physically sick. So I try to avoid it and recheck things all the time. Again starting another problem lol

13.  I am accident prone. Ive hurt myself so many times.
-Hole in our closet that you go though to get under our house-Fell through it 8 months pregnant. Everything was fine.
-Sprained 2 toes when I walked into a door frame.
-Several stitches in my hands from using a apple corer.
-Took a bath and stood up which led to me scratching my back and getting a 6 inch scratch and hurting my back. Oh did I mention I was 6 months pregnant with my twins? Yep.
-Latest injury was 2 days ago when I was too lazy to get a chair so I could reach a juice pitcher. Slid off the counter to get down and received a 4 inch scratched/bruise on my thigh.

14.  I love the smell of any thrift store. Makes me feel at home.

15.  Ive felt close to nature as long as I can remember. Mama always said I was born a generation too late.

16.  I am not a morning person and never have been. I could sleep for 10 hours a night and still be sleepy. I do my job and get my kids off to school 5 days a week but the weekend comes around and im in bed till 9 and only because my husband sent the kids in to get me. I love sleeping.

17. Most kids wanted to be a ballerina or a doctor when they grew up. I wanted to be a environmentalist.

18.  I was raised by my mother alone.

19.  I still own my Garfield nightgown that I have had since grade school. I passed it down to my oldest daughter.

20.  Last but not least I am the most unorganized organized person you will ever meet. I never remember when my daughter's soccer practice is each week but could tell you how much I paid for anything in my home.  You may see my clutter spot but I know exactly whats in it.   I have the worst memory ever and my husband can attest to it.

Monday, February 8, 2010

10 budget friendly meal idea's

Lets face it moms, we don't want to spend hours in the kitchen. We want to get in there, cook it and get out. Oh and also enjoy the meal with the rest of the family. Sometimes I literally do not get to eat with the family because I am cooking still (pancakes ugg). These are super easy and fast meals you can make for your family. Not only are they healthy but they will save you some cash. If you have something your saving up for, try these meals out for a week or two and see just how much you can save.

Note:Palm full means the palm of your hand filled with a spice. Usually about 1 tbsp or so.
1. Chili-4 cups of Kidney Beans (canned or dried that you have cooked and froze)
2 Palm fulls of Chili Powder
1/2 Palm full of Cumin
1/2 of medium onion chopped
1 tsp Minced Garlic or 1/2 tsp dried Garlic Powder
Optional: for added fresh flavor add red/green/or yellow pepper chopped up(or frozen) Serve with crackers of any kind. Saltines are super cheap.
How much to make: $1 if you cooked the beans yourself.
$2-$3 if you buy canned beans

2. Noodles with White Sauce -1lb Whole Wheat Noodles
2 tbsp Butter or Olive Oil
2 tbsp Flour
2 cups Milk (or 2/3 cup powdered milk with 2 cups water)
How much to make: $1 for the noodles in bulk
Everything else should be in your fridge or pantry

3. Bread Crumb Noodles-1 lb
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
3 tbsp Olive oil or Butter
1 tsp Garlic minced or 1/2 tsp Dried Garlic Powder
Boil noodles till done. Seperate pan heat up oil on medium, add garlic, cook for 30 seconds, add bread crumbs, cook for 1 minute, add noodles and stir. Done.
Optional: Parm cheese sprinkled on top.
How much to make:$1 for bulk noodles
Everything else should be in your pantry.

4. Everything Soup- Use any vetetable that needs to be used in your fridge
Stock of any kind. (I always make mine with chicken bones from dinners in the past)
Pasta or Rice (what ever you have)
Crackers are optional. Saltines are super cheap.
How much to make: Free if you use what you have that is going bad and needed cooking.
Or you can buy whatever items you want and could cost up to $5.

5. Macaroni and Cheese-1 lb Whole Noodles of any kind
2 tbsp Flour
2 tbsp Butter or Oil
2 cups of milk (or 2/3 cup of powdered milk with 2 cups of water)
1/2 cup Cheese of any kind
How much to make: $1.50. Noodles are $1 and about 50 cents worth of cheese. Everything else should be in your pantry.

6. Egg Drop Soup-1 egg
2 tbsp Corn Starch
3 cups of broth (homemade or bought)
Combine broth and cornstarch and heat till boiling and clear. 2 tsp of broth and 1 egg mixed in small bowl, add slowly when broth is done. Egg will cook all stringy. Done.Optional: Chives or dried chives. Sprinkle in Soy Sauce for added flavor.
Cost to make:25 cents if you use your own free homemade broth (reccomended) or could cost up to $3 to make if you buy broth.

7. Warm rice and milk-1 cup hot cooked rice (use left overs)
1 cup of milk (or 1/3 cup powdered milk with 1 cup of water)
Sprinkle of Cinnamon
1/2 tsp sugar
dab of Butter
Put all in a bowl, mix and serve. My childhood favorite. Kids just love this one. Plus wonderful on a cold day.
Cost to make:Free if you use left over rice and powdered milk. Could cost up to $1 if buy the rice, cook it and add fresh milk.

8. Pasta with red sauce-1 lb of whole wheat noodles
1 can of pasta sauce or crushed tomato in a can
1/2 can of black olives (use other half for another dinner)
Optional: Parm cheese if you have it
Cost to make: $3

9. Mexican Rice -3 cups Brown Rice (or white)
1 cup Black Beans (cooked, and froze. Or bought canned)
1 Palm of Cumin
2 Palm of Chili Powder
1 tsp Garlic Minced or 1/2 tsp powdered garlic
1 cup Frozen Corn or canned
Cook rice, add spices and garlic, corn, and beans. Add water if needed. Done. You can eat this alone, add it on lettus to make a mexican salad, put it in taco's(stretching your budget even further), or add 1 cup of broth and make a mexican soup.
Cost to make:$2 if you make and freeze your own beans from dried beans, and buy rice in bulk. Otherwise its about $5 if you bought everything canned or easy to make.

10. Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup-Bread
1 can of Tomato Soup
Cost to make:About 1.50. Super easy to make. Very filling and super yummy on a cold day.

I make these on a regular basis. This has cut cost down in so many ways. I usually make 3-4 meatless dinners a week. Since most have beans in it, we still get our protein intake. All are made with Whole Wheat or Brown Rice so you get plenty of fiber. I try to use fresh produce that last a long time. Like Carrots, Onions, and Celery. These are budget friendly because they can last from 2-4 weeks in your fridge and you can use them when needed in many meals. I reccomend cooking dried beans highly. This alone saves me a bundle. $1 average for 1 lb of beans. When cooked this will make 4-6 cups of beans. If you bought canned beans, it would cost you $6 to get the same amount. I also reccomend buying your spices either in bulk or places like Walmart which are only 50 cents. We go through so much Chili Powder, Cumin, and Garlic Powder. One added reccomendation is buying in bulk. Places like Winco have bulk items for super cheap and are adding more and more healthy options like whole wheat and organic items. Also try to make your own broth and freeze it. Just need bones and water to make. Super easy. Boil water and bones on low boil for 20 minutes. Refridgerate, skin off fat that will harden and float up to the top, and freeze for later use. Done!

Have your own frugal recipe? Leave a comment and share !

Friday, February 5, 2010

Beans beans the magical fruit, the more you eat the more you ______!

A good budget friendly food is beans. Any kind of beans that are dried are usually cheap. You can get 1 lb of beans for about $1 per pound. Sometimes less if you buy bigger quanities. There are some basic steps for making them.
1. Soak for a few hours(I do this during the day)
2. Before bedtime rinse beans
3. Put in crock pot
4. Add water till covers the beans
5. Add salt and spices to your preferance
6. Turn on low
7. Cook all night
8. In the morning(when I take kids to bus stop) turn off
9. Let cool till room temp
10. Put 2 cups of beans per freezer bag
11. Put in freezer

I usually will cook a ton of beans one day and freeze them for later use. One reason is because my husband loves beans but doesnt like the smell of them when cooked. ?? I dont understand it but try my best to avoid his funny faces he makes when he smells them. I use these beans in most of our meals to add lots of protein. As most of you know, my 4 daughters are all vegetarians by choice so beans come in handy in our home.
Here is an example of how much you could save

99 cents 1lb of dried black beans
Each pound makes about 10 cups
Thats about 9 cents per cup. Making it 18 cents (most cans have about 2 cups per can)
Average cost of canned beans is 79-$1 per can.
5 cans of beans for the same amount of buying 2 cans. I think I will make my own.

Not only is this a budget friendly meal, you dont have any extra added preservatives and what not. You can add no salt or spices so it will be no sodium.

Idea's for use
2.Black Bean soup
3. White bean and ham soup
4. add to any meal for protein
5. Mash and make refried beans

6. Snacks-my kids love garbanzo beans to snack and and yes you can find them dried too.
7.  Small meals-my daughter will eat a 1/2 cup size portion before a soccer game or practice.
8.  Bean dip
9.  Add with Mexican rice and have burrito's
10. Hummus anyone?

When I let mine cook all night, I get up early to get my girls off to school. I simply throw some beans in a thermos with some chili powder/cumin/salt and some extra juice from the crock pot.  When its cold out my girls love warm food at lunch time. Super hot in the morning but cools just enough for them to eat at lunch time. This is why I cook them at night time. You certianly could cook them during the day and use them for dinner time. Its just easier for me because my husband dislikes the smell of beans and it saves on energy when you cook at night. 

Now days you can find just about every single type of bean dried. I have been lucky enough to find dried garbanzo beans at Whole Foods and they cook up just the same.In the picture above, garbanzo beans are in the top bowl.  My girls love snacking on these beans. Best part is that I put no salt in them and my kids have that much less sodium in their diet. Cant wait to make some hummus.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Top 20 ways to save on groceries

When I started my blog a little over a year ago, this was one of my first post. I must say I am a better speller and use my words much better now lol. I altered it a little bit due to us moving and my spending habits are not the same. But the main subject is the same and hopefully it can help you save some money.

1. Shop alone-OMG really did you need to put this on the list? As a mom, this is a big tip. How many times did you find things in your cart that you didnt put in? Or realized after you drove home that you were over charged but didnt notice because you were tired of telling the kids to stop fighting? Uhh huhhh. Need I go on? Trade babysitting days with a friend so both you can go shopping without the kids. Save yourself a bundle this way.

2.Buy only what you need-This will save you a ton. Instead of getting things because they sound good, get them because you need them. Think "Do I really need that icecream that is $5?" 95% of the time the answer is NO! Or even better bring a list of things you need or are out of. This is a good tip that I forget. 

3. Supersize-You usually get the best price on meats when you buy the larger cuts of meat. You can have them cut it for you and pay the same price for not cut meat. You can repackage it and freeze it for later use. I used to buy packages of chicken legs for .99 cents per lb, split them up and refreeze them. My girls have since become vegetarians so now I just buy one large pack that will last us parents for a while.  

4.DIY and save-Of course if you do it yourself, its gonna be cheaper. My kids just love those small packages of crackers with cheese or peanut butter in them. I buy regular saltines ($1.25 box) and just throw some peanut butter between them. Done. I paid pennies vs the $1.50 for 6 small packs of 6. I DIY everything. No boxed meals, no prepared meals, no easy too cook just add water anything. My kids now prefer me cooking this way. They get stomach aches from any prepared anything. Too much sodium and preservatives.

5.Dont over purchase-this is a big thing for me. I refuse to pay certian prices for things. I wont buy it unless it stays within my price range. We will just adjust and move on. Produce, refuse to pay more than $1 per lb. Meat no more than $1 per lb. When it goes on sale, I stock up. I make a plan to spend only a certian amount on anything. I shop enough to know whats a good deal and whats not. Another bad habit I had was when payday came, I went and bought everything I thought we needed and came home to find I already had that item. SO frustrating! So now I make a list of what we need and keep in mind seasonal items on sale. I no longer write down red peppers, instead I write seasonal veggies. I will adapt my cooking around what is on sale. So if red peppers are not on sale, I skip them. But if broccoli is on sale, its broccoli for the week. 

6.Say "So long to snack packs!"-These are just smaller less expensive packs but if you add up how many small packs are usually in 1 box and compare, your spending more $. Plus usually these items are not healthy. No snack packs in our house unless they are freebies I recieved in the mail. We save those for long trips to events or family outings.  How about letting the kids make their own snack packs. Throw some crackers, dried fruit, and maybe some nuts and there you go. A healthy snack on the go.

7. Weigh your choices-When you see oranges $1 per pound, then you see 4 lb oranges in a bag for $1.98. HHmmm which do you choose. Of course the bag. Your paying only 50 cents per lb instead of $1. Do your math. You cant always judge a orange by picking up each and every one and choosing them. The bag has done all this work for you. Do the math! Also another great tip is to weigh the 4lb bag. Do you really thing those bags weigh 4 lbs each? Exactly 4 lbs? No, so weigh each one and buy the one that weighs the most. 

8. Go generic-Why buy Ritz Crackers for $3.50 a box when I can get Winco brand ritz type crackers that taste the same for only $1.68?  There is no differance between these crackers. They are just price differances. Do yourself a favor and get generic brands. The only reason I will ever buy name brand is if I have a coupon or the item is on sale for cheaper. We eat whats healthy, on sale and cheaper. If I do find that one cracker box is healthier than the other but 10 cents more, I buy the healthier one. Use your best judgement.

9. Compare cost per lb or per unit-Those places like Costco and Sams Club are not always deals. I found that buying diapers with coupons, sales, etc were so much cheaper than getting a big box from these places. Sometimes I get them for free. So remember if you get coupons from these brands, certian stores have them for cheaper, etc. Places like Winco have info on their tags. They tell you how much per ounce each item is so you know which is the best deal. I love this feature! 

10.Make friends with the butcher-Ask your local butcher what days and times they do their markdowns. My local Safeway and Fred Meyers do theirs about every other day right after opening. So I hit them up around 10am. Not too early and not too late. Never hurts to ask. Maybe plan your shopping days around this. Fred Meyers does theirs early so I have to be there around 9am-10am. Most stores are glad to tell you this information because the less they have to throw out means the make some sorta profit from the items. 

11.Check out the chicks-A precooked roaster chicken is just a chicken they cooked and marked at a higher price. Dont pay more for a differant label, just buy the whole uncooked chicken and cook it. Much cheaper and you can control the sodium, and how much spices go into it. Plus you will have cash left over in your pocket. Don't forget to save the bones and make broth which saves you even more money.

12.Think ahead-If your family never finishes a bowl of noodle casserole, then take 1/3 out that you know they wont eat and freeze it before you even bring it to the table. Use it for a lunch later. Same goes for any other meal. 1 whole chicken will be 1 dinner plus 3 lunches for my husband. Plus the bones will be turned into broth. My $4 investment has now turned into many many other things.

13. Invest in a second freezer. My last house had a new huge fridge so I never had to worry about freezer space. But my new home here is an older one and has a standard tiny fridge. My freezer was so so so tiny.  We saved up for 6 months and finally bought a new freezer. Yeah!~You can stock pile up on stuff like meat, vegies, and specials. Try to get a Energy Star one so you can save on energy as well. Right now this economy is trying to recover so there are tons of specials., rebates, etc. Take advantage! Remember to do it yourself with food. Chop your own peppers and onions and freeze them. Great for any Mexican food. Chop and freeze your own everything if you can.

14. Shop with left overs in mind-Like whole chickens stated in #12. Or left over turkey. Rethink these items. I save left over dark meat chicken for soups. Much more moist and yummier! so keep in mind this when your shopping. Instead of buying a pack of meat, just buy what you need to go with that meat you already have in your freezer.  Rethink your left overs.

15.Learn when to leave left overs way! Just doesnt work.  Make what you need with these items. Why make a huge batch of salad when it wont last overnight? Remember these things when your making your food. 

16.Count on discount and clearance stores-Grocery Outlet is fabulas store that sells items that are overstock, froze at sell date, testing products, smashed packaging, etc. I LOVE this store. So I usually will hit this store up before I go to my major shopping. Everything is always cheaper there. Learn where these discounted stores are and hit them up first. Or if you have a favorite store of yours that has discounted spots, hit those spots first. 

17. Visit price clubs with a friend-  I have a Costco card but do not shop there much. Luckily we get it free from my husband's work, otherwise I would not pay for one. I do go there about once a month with my mom so we can split things. Bag of onions $3 we split. Sometimes specialty meat we split. About the only thing I dont split is yeast for making bread and frozen corn. My usual bill from Costco is about $30. I find better deals in other places.

18.Buy a Sunday or Wednesday paper-Im a little torn with this one. Most of the coupons out there are for items that are prepackaged foods, and most are not healthy. I rarely use coupons so I dont buy the paper. Most people think you have to have a paper to get coupons, not true. You can print your own these days on many coupon sites, you can print them off of product websites, and you usually get coupons when you sign up for samples. Very rarely will I use coupons anymore. Only time I do is if the coupon is for butter, olive oil, or maybe healthy snack food. So if you eat super healthy like me, no paper is needed. But if you do eat some prepared food, might be worth your money to get a Sunday paper. 

19. cut corners on clipping coupons-You can find other ways to get coupons and not have to buy the paper. Most freebies come with coupons, one day a week the "food day" paper comes in my driveway with current store ad's, and you can email companies asking if they can send you coupons. I do all thee above! 

20. Stock up on local seasonal produce-I buy only seasonal produce. Right now pumpkins,etc are on sale. I buy that and freeze them. Use them for later. I do this all year and manage to get my produce for an average of 50 cents per pound. Which is a good deal. So alter your meals around this tip alone and save hundreds each year. Plus how much fun is it to cook differantly every time? My kids can look foward to certian things on each season. They know not to ask for strawberries in December unless we had picked them and froze them for later use. I love that when my children think of Fall, they think of hot cider and pumpkin muffins. Or during the summer they think of strawberries, peaches and tomato's. 

Bring your calculator always! How else are you going to figure out if you should buy the store brand or the major brand with a coupon? Always always always bring a calculator!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Smelly compost, h20, plastic duty, and no toilet paper.

Between soccer 4 days a week, my whole family giving each other their colds, and just plain everyday life it seems like I have no time at all. I have a few challenges/projects I have been working on lately and I thought I would share with you my ups and downs. 

The Cloth Wipe Challenge-Still going strong and my girls have had no accidents this week which has been nice. Ive decided to stop using the net bag that hangs off the toilet paper roll and just use a small basket by the toilet for my kids just to throw them in. I do laundry each day and have had no smells at all. Its been about a month now and I have yet to go buy more toilet paper. Before the challenge I would buy a 24 pack every 2 weeks. Savings this month-$15. Whahoo!
If your interested in trying this challenge, head on over to the crunchy chicken and get yourself some fun challenges. I get much of my inspiration from this lady~!

Recycling my plastic-This one is hard to do but worth it. Our garbage man came yesterday and we only had 1 small garbage bag of trash in it. May I remind you that I share my trash service with my next door neighbors who are a family of 4. Yes thats 10 people's trash and it was only 1 medium bag. How do we do this? Easy. Recycle recycle recycle. We take care of paying the bill (split it between the two of us) and they take our plastic in to be recycled every few months. Everything but plastic goes into the traditional recycling bin. All plastic goes into another container or bag. I usually use potato bags, bags people have brought to my home, etc. We are getting way better and getting rid of our trash the right now. 

Compost-Yeah I suck lately at that. I'm a seasonal person and this means that when it gets cold or yucky outside, I stay inside. I really need to fix this problem I have. I forgot about my compost on my counter for a month, yes you read it right. I have such an excellent filter on it that I never smelt any odors. My husband was the one who found it. Sorry honey:). So now that its cleaned out, I need to be way better about putting out food waste in it and actually physically taking it out to the compost bin. Whats with my lazy butt? I don't know. I have no excuse. 

Caffeine- Ive been trying to cut back on caffeine of any type for health reasons. All the while I did not think about the money saving aspect of it. No caffeine means no dark soda's, coffee, and some tea's. My plan is to drink decaf till I get off my coffee addiction. Once I kick the coffee addiction I plan on drinking way more water. This is my own personal challenge. I am not a big water drinker and never really have been. I am really horrible  when it comes to getting my water intake. So from now on, gonna drink way more water. And you all know me, the frugal way to drink water is good old tap water. 

5 week pay period-My husband only gets paid once a month and sometimes its more than 1 month depending on the month( I am well aware how much this sucks). This month its a 5 week pay period and I have to make our money stretch an extra week. This is super easy to do, you will just have to deal with the family looking in the fridge and asking whats to eat. We will make it by doing a few simple things. I found half gallon milk for 79 cents on clearance last week so I bought up 6 of them. Half gallon sizes are perfect for freezing because they thaw out pretty fast. Yes you can freeze milk! So I really wont need to buy milk for 2 weeks. Also last week Fred Meyers had navel oranges 3lbs/$1. What a deal! I bought around 25 lbs of them and were still living off those and will be for a while. I plan on making jelly from it too.  I have plenty of food in my baking pantry so were good on bread, muffins, etc. Muffins make great snacks and my kids wont miss the crackers that I wont be buying. I have lots of stuff in my freezer and plenty in our pantry. Just gotta get creative! 

So you can see I have plenty of things to keep me busy. Soon it will be back to the usual. Hanging all our clothes to dry outside (once Oregon gets over all the rain ick! ), my garden planning is starting soon, and school will be out soon and I will have to come up with lots of things for the kids to do. But these things will keep me busy until then.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Save some green while doing laundry

Although many of the tips I give you are not huge savings, all the little things do add up. One huge savings tip would be in your laundry room. When you have  a large family like mine, the savings really do start to add up. Here are a few ways you can save with little or no effort.

Make your own liquid laundry soap-Why pay $6.99-$10 for 30-40 loads of laundry? I do at least 2 loads of laundry a day, which adds up to 14 loads a week, 56 a month.  Buy liquid soap and your paying an average of 22 cents per load. When you make your own laundry soap you spend 1 penny per load. Thats 56 cents per month. So wanna pay 22 cents or 1 cent? Easy directions to make your own laundry soap brought to you by me!

Ditch the dryer sheets-Another huge savings is to not use dryer sheets. Do you really need that super strong smell to tell you they are dry?  And whats more annoying that dryer sheets stuck to everything including you in that not so great moment. How many of you have found dryer sheets stuck to your clothes at work? Another horrible thing is that you have to throw them away. Cannot be recycled because of the wax and toxic chemicals on them. Some save them to use as filler in stuffed animals but not recommended.
How do I stop using them? Easy, just don't use them. You can invest in dryer balls which cost anywhere from $3 at Rite Aids dollar section if you can find them, or order them on the net which will cost you about $15 not including shipping cost. Or make your own. There are lots of directions of how to make them. Some even just use aluminum balls you just make from your regular aluminum foil. Or you can get craft and make wool balls.

If you just stop using dryer sheets and use nothing, you will have static for only a few loads of laundry. This is due to your clothes having all that wax and chemicals from the dryer sheets. Once that is all gone, it will have no static.

Another option which I love is to sew together some fabric and stuff it with some dried lavender. Just toss in the dryer  with your wet clothes and dry as usual. Your clothes will smell so good.

There is also biodegradable dryer sheets but I have yet to find a brand sell them and keep them on the market. Ive used several brands but still had the same problem with the sheets being all over my home. Plus they are usually made of paper. But you can throw them in your compost bin.  Seventh Generation has how started selling these which is good because they are an excellent company and have been around for a long time. They are hard to find in stores but usually can be found on amazon or

Clothes Line-Over the years ive hung our clothing outside in limited space, in our home on our shower rod, and even just hung stuff on hooks. Now that I have an excellent backyard, I can use a clothes line. Easy to make and cheap to buy. Head on over to your local Dollar Store and they will have clothing line you can buy and also the wooden pins you will need. Just take home and find some nails. I drape mine from my home to the fence making sure that I put it up during nice weather or take it down during the winter. My husband likes this because he cant stand to see our clothing hanging everywhere. You can also buy clothing racks. I just found an amazing rack at Costco for only $21 and its all metal. Folds away so I can put it beside my dryer and the wall. This one also had shoe hooks so I can now hang our wet shoes on it. This option is great for people who rent and cannot just put their clothes where they want. The wooden or metal racks are best unless you have a dog who likes to chew on wooden ones. gguurrrr! If its a nice day, put the clothes out to hang dry and take advantage of the sun. Its free to use anytime you want and saves on your energy bill!

To wash or not wash-Do you really need to wash towels after each use? I say no. We use our towels at least 3 times before we wash them. After each use we simply hang it up to dry on the shower rack. My family is not dirty, we do not do dirty jobs so this works for us. Blankets only washed when they smell not so clean or if were sick. After each cold/flue we wash all blankets/bedding. Decorative pillows are washed every few months. Just think about stuff when your throwing it in the washer. Do I really need to wash them each use? Can we get by with a few uses?

These few tips can easily save you $20 or more a month. Obviously depending on  how big your family is or how much laundry you do.  If you have any questions about anything above, leave a comment! Always willing to answer any questions

p.s. Don't you just love that picture? Too funny.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Little things I love

I stood looking at this for about 10 minutes trying to figure out exactly what this was. Ah ha! You hang it on the wall in your bathroom. Top part is to put your toothbrushes or razors in and the bottom is to hang your rings on while you wash your hands or take a shower. Definitely buying this one for my best friend. Her birthday was in January so I had to wait to blog about it. I wont tell you how much I paid for it but I will say it was pricey but it was a must have and only my girl could appreciate such a crazy thing. lol
I found this set at a small out of the way senior thrift shop. I paid $1.50 total for these. They are plastic ( I know I know) but back in those days plastic was in. They just scream vintage! I do not keep sugar or tea in them but instead I keep beans of any sort in them. These go so well in my harvest gold retro kitchen. And when I say retro, I really mean original kitchen to my home. A whole other story...