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I feel like every other post on this blog is “homemade….”  My brain just likes to move fast! 🙂  Most of what I make homemade food wise is so that I know what ingredients are included- my goal is for our family to eat mostly whole foods.  Oh yes… and be able to stay on a budget with said whole foods. 🙂

Now making personal care and cleaning supplies?  It is pretty much the same thing.  I like knowing what ingredients I’m putting around and on our bodies… and yes, you guessed it- I need to stay on a budget!

I read on a blog a long time ago about making your own foaming hand soap. And I really liked the idea.  I enjoy the good smelling foaming hand soap, but would rather not pay the extra money for it.  And when I read on a blog that you could just take a regular old foaming hand pump and fill it with a little bit of soap and mostly water?  Well, you better believe I was all over that. 🙂

This week I needed to refill our bathroom soap, so I decided it was a perfect time to take some pictures and let you all in on this little secret!  You ready for this?  You might want to get out some paper and a pen and take some notes… NOT!

Take your empty foaming hand soap container, fill with a little bit of soap (I use castile soap now, but for a while just used Green Works dish soap) (and by a little bit of soap, I mean a little bit of soap… the first time I put too much and clogged the pump!) and then add water.  Give it a good shake and viola!

Granted, it is not as thick as the stuff you can buy at Bath & Body Works, but having a piece of mind about what is IN the soap and the fact that it literally costs me pennies… I’m sold!

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When I happened upon holiday items at the Target dollar spot for 50% off, I found myself wondering if it was too early to think about purchasing small items for Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes for next year.  Thankfully I held out.  When I arrived at Target a few days later- all their dollar spot items were 75% off!  Woo Hoo!  I stocked up!

I spent $5.50 at Target and purchased socks, books, puzzles, pens, chapstick and silly bands for 4 shoe boxes.

Then today I ran to Walmart for some milk and bananas and happened to find myself in their holiday discounted items.  Much to my delight- their holiday items also were discounted to 75% off today!  So once again, I purchased more items to finish filling our 4 shoe boxes.

I spent $9.50 at Walmart (splurged a little and spent $.75 each for for little stuffed dogs) and also purchased more puzzles, mini frisbees, stickers, stencils, straws and cups!

I plan to keep my eye out for some back to school sales in July for some crayons and paper and I will be finished.  I plan to get my 4 shoe boxes filled for under $20!  And the best part?  It is only January 2nd!!  I love bargain shopping!

Sorry for all the baby talk around here… just where I am in life right now. 🙂

I’ve thought this for years- but finally decided to say something about it.  *Ahem*

WHO in their right mind decided that size newborn diapers are good until the baby is 10lbs?  For the love!

I’m on my 3rd child now so I have some experience with newborn diapers and lets just say…. I do not think a parent labeled these diapers.  But what gets me –is that all brands say that!  What is the definition of “fitting?”  That the velcro still wraps around their little bodies?  Ok, maybe.  But my definition of a diaper is that it catches, contains and holds all that comes out.  Yep, pretty sure my little guy is not yet 7lbs yet and we are already in size 1 diapers.  After a 24 hr period and him wetting through all of his layers twice and blowing up the back… well, that my friends is my sign to move on up to the next size.  Either that, or I can do laundry every day.  I decided to get some new diapers. 🙂

Have I mentioned only a handful of times have we had any leaking problems with our cloth diapers?  In 2.5 years… I’m extremely happy with them.   BTW- this is what we use.

However, since we still use disposable for Kade all the time and 1 disposable per night with Johnny, I still like to see if I can snag a deal on diapers.  Usually that just means buying the Walmart brand diapers.  Which I might add- are $.19 per diaper for size 4.  However, in the few deal finding blogs that I read, I kept hearing about Amazon Mom.  Have you heard of this?  I signed up for the free trial for a few months but did not get much use out of it.  UNTIL… my friend Rach gave me a heads up on the price of diapers!  Woot!  You should totally sign up.

Once you sign up, go ahead a do a search for Luvs size 4 diapers.  Comes up with a large box of them at $.19 per diaper.  Same price as Walmart- but I like these diapers so much better!  Go ahead and click on it and there will be a box that reads:

“Save an extra 30% with Subscribe & Save and Amazon Mom: Get the standard 15% discount when you sign up for Subscribe & Save delivery. Combine that with an additional 15% savings exclusively for Amazon Mom members on select diapers and wipes, and this item’s current price drops to $24.50 ($0.14 / count) . Not an Amazon Mom member? Join now. Subscribe & Save shipping is always free. No fees, no risks, no obligations. See details”

Did you catch that?  You can get these diapers shipped to your door for FREE at $.14 per diaper!  You better believe that I’m all over that! 🙂  The only catch (that takes about 30 seconds to do) is to make sure you cancel your subscription after your order arrives so that they do not regularly send you diapers.  Unless, of course, you want them to.   I first ordered my box of size 4 diapers in early November- we are still working through that box.  But then I got an email saying that my membership to Amazon Mom was going to expire in December so I decided to try to order another box of size 4 diapers and see if I could get the same price again.  It worked!  They arrived at my door just 2 days later!  Once I received them, I just canceled my subscription and I was good to go. On their site they say that any care givers can sign up, so once my free membership expires (my understanding is that they extend it a month for every $25 you spend) I’m planning to sign up my hubby so we can keep getting these diapers!

Just a thought- I would price out your diapers of choice first at the store.  When I went to order newborn diapers they were not any cheaper than the walmart brand- but the size 1 diapers (I’m talking about Luvs brand) were actually a better deal online.  Anyway… figure out the best deal for you before you place your order!  But we have been happily using our cheaper diapers around here.  Thanks Amazon Mom!

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We purchased our van almost 2 years ago at an auction over the internet.  We had not seen it or taken it for a drive before we handed over the cash to purchase it.  We just had a list of “must haves” and this van ended up being in our budget and had our list of what we were looking for.  We did not have remote entry on our list- but much to my delight our van came with this feature.  I knew it was a blessing and a curse at the same time.  Once I got used to the feature (I used it all the time now since I can push a button in the house and it opens the van door so the kids can to run out to the van and start getting buckled while I am still on my way out the door) I knew it would be a hard habit to kill.  But I knew in the back of my head  it was just another thing “that could break” that I knew would probably not end up in our budget to fix some day.

Well, that day was last month when the key started to not work on a regular basis.  And seeing as how we are saving like crazy for baby Rocky these days I knew that a new $180.00 remote key would not be making it into the budget.

But just in case… I decided to stop by the dealer and have them look at the key to see if it was something they could fix.   I figured it had a battery in it somewhere, but for the life of me I could not figure out how to get to it.  We walked into the shop and the guy got out the little machine and said the battery was fine.  So then he tried another machine and said “Well, maybe the battery is a little weak.”  He went in the back and got a new battery and tried testing it again against the first machine.  Well, nothing was happening.  He went back and got his co-worker and told him what was going on and the 2nd guy said “It is probably the transmitter on the key- looks like you just need a new key…. which is $180.00.”  Slightly defeated I sighed and said something to the effect that I would not be buying a new key.  But then the 2nd guy said, “Hey, I think that machine you were trying the battery strength against has timed out… turn it back on and try it again.”  The first guy looked shocked and embarrased but then flipped on the machine and tried pushing buttons all over the key again.  At once I heard our van panick alarm going off and I could not stop the huge smile that found its way to my face!  Woo hoo!

We checked out up at the register for the new batter and they guy said “Well, instead of $180.00, your total is $3.48… that is almost like winning the lottery!” 🙂  I couldn’t have agreed more!  I paid for my new battery and walked outside with the kids to find the van with the sliding doors open already waiting for us.  I tried the key once more in the parking lot to make sure and it worked.  Both doors opened and I could lock and unlock the van with a push of a button!  I cheered and the kids (not really knowing why mom was cheering) started yelling too! Fairly certain some people were staring at us once we pulled out of the drive.  But I did not care- I was so… thankful to have my van key in working order again!  Here’s to hoping this battery lasts us for years to come!

It was one of those “drive by garage sales”.  I was already going to the bank, saw the sign and decided to drive by and see if it was worth the stop with the kids. My gut told me no, there were a few plastic toys on the driveway and a garage full of stuff, but nothing screamed “stop”!  But then again, I didn’t have much to do for the next hour before we got lunch, so I parked the van, unloaded the kids and started walking.  The first 2 min inside I found myself thinking “I told you not to stop…”  But then I spotted these two gems:

$1.25 for a glass bread pan and another $1.25 for a glass pitcher!  *Enter happy dance!*  You see, over the last year I have been s-l-o-w-l-y trying to get our family away from plastics.  And while this is a work in progress (glass is expensive!) I have managed to change over my tupperware to this as I scored a deal the day after Thanksgiving last year.  My bread pans have been the most work to replace to say the least.  I had 4 metal ones that I had registered for from Target when we got married that were all scratched up and rusted.  I decided instead of replacing them with cheap metal ones again that will need replaced in a few years, that I would go ahead and find glass bread pans for my future baking needs.  Plus, I don’t bake bread all that much so I just kept putting it off.  Finally last spring I found a glass bread pan at a second hand store for $3.99 so I took the plunge, bought it and tossed the metal rusted ones.  My mom found me another glass bread pan at another second hand store for $3.99 so for the last 6-8 months I have been just using those two.  Due to me being sick and the hot weather, baking bread has not been on my priority list.  But now that the cool weather is here (hopefully to stay!) I am looking forward to more baking.  And at $1.25!  WOOT!  I wanted to ask if they had more inside… but I held my tongue. 🙂  And as far as pitchers go, I had this awesome huge tupperware one that I love that I snagged at a garage sale years ago for $1! It was perfect for large crouds and super durable.  However, it is plastic…. so in the back of my head I’ve been “watching” for a used glass one.  But again, glass pitchers are expensive, they break and are not usually very big.  However, for $1.25- I can’t go wrong- right? 🙂

I finally found my beloved usb cord this morning so now I feel as though I can blog again.  Because you know… a blog is not complete without pictures! 🙂  We ran to Walmart yesterday for a few items and if you have been there in the last month or two… things are in utter and complete chaos.  They are rearranging and it seems as though every time I go, things are in a new place.  It has been somewhat frustrating at times, but the plus side to all of this is that there are so many employees working on changing things around that I hardly have to wait more than 5 seconds before I can find someone to ask the location of a particular item.  Anyhow, we were strolling down the main aisle along the cash registers yesterday when we first walked in and they had about 12 carts of “CLEARANCE/ROLL BACK” items.  I was shocked at the amount of stuff in these carts, but I was giddy as a school girl when I came across the few carts labeled “all items $.10”.  I immediately started tossing things into my cart.  Some items for my kids for Christmas (yes, they saw them- I’m just hoping they forget by Christmas!) but mostly for my Operation Christmas Child Boxes .  I ended up with the following for a grand total of $2.20!  (Ok, minus the onion and the shovels you see in the back. 🙂 )

And here is the crew proudly showing off our loot. 🙂

And no, we did not keep all of that for our shoe boxes.  My goal this year is to fill 4 boxes and be able to pay shipping for those boxes.  So we took 4 of each and passed along the bag to friends so they could benefit as well.  I mean, what is a good deal if you can’t pass it along and bless others? 🙂  Seriously, I think my husband just shakes his head at me sometimes… 🙂  Anyhow, we are getting excited for how our boxes are going to be filled.  One of these days I’m going to get my 4 boxes and have the kids help me start filling them and sorting through things (it is all in a giant stash in box at the moment) and it should be quite fun!

We just returned home from our 2nd annual dress like a cow and great free food adventure! Once again it was a success!  Only this time there were more friends that could join us.  Belle and Johnny had fun helping me get the costumes ready yesterday and Johnny kept telling me he was going to “ROAR!”  instead of “MOO” when it came time to get the food. 🙂  He ended up mooing just a little “moo” and we were on our way.  I think we might have been the first customers of the day dressed like cows- all the ladies behind the counters were beaming and one of them was taking pictures of all the kids.  Without further ado- I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story. 🙂

A few months ago, it seemed like every other blog I regularly read was asking their readers if they had signed up for Vocalpoint.  It took me a while to sign up as I wondered if it would really work.  But then I figured I would give it a try and in Feb, 2010 I signed up.  I have received 4 samples so far and the idea is to use the sample, then log in to your account and give a review.  Seriously, so easy.  In fact my computer stays logged in on the site, so I just pull up the site, leave my 1-2 sentence comment and a viola!  Yesterday was SO FUN to get the mail- look what came in my mailbox!

AND

Now if opening your mailbox and finding these doesn’t brighten your afternoon… I’m not sure what will! 🙂  I didn’t even care what was inside of the packages- they still brought a smile to my face.  And much to my delight I am able to put use both samples and I received 7 high dollar coupons along with my products.  Check it.

Here are three samples of Crystal Light Pure Fitness

And 3 Pampers Cruisers (sorry I couldn’t get the photo to rotate)

Anyhow, I’m still smiling at my treasures that I received yesterday and look forward to many more as I continue to give them my feedback.  Ps.  Vocalpoint did not pay me or give me any incentive to write this post- I just figured a little PR “thank you” was in order! 🙂

Super stoked last week when my garage sale adventures lead to me a house with WAY cute maternity clothes.  I snagged 2 skirts, 1 pair of capris, 3 tank tops, 1 short sleeve white shirt (not pictured… I forgot about it until I did laundry later-ha!) and a graphic long sleeve shirt for the fall!  All of those wonderful treasures for $7!!  Seriously, I never thought I would find uber cute maternity clothes while garage saling and at $.50 or $1 per item… you can’t go wrong!

And since the stuff on the dresser is hard to see, here is a close up of those items:

Thanks to my friend Leslie showing me the ropes of couping/deal finding a few years ago, I’ve been on a roll.  We have a four teared plastic shelf in one of our closets thats hold most of my loot.  We moved almost 2 years ago, and every time  since then when I open up the closet door, I am reminded of how chaotic those shelves were becoming.  Did I do anything about it?  Nope, I would just vacuum up the dust bunnies that escaped occationally and just kept shoving my deals into the cabinet.  The ONLY reason I decided to get motivated enough to clear it out is that the side tubes that hold up the shelves are hallow.  One day I accidentally knocked the kids face (stick) sunscreen over and it fell down all the way to the floor inside the tube.  I tried for a good 5 min to move and shift everything just so I could get the sunscreen out and shut the door again.  Much to my chagrin, it wouldn’t budge.  So I decided to make an adventure out of it and allowed the kids to help me empty out the shelves so I could clean everything, sort it all and finally retrieve our almost new sunscreen. The kids were delighted to help – most of all because this stuff is always a “no touch”- I think they felt like they were at Walmart helping me shop.  🙂 Thankfully I got the shelves cleaned and everything vacuumed out.  AND I now know what I have and what stuff to STOP purchasing… even if it is pennies on the dollar.  We are covered in the shampoo and conditioner, soap and body wash, toothpaste and toothbrush, razors and shaving cream, light bulbs, tylenol and deodorant department. 🙂  Still sad that my 120 rolls of toilet paper for $15.86 did not pan out… but I will keep looking for a killer toilet paper deal!  I am excited to look at my list for June for our personal care budget (where most of those items listed above would come be purchased) and see room to buy some ingredients for some green cleaning products.  Yes, I know they are cheaper than regular cleaning products, but not when you get them for $.25 and you have 15 bottles to use up. 🙂  I have cleared out most of my stash of regular cleaning products and I’m excited to get a few basic ingredients (castile soap, tea tree oils, ect) to get started on our green cleaning products!  Stay tuned to see my new stash of those once I get them made!!