No Thank You

A while back after I got my DAR certificate in the mail, I wanted to get a frame for it. We planned on putting it a wall next to Russell’s diploma and Eagle Scout plaque. His diploma has a really nice green and gold matting (the school’s colors) and since the DAR insignia is navy blue and gold we thought getting matching matting would be perfect. Since I was looking for something specific I went to a big chain frame store (which I won’t name but I am sure you could guess) to look around. I was really disappointed in their “selection”. In the 8×10 size they only has 3 colors for matting: white, black and cream. I asked the girl working there if other colors could be ordered since they carried many more colors in the smaller sizes. She told me no, that they couldn’t do that and I should just get it custom framed. Russell and had talked about making it look really nice, so I was willing to get an estimate.

Ha!

I was shocked. All I wanted was a simple frame with a blue and gold matting. I never would have imagined that this request would be estimated to cost more than half of a mortgage payment! I said I would need some time (code for “Heck No!”) to think and left. I went Across the street to Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts and found exactly what I was looking for. I knew they did custom framing as well, and I always get coupons for them in the mail so I figured it couldn’t hurt. Turns out I didn’t need to even have a custom frame made. They had tons of different colored mattes and a good selection of frames. I did have to buy two matte sets, one white with gold, and one blue with white, to achieve my blue/gold set, but all in all I found everything I was looking for. I walked out the door $25 later and love the way it turned out.

It isn’t the best picture, but you get the idea. I love the simple but old fashioned look of the frame, and the blue and gold match the insignia perfectly.

(Personal info removed for privacy.)

The best part of the story is that yesterday someone from unmentioned frame store called to see if I was still interested in having a custom frame made. No thank you! It was so satisfying to be able to tell him that I found exactly what I wanted right across the street from them for about 1/17 the price.

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Published in: on May 23, 2012 at 9:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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More Tips for Cloth Diapers

This is my third blog on cloth diapers. To check out reasons why to use cloth click here, and for a suggested starter list and basic laundering click here. Today’s post is more tips for the current user. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact me!

Diaper Rash Creams

Please be careful about what types of diaper rash cream you use with your cloth diapers! Many of the most common brands like A&D and Desitin will react very poorly with cloth.

I just heard wonderful things about coconut oil as a diaper rash cream, and am so excited to give it a try. Our girls little butts are very sensitive to certain foods (tomato and citrus especially) and are prone to irritation. Coconut oil is supposed to work wonders and wash completely out with no changes to your laundry routine. I will be picking some up this weekend and will let you know how it goes.

Stains

If you are getting stains on your diapers try laying them flat to dry in the sun. The sun naturally bleaches and sanitizes! If you have set in stains, try sprinkling a little lemon juice on the diapers and then lay them in the sun.

Stripping cloth diapers

If you use cloth diapers for any real length of time, chances are they are going to need to be stripped every now and then. You’ll be able to tell if your diapers need to be stripped if they are still stinky after washing. The most common reason for stinky diapers is detergent buildup. Cloth diapers only need about 1/4 the amount of soap recommended for regular use. Buildup of detergent is easy to check for. Simply run the diapers through the wash with NO detergent and open the lid part way through the cycle. If you’ve got suds you have been using too much detergent.

It could be possible you aren’t using enough detergent also, but I would recommend washing with no soap and checking for suds before jumping to adding more detergent. If you have been using too little though, that is an easy fix. Simply start adding more (in small increments!)

Now, down to actually stripping. I use the baking soda method and have been very happy with. I add 1/2 – 1 cup of baking soda to clean diapers and wash on hottest setting until there are no more suds. (I turn up our water heater when stripping to get the hottest possible water – but make sure to turn it back down when you’re done!) Simple as that! It leaves my diapers smelling brand new.

If you are curious about any other part of cloth diapering please let me know! I am always happy to answer questions.

Published in: on December 15, 2011 at 4:16 pm  Comments (1)  
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Now That’s A Deal

I have made the girls’ Halloween costumes every year so far (two whole times!) But I also must confess that I did spend some money on costumes this year. The day AFTER Halloween. If you have young children and have never tried this… let me introduce you to something awesome. Go shopping the day after Halloween and buy the costumes at a huge discount. Be sure to buy a size or two up for longer wear.Throw them into a bin and you have cheap and easy dress up for your kids all year long. It is so cool. Check out what we found.

The best deals we got were the doctors outfit (scrubs, lab coat, stethoscope) which was MSRP $32.00 and I paid $4.50 and the Bavarian dress with flowery/ribbon headband MSRP $35.00, paid $5.

And as you can see, the girls did not enjoy either one very much…

I also happened to find a bunch of great baby stuff for next year for Sprout.

A bathrobe, pajamas, a four pack of long sleeve bodysuits and a bib. Total paid: $6.20.

All in all I had a savings of $133.30. Not a bad shopping trip in my book.

Published in: on November 2, 2011 at 8:15 am  Comments (2)  

Yum Yum

Many of you know I try to do things as natural as possible for my kids. I make our main cleaning chemicals, we use cloth diapers and I have always made their food myself. So I thought I would share two of the websites I have used along the way for food help and ideas.

First came Wholesome Baby Food. They have a ton of information on their site about when to introduce new foods and recipe and pairing advice. (what fruits and veggies go well together, not wine pairing suggestions πŸ™‚ )

Then as the girls kept growing we transitioned to Wholesome Toddler Food. The also have recipe ideas and serving suggestions. It is really helpful if you want to give your kids a balanced diet, but are not quite sure exactly what that looks like for their age/development.

So many options for pre-made foods for baby and kids out there are over processed and over preserved, and really… who needs more of that in their life? Simple foods are healthy, inexpensive and nutritious. Not to mention delicious!

If you would like an sample menu, here is what the girls had for lunch today:

Peanut Butter/Banana Sandwich

Strawberry/Kiwi Fruit Salad & Whole Milk Yogurt

Steamed Carrots

Cheddar Cheese Squares

with Graham Crackers and Multigrain Club Crackers to finish it off.

Published in: on April 27, 2011 at 1:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

FREE Groceries This Week!

… and probably most of next weeks as well, thanks to Fresh & Easy and Rent.com.

As many of you might know, our family has been on some tight finances for a while. My husband was let go from his job in August, and worked part time from then to December. For January through March he was a full time student and we had not only our mortgage, but rent on an apartment. But, by the grace of God we have survived and have not fallen behind on any of our bills. People are often asking me how I make our finances work, so I thought I would give an example of how I save us money.

One of the bills that our family and friends comment on the most is our weekly grocery bill, which I manage to keep right around $40. For our family of four. I am able to do that through a combination of sale-buying, stocking up and coupons. Let me say though, while there are some people out there like MyVegasMommy who are extreme coupon-ers and save hundreds of dollars, I am not as talented. Rather, I do not have the patience and desire to put that much effort into it. I did however sign up for weekly emails and mailers through my grocery store of choice, Fresh and Easy. Today I had a coupon for $10 off of $50 or more. So it was a week I stocked up a little extra on things we eat a lot of. (I also had a coupon for a free reusable bag, which is great as well!)

I did say our groceries were free this week, and here is why. Remember I said we had an apartment for the time Russell was going to school? Well I had found that apartment through Rent.com, which has a deal where when you sign a lease with one of their properties you get a free $100 visa card. Not bad since we had to do it anyways, so we took advantage and got $100 free. Well, we just received our card in the mail and to the grocery store I went.

Obviously this example does not work for everyone, and is not an all the time sort of thing, but saving money is about being aware of what kind of deals are out there and taking advantage of them when you can.

Published in: on April 11, 2011 at 10:32 am  Comments (2)  

Making Halloween Costumes – part 2

O.k. So some of the info for this blog can be found in Making Halloween Costumes – part 1. My supply list and the cap pictures I am going to leave out since they are already there. Today I’ll show you how I made the baby bumble bee costume, complete with stinger!

First I made the cap, and Kylie was very excited about it.

Then I dyed the white onsie yellow using Rit Dye color Golden Yellow. This time it worked perfectly and the color came out exactly right!

Then I added the black stripes around the front and back. (If you do this make sure to fold the edges under on each side to prevent fraying)

After all the stripes were attached (I used the machine to do that part) it was time for the stinger. I sewed a small black spot on the butt for the stinger to attach to. Then I made the stinger by sewing a small cone and filling it with stuffing and a folded pipe cleaner (to help it keep shape). The I sewed velcro onto each end so the stinger could be attached for play, but removed while in the car seat/etc.

Once again I added the black leggings and called it a day!

Published in: on November 9, 2010 at 9:53 am  Comments (2)  

Traveling with twins takes A LOT of planning – part one

My husband’s brother is getting married in Houston in March and it will be the first time we are flying anywhere with the girls. This poses some logistical questions about travel. Do we buy them their own seats on the plane, or attempt to make the journey with them in our laps? Do we buy disposable diapers while we are there, or travel with our cloth and find a way to wash them in Houston? How much luggage can we actually take with us??

I began to research baby rental sites for things we will need such as a crib or pack and play, and of course two car seats. These companies were easy to find, and actually are very convenient, even able to meet you at the airport to deliver most items. Here is a link I found in case you are interested in checking them out.

However, as I was pricing just these three items (play yard and two car seats) I started to wonder how good of a price it actually was. I found that the car seats for 22-40 pound babies were $10/day. Great, except two of those for multiple days add up quickly. Two car seats, plus one play yard, plus delivery fees and tax turned out to be $159.13 for just 3 days.

Since we recently bought their next stage car seats I know for a fact that you can get good toddler car seats BRAND NEW for less than $50. Since my in-laws live in Waco and might possibly just be driving down to Houston for the wedding I started wondering if maybe we would be better off to just buy new seats for the girls and leave them in Waco. If we made even one trip there before they outgrew the seats it would be a better deal. So I started checking around. I found this car seat on sale at Sears, for only $35 and it lasts up to 80 pounds! And this play yard also new for $35. The total for these items plus tax and shipping was $131.15. For less than a 3 day rental, we could have all three items to keep and use for years to come.

The lesson learned? Always do your research!

Published in: on October 22, 2010 at 10:33 am  Comments (1)  

Yard Sale finds

Today we hosted the LV Mothers of Multiples Annual Fall Yard Sale at our house. I really enjoyed spending time with the other moms and getting to know them better. I also sold some stuff (earnings yet to be determined) and of course bought a few things too. Mostly in 12m-2t sizes since the girls are already so well dressed, but who knows in another year or so! Check out my finds!

The PJ’s on the right are meant to be for boys, but I love them so I don’t care. There are two pairs of them that were actually just given to me as a “thank you” for being the hostess. How sweet! I love all the clothes we picked out, and we did get one more set that isn’t pictured because I am going to give it to someone and I want her to be surprised when she see’s it. I am also really excited about the popper toy, I love the classic toys like that and am very happy to have found this one. Anyways, thanks to all the MoM’s who worked shifts, helped set up and clean up, and sold items. I had a lot of fun!

Published in: on October 16, 2010 at 3:03 pm  Comments (1)  

Awesome Deals

This isΒ  a post for stay at home moms, or really anyone who has a little extra time online. I wanted to share some of the websites I use that I have found pay off.

Swagbucks Some of you may know about this already, but if not here it is. Swagbucks is a website that gives you rewards for searching the internet like you already do, but through their page. They also have surveys and polls and stuff that give rewards to. So far I have collected gift cards for Cafepress, CookiesKids, and Amazon.

MyView is a survey website that gives you rewards for taking their surveys. There are a lot of these out there, but this one doesn’t cost anything (you never have to pay to sign up for “great offers” and then give your opinion) or sign up for all sorts of things you don’t want. You simply qualify for a survey or you don’t. One cool thing is even if you don’t qualify for a survey you still get a small amount of points, which can really add up. Sometimes it can take a while to each enough points to actually collect anything, but they offer things from Restaurant.com gift cards, to Gap gift cards, to just regular prepaid Visa cards.

Then, my favorite… Viewpoints. This is the easiest way I have found to get some great rewards. Viewpoints is a website where people review products they already use at home. From baby products, to shampoo, to blenders. You can write reviews for free, OR you can wait until they offer incentives. The last one I did was 10 reviews for a $10 Amazon card. They have to be 900 characters long, and in certain categories, but it is fairly easy to do. Right now they are running a special 5-9 reviews $5 Amazon card, 10-19 reviews, $10 card, and 20+ reviews $25 card! I am going to take my reward cards and get Lost Season 6 for free. Booyah.

All of these websites do pay out, as I have received rewards already from each of them. So hopefully you can benefit from them too πŸ™‚

Published in: on September 29, 2010 at 8:49 am  Comments (2)  

A new store

So, tonight’s blog is going to be short and sweet. And only for my like-minded Las Vegas friends… so probably no one. Hehe. Anyways, we found a great little shop today called Well Rounded Baby. They sell cloth diapers and home birth kits and breastfeeding supplies. We bought two new Thirsties covers in the next size up for the girls. I encourage you to find a store in your area like it! It was really nice to be able to check out all the different products and supplies. Here is what we came home with:

Published in: on September 22, 2010 at 9:54 pm  Leave a Comment