Category Archives: Money Saving Ideas
Have you ever seen those adorable cute decorative boxes for holding your things? Well here I’m going to give you a “how to” for making them yourselves and making them for cheap! Personally I think they are more sturdy too.
You will need the following items:
- Card board box – Use an empty refrigerator or stove box. You can get them for free typically from an appliance store just call ahead
- Box cutter (a sharp one, NOT dull) We don’t want accidents here
- A marker
- Fabric, duct tape or contact paper
- Measuring tape
- Glue if you plan on using fabric
Directions lay your box out on the floor that you will using
Once you have done that draw the lines above. The solid lines are for a cut that you will make that will go straight through the box. The wiggly lines are where you are going to take your box cutter and make a line with it (DON’T go all the way through the cardboard or even half way, Otherwise when you fold the cardboard it will break) You only want to do it lightly so when you go to bend your box into the shape you want, it will bend easy.
Now take your box and bend all the sides like the picture above.
Once you have done that go ahead and start taping the inside and the outside of your box. You can also use glue if you want but it will take longer to make.
Now grab your box that you made and measure the fabric or contact paper you want to use to cover it.
Now I used a strip of contact paper and just did the inside. (Remember when laying the contact paper in your box that you don’t use your finger nail to press it in the corners or edges “it will tear the contact paper” But use the tip of your finger to smooth it down.
Once you have measured your contact paper or fabric and you have covered your box in it. Now you are set to place the items you want in the box. “If you used fabric and glue, make sure it is dry before placing items in it”.
I made this box for our headphones that we use for gaming on the computer. Now my computer desk doesn’t look so cluttered. Yeah not as much clutter on the desk now.
Have you ever created your own decorative boxes before?
Last year for my 4-year-old’s birthday party, I had a few people ask what they could get him. I gave a few ideas one of which being a REAL mini tool set. you know those tiny hammers, tiny screwdrivers and so on. Well He didn’t get a real one he got an imagination one. Which was fine. HE LOVED it anyway. Which is what counts anyways. This year for his birthday he WILL be getting that mini tool set. Why? Well as I was working on my Mother in-laws surprise last week. My eldest son asked for a hammer and some nails and some scrap wood that we were not using. I said sure and told him to be careful. I didn’t have to show him how to handle a hammer. “After all he did have an imagination one for almost a year.” I was busy building my thing and he was busy building his. 30 minutes passed and he comes to me and says LOOK Mommy!
I made a plane!
Isn’t it cool Mommy?
Can I paint it? What could I say? I’m still in shock and sooooo proud of my 4 year old for making an airplane out of scraps of wood. I already had the paint out since I was painting. So I handed over the paint brush and container and said have had it. I put a plastic bag over him after I created a hole for his head and his arms. I really didn’t want paint on his swim shorts or on his skin. We placed some newspaper on the grass and he had a blast.
His airplane turned out great!
I am so proud of him and what he created by just putting his mind to it.
So the lesson is this. Even though there might be fingers that get hammered, nails that keep slipping, nails becoming crooked. It still is an accomplishment even through tears and frustrations. It will be a time where a child and a parent will forget about all the rest and smile from ear to ear and be proud at the accomplishment.
So give your child or children some nails, a hammer and some scraps of wood and see what their little minds will create. You might be surprised and you might be shocked at what they create. There is nothing quite like creating a piece of 3D art work on your own.
Have you ever given your child/ren a hammer, nails and some wood? What did they create?
I LOVE Bacon! I feel horrible for those of you that can’t have bacon or have chosen to not eat it! I just can’t resist that smell in the morning when bacon is frying up in the pan. Not to mention the crisp taste as I bite down. Yep I love bacon! and I so easily could eat a pound by myself. However I’m a mom and must share with my kiddos 😉
There are benefits to cooking and frying up bacon and eating your heart out. Here are a few of them.
- Bacon is healthier for you than some cuts of meat.
- Bacon has less total fat, cholesterol and saturated fat than some cuts of chicken and beef
- Bacon helps to fully satisfy your appetite with high protein and low carbs. Bacon will actually help you lose weight because it helps one’s metabolism and it will build healthier muscles that are leaner and stronger.
- Bacon has choline in it which is a very important nutrient. Choline is known for helping increasing memory and intelligence which is great from conception all the way to senior status. Even University studies have been able to show that it helps fight debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s disease and many other chronic mental conditions.
- What are the nutrients that are found in bacon you may ask?
- Vitamin b1 “Thiamin” – 65% of our Recommended daily intake
- Vitamin B3 “Niacin” – 47% of our recommended daily intake
- Vitamin B12 – 38% o of our RDI
- Zinc – 36% of our RDI
- Vitamin B6 – 24% of our RDI
- Vitamin B2 “Riboflavin” – 22% of our RDI
- Phosphorus – 22% of our RDI
- Pantothenate – 10% of our RDI
- Magnesium – 10% of our RDI
- Iron – 9% of our RDI
- The protein to fat is 4 to 1 which is one of the highest fat to protein ratios in any meat that is found on earth.
- Feeling sad? Bacon will help you feel happy, blissful and satisfied. It also helps reduce stress and it also helps relieve negative frustrations. So in other words feeling depressed a serving of bacon will pick you up.
Now when I cook bacon up I save all that wonderful bacon fat that is sitting in the bottom of the pan.
By saving your bacon fat you will save money on buying cooking sprays, butter and anything else you use to keep food from sticking on the bottom of your pans. To save your bacon fat, place it in a container that can handle heat. “Microwavable container or glass jar with a lid”.
Once you have placed that excess fat in a container put it in your fridge for the next time you need to pull it out and use it. I love using bacon fat whenever I make eggs. “Which is quite often”. When your ready to use it grab a spoon or knife and take about a tablespoon or two out and place in your pan.
Once it has melted add your eggs or other food that you like bacon flavoring in.
Yummy! Once my eggs are done cooking my pan. It looks like this once I have dished up my eggs onto plates.
Ahh a success and it didn’t cost me extra money and I get a little bit of bacon flavoring in my eggs. A double whammy:-)
Have you ever saved bacon fat before? If so what foods have you used it for?
I love croutons! They have a wonderful taste and they can go with most everything. The flavor, the crunch and simplicity of making. Make it all worth while when it comes to making your very own. Oh did I mention IT is so much CHEAPER.
Croutons come in many different flavors and you can created most of them at home with only a few ingredients that you most likely already have in your cupboards and or fridge.
My favorite lately has been ranch flavored croutons. Ahhh they just melt in my mouth. You can garlic flavored, basil flavored, cheese flavored and just about any other spice you have in your kitchen.
Ok enough with how they taste let’s get started.
You will need the following.
- Bread “this is great if you accidentally left the bread bag open and a few pieces started to dry out” You will need about 6 slices. Otherwise I have used hotdog buns and hamburger buns to make these.
- Half a stick of butter “4 tablespoons” up to 6 tablespoons.
- Large bowl
- Cutting Board
- Microwavable bowl
- Oven set at 350
- Cookie sheet
- Your seasonings
Now let’s get started making these awesome tasting croutons.
Grab your bread and cut into small squares. “About the size you normally see croutons”. Once you have cut them all up and you have approximately 4 cups – 6 cups place them in a large bowl.
Now grab your butter. “For every 1 cup of bread add 1 tablespoon of butter.” place it in the microwave and heat until the butter is melted.
Next you will want to add your flavoring.
- Garlic flavored – 2 tablespoons of garlic salt or 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
- Ranch flavored – 1/2 a packet of a dried ranch packet or 2 to 3 tablespoons of ranch dressing. “You can add more if you want a richer ranch flavor”
- Butter flavored – Just leave your butter untouched and follow the rest of the directions below
- Cheese Flavored – 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese or 1/4 to 1/2 cup of any cheese flavor you want. “You will have to melt the cheese in the microwavable bowl with the butter.
- Caesar flavored – Same as Ranch directions
- Any other dressing flavors that you want your croutons to be, just follow the Ranch recipe above.
The possibilities are endless for flavors
Once you have added your flavorings, go ahead and whisk that up. Once it has been really mixed and there are no more clumps. Drizzle half of the butter mixture over the bread chunks that you have previously cut up. Mix it all together now drizzle the last half of the butter and seasoning mixture together until all the bread chunks have been coated well.
Now go ahead and place it on your cookie sheet. “Yes my cookie sheets are scarred from all the cooking I do. But I love them and they hold lots of memories of the deliciousness that happens in my kitchen” 🙂
Next place your cookie sheet in the oven at 350 and bake for about 10 minutes. At the 5 min mark go ahead and move your croutons around on the pan so they don’t get to dark on one side. The longer you bake them the crispier they will get. We like ours crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Once your croutons have started to turn brown they are done. Unless you like yours super crunchy bake them a little longer.
Now your croutons are done and it cost you less than a dollar to make enough that would normally be in a bag of croutons that you would buy at the store.
What is your favorite flavor for croutons?
I just love bacon bits, but have you ever looked at the ingredient list on the back? EWW. So instead of buying bacon bits. I decided to make my very own.
Lately my family and I have been into salads. Our favorite seems to be a chef salad. We use romaine lettuce. I find that it taste better and is cheaper than iceberg lettuce. Plus you get more “lettuce for your money”. Diced Tomatoes, Crushed hard-boiled eggs, shredded carrots, Bacon bits and than any of our favorite dressings.
Bacon bits are one of our “toppings” that we add to our salads and it is so worth it in the end. I think these homemade bacon bits “make” the salad very tasty and very yummmmmy.
To get started you will need to grab the following
- 1/2 lb of bacon “Will feed about 5-6 people”
- Frying pan
- Cooking Scissors “We have a pair that is ONLY used for cooking purposes” If you don’t have a pair I highly recommend you buy one at your local department store in the cooking utensil aisle.
- Spatula for the frying pan
- Stove top
- Plate with NO paper towel “unless you really don’t like the fat drippings from the bacon.”
- Hungry mouths
Once you have gathered all your supplies let’s get cooking.
You will need to grab your bacon and start cutting your bacon in slices from one end of the bacon to the other. Just remember that if you want your bacon bits smaller you will have to do more cutting with your scissors. Once you have cut up all your bacon. Add it to your frying pan and cook medium heat.
Awe look at it really bubbling. It’s almost done.
Now the bacon is nice and crispy and ready for the bowl. We don’t use a paper towel or anything to soak up the extra fat drippings. WE love the taste and it adds a little more flavor to our salads.
* This is a small cereal bowl.*
Now your bacon bits are finished and ready for your salads or anything else you use bacon bits for.
Our yummy salad.
*Just a reminder if you don’t use them up with your meal. They must be refrigerated.*
Have you tried making your own bacon bits before? What are some of the toppings you love to add to your salads?
I’m sure you have heard the phrase “breast is better”. To tell you the truth I would have to agree. Right now my daughter is 10 months old and sad to say she has been weening herself for the last couple months. She now only wants to eat when she goes down for a nap or bedtime. I have only made it this long because I would remove her from the distractions around her and go to a quiet room. It helped but she was still a pistol pie at times. I love breast feeding and I’m sure those that use formula love that too. There was a point in time where I was about to give up and go the formula route but I knew I needed to hang in there. The cost of formula didn’t fit our budget.
But here are the reasons for breastfeeding and why I did it with all 3 of my kids until they were almost a year old.
PROS to Breastfeeding
- It’s FREE
- Always available
- It can help prevent SIDS according to American Academy of Pediatrics
- It contains infection fighting white blood cells. It also contains natural chemicals that give increased protection from infections.
- It contains the perfect amount of nutrients for your baby
- It is easy to digest for the baby
- Midnight feedings are easy. You can go back to sleep while they nurse. “Co Sleeping” I did this. I was able to get more sleep and I enjoyed the snuggles from my little one.
- It helps create a bond between mother and baby
- Perfect temp for baby to drink.
- Breast milk is sweet. Babies LOVE the taste.
- It may also help prevent allergies in your baby later on.
- It may also help decrease obesity later on for them.
- And for one breastfeeding is absolutely awesome for moms IT HELPS YOU LOSE WEIGHT FASTER. So you can get back to you pre-baby weight.
- Your breast milk may also contain fatty acids that help with brain development. I usually just eat a lot more fish or I take DHA. It awesome for you and your baby.
- Baby spit up doesn’t stain as much if at all on clothes.
- The older your baby gets the more it eats and your breast milk will also increase to help satisfy your baby. Just remember these 3 simple words Supply and demand
CONS to Breastfeeding
- It can be time consuming. You can buy a nursing pillow that you attach around your waist. So you can multitask.
- Your breasts can hurt when you start breastfeeding
- If you go back to work you have to pump on your breaks click here for the breastfeeding law. By the way in the state I live. We can breastfeed in public and it is not considered indecent exposure. 🙂 Check with your local state legislation on laws that pertain to breastfeeding. You may be surprised.
- You can become more exhausted because your body is working extra hard to burn more calories to make breast milk. But hey you are losing that extra baby weight faster.
- You might have to eat differently if your child is reacting to something you are eating.
- You can become engorged in the beginning as your breasts are trying to figure out how much milk to make for your little one. Click here to find what to do for relief.
- Hard to feed your child while traveling. You would have to pump.
Pros for Formula feeding
- Family member’s and friends can help feed your baby while giving you a break or allowing you to go back to work sooner.
- You don’t have to deal with engorged breasts
- You can feed your child anywhere that you have clean water available
- Your breasts won’t hurt
- Your baby may sleep longer in-between feedings.
- You can eat and drink whatever you want
Cons for Formula feeding
- It’s expensive $25 – $40 a week depending on brand. Total cost a year $1300 – $2080.
- Night time feedings stink. You have to get up and out of bed and make a bottle.
- You will have to go out and buy more when you are running low.
- Your baby has a greater chance of having SIDS.
- Your baby is more prone to sickness and diseases this includes more prone to ear aches and urine infections.
- When mixing the formula you can get the mixture wrong making it thin, thick, hot or cold.
- In studies done children that are formula fed are more likely to be obese at least until age 6.
- Takes a lot of time to sterilize bottles and equipment used to make bottles.
- It isn’t as easily digestible and you may have to change formula brand and type several times to find the perfect one for your baby.
- Formula isn’t perfect. Even though manufactures are constantly changing the formula to be more like mother’s milk. It still isn’t perfect.
- It tastes gross compared to the sweetness of breast milk
- Baby spit up from formula fed babies stains clothing a lot easier.
- Your formula can could be recalled
I know there seems to be more cons to formula than to breast milk. But my take on it is this. In both circumstances whatever you choose to do. In the end you will have to decide what is right and what works well for your family.
Below are links that talk more about the advantages of breastfeeding versus formula feeding. I hope you find them useful.
I would love to hear your take on why you chose or are choosing to breastfeed or formula feed over the other. Also feel free to ask questions.
Yep that nasty word. BATS!
I will tell you what, I never realized how much I despise those creatures. How much they disgust me beyond measure. Eww Eww Eww is what I have to say to them. I also never realized how much I “fear” them. Until this past Sunday afternoon when I had time to think back to what had just happened that morning. Yes a bat story. One I’m sure that will have you laughing. Needless to say it reminded me of watching my two younger sisters freak out about spiders and how they would pay our younger brother just to come and kill them as they screamed and got as far as they possibly could away from them….. LOL. Yes I laughed at them. Hey in fact I bought fake spiders and well needless to say I wasn’t very nice. So now I feel that God is well, getting back at me. Serves me right I guess. So here it goes.
A little back story
Recently my mother in-law has been having some work done on a portion of her house. They had to remove the ceiling “not the roof portion” over one half of the house. So now she has bats that found their way into the rafters of the family and dining room and occasionally as I found out on Sunday they also have found their way into the bathroom on that side of the house.
My awesome husband had been capturing bats the night before and had already caught 24 of those disgusting things. “Yes he was keeping track” It kinda reminded me of the fairy tale of the man who wore a belt that had killed seven at one time “referring to killing seven flies all at one time”.
Well needless to say I was just happy that he was removing them. Eww and gross all at the same time. Glad it wasn’t me.
We spent the night at my in-laws so we could spend some extra time with my sister in-law that had come for a visit. Sunday morning I got up early so I could go take a bath “I LOVE baths” and it was still quiet in the house and everyone and I mean EVERYONE is still sleeping. I walk to the bathroom and look in the tub. There were toys in the tub from the night before when kids had taken their baths. So I started to pick them up. Mind you I’m still very groggy and tired. I see something that is black/brown and looked like a big turd. I thought to myself “Eww. Oh the joys of motherhood” so as I grabbed a toy that was right by it. It hit me! “EWW, EWW, EWW it’s a bat. GROSS and there are TWO of them!!!!
I so very slowly walked out of that bathroom and walked briskly to the bedroom where my hubby was sawing logs and I shook him awake. “By the way that man is very hard to wake up most of the time.” I think because of the tone of my voice he woke up right away and sat up in bed. I told him in a panicky/whining voice “Nathan, there are bats in the tub. Please come get them. They are dead. He very groggily said “ok” Then the next words out of his mouth was not what I wanted to hear he said “go grab the dust pan and the pliers, pick them up by the wing gently and toss them outside the backdoor”. Yep that is what my awesome husband told me. I will tell you what I begged him. I promised him that I would do just about anything for him if he would just take care of the bats. Well needless to say that didn’t work.So I went and got the dustpan and pliers. “all the while freaking out inside” I walked into the bathroom and just stood there looking at those two bats laying in the tub still near some bath toys. I took a deep breath. My hubby walks in right than” Relief spread across my face as I thought “Oh good he is here to do it” Nope not the case. He gently said “Amber just use the pliers and gently pick one up by the wing and take it outside”. I very much begged my husband to please do it. The answer was still a gentle no and I know you can do it hunny. I bent down slowly and touched one of the bats with the pliers. IT MOVED! Yep it moved! IT WASN”T DEAD! I jumped and screamed. My hunny “I love him to pieces with a slight smile on his face told me “Just use the dustpan and scoop it up”. Well I wanted to kill two birds with one stone so I tried to scoop both of them up with the dustpan at the same time.
IT didn’t work. one sorta crawled/fell off the dustpan. Yes I screamed again. I did this little jaunt half run/half walk with my right arm fully extended out and the dust pan as far away from my head as possible. I kept screaming. I didn’t make it to the back door. I made it to the front door which was closer. I yanked that door open with all my might I hit the screen door handled and I tossed the bat off to the side of the porch “Well at least I tried to toss it off to the side” IT CLUNG ONTO the dust pan. I screamed. I practically had to hang unto the dust pan and really shake/throw the bat off. I did this prancing in place. Yep prancing. EWW GROSS. by this time it still hasn’t hit me that I could be waking the whole house up. I started to walk back inside knowing full well that I still had one more bat to go. Relief flooded me as I saw my husband with a huge smile on his face and the last bat in the grasp of the pliers. wiggling and squeaking. He tossed the bat off to the side. I thanked my hubby profusely as we walked back inside the house. He said “your welcome” with a smile on his face and a slight laugh in his voice. No one in the house woke up from my screaming. Which was miraculous. Now when I think back to yesterday. I can’t help but laugh. I might have been a tom boy growing up. However bats can stay in their own little homes and leave EVERY place that I decided to sleep or reside in ALONE!
If you would like to know more about bats click HERE
If you have bat problems and would like help click HERE
If bats keep sneaking into your house. Click HERE for natural alternatives to keeping them away.
Ahh who said car washes had to be boring or expensive. Grab your kids or your spouse ahh heck grab everyone. Even some neighborhood kids who need something to do.
Now just a pre-warning. Everyone and I mean Everyone will get WET!
Now to make the car wash a success you will need the following.
- Help, No matter how small
- A little bit of dish soap
- A Bucket
- Wash rags “my favorite are the microfiber clothes”
- Vinegar in a spray bottle
- Most importantly the garden hose and a water hook-up
- Some towels to dry your vehicles off if you don’t want water spots
Now the How to:
Add some dish soap to a bucket of water and wash and scrub the vehicles. Once all the dirt is gone. Rinse the soapy water off to make it nice and clean. Grab some towels for drying the vehicle off. “If you don’t want water spots”. Mind you, there are no rules about getting anyone wet. Also “Don’t forget a corner of the towel dipped in water and twisted and a flick of your wrist will make a nice snapping sound.” Hehe.
If you want that little extra sparkle and the fogginess to disappear from your headlights. Clean them with toothpaste. Now grab your vinegar and spray bottle and spray your windows inside and out. Clean and rub dry with the microfiber cloths for a sparkling clean.
Now, if not everyone is wet. Now is the time to “rinse the buckets and fill again” Once they’re filled again. Yep you got it. Go dump it on someone who is dry that was helping you so call wash the vehicles. 🙂
Here is some of our family fun. Granted We didn’t get that wet since it was just the 3 of us. But hey, fun is fun no matter how small.
Yep, here is the youngest. Isn’t she doing a great job overseeing the car washing?
I’m a little short so the middle of the car gets missed A LOT, unless one of my kids begs me to climb up and clean.
Yep I gave in.
Now he had so much fun washing the car he had to wash his bike too.
Now he isn’t very wet. He begged mommy not to get him wet. So I obliged.
I got him earlier this week with the hose. 😉
Now just think about how much money you saved. You washed your own vehicle and had much more fun doing it than watching some brushes spin around at a car wash.
Question of the day:
Do you wash your own vehicles and what are things that you do to make it fun and or less expensive?
With temperatures rising. Cool or cold sounds pretty nice right about now. Well there is nothing like finding ways to cool down.
We have central air in our house which is a huge blessing.
With that said, our upstairs bedrooms gets pretty hot at times. So we use an oscillating fan in our main bedroom.
Whenever we make our bed I place our daughter on the bed since she just loves it when I make the bed on top of her. It has become a game. I don’t mind making the bed 10 times all at once because her smile and giggles make it all worth while. I did this with all of our kids at this age. And each one would smile and giggle and toss the sheets and blankets to the side and play peek-a-boo. So on one such occasion it struck me why not bring the fan over and place the sheet a little bit over it. It was so simple to do. She had a blast and then one of her older brothers got caught in the action.
So here is the down low
- Grab a sheet a queen or king will work great
- A fan “Box fan” if you do it on the ground/floor
- An outlet “Very Important to have electricity” hehe
- grab a few extra blankets or tape
- Take your sheet and place it down, put a blanket or tape at one end and the fan at the other
- Turn the fan on that is after you plugged it in. 🙂
- Now deciding on how high you want the sheet to go. Tape the sides down or place blankets on the side to keep them down
- Grab your kiddos and hey why not yourself. Sin underneath and enjoy the breeze.
Here 2 of the 3 kiddos enjoying themselves. The eldest went on a date with dad.
Try this out and leave a comment below on your thoughts