Monday, February 22, 2010

Show me Your Giveaways!

This is a test post to see how the Mister linky works. Every Wednesday come here and link uop your giveaways.

Check out my giveaways too!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Keeping Kids artwork orginized from savvy moxie

to see full post visit Savvy Moxie

I sent this idea out (via email) to all of my Mommy friends about a year ago and I decided it’s worthy of a blog post. I don’t come up with a whole lot of good ideas, but I think this is one of them (excuse me as I pat myself on the back).

And, I figured now is the perfect time to post it – the new year is almost upon us. Many of us (if not most) will feel the need to organize our homes and clean out the clutter.

If you're like me, you have a LOT of artwork from your kids that you don't know what to do with. It took me 6+ years of trial and error, but I finally have a system that is working really well (and not taking up a lot of room!)

So, I thought I'd share it - because I would have LOVED advice on this 6 or so years ago.

I went to the craft store, Michaels, and bought 3 matching decorative accordion file boxes, in 3 different colors. (They cost $19.99 but I went three separate times with three 40% off coupons – you know, the ones that always come in the mail or are in the Sunday paper) so they came to $12 each plus tax. I’ve noticed that Hobby Lobby has similar accordion files and they often have a coupon on their website for 40% a single item in their store. You can find their weekly coupon by clicking here.

I also bought decorative letter stickers so that I could "write" each kid’s name on each folder.

Then, using my computer, I made labels for the inside sections - you know, for each grade. (I did not attach the grade stickers on in advance - just in case 2nd grade takes up less room than, let's say, 3rd grade.) I just printed out a sheet of all the grades, stuck on what we needed thus far, and put the rest of the sheet in a back section.

As Jordan or Bennett (and ultimately, Maclain) bring home their "art", I decide what is "keep worthy" and stick it in the current "slot" in the accordion file. The file is larger than 8 1/2 x 11 so it holds pretty big projects. I also save report cards, certificates, notes from teachers, photos that come home from events and things like that in there.

Then, I bought a different kind of accordion file for me and my husband. I divided it into 3 sections -one for each kid. In those slots go the things the kids make for us - you know, birthday cards, notes they write us, pictures they draw of our family, etc. AND, I always save, for myself, handprint and footprint artwork.

This way, when my kids are "old and gone" I can give each of them their folder - to have as a nice memory of their school years - and I have my own folder of special memories and "gifts" from the kids.

Hope this gives you all some good ideas! I bet many of you already have good systems, but since it took me so long to come up with one, I wanted to share it!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Here's what I was already doing:
Washing and re-using ziploc bags for as long as possible
Recycling cans, bottles, and any larger boxes
Trying not to use very much saran wrap, tin foil, etc.
Cooking from scratch, which meant little packaging from processed foods
Buying in bulk when possible
Buying concentrated, natural cleaning supplies
Re-using plastic shopping bags
Using cloth diapers and cloth wipes 99% of the time
Here's what I've started doing since December:
Regularly using my cloth shopping bags (I still forget on occasion, but I'm really trying)
Recycling everything I can think of- before I throw anything out, I examine it carefully to see whether it could possibly be recycled. I discovered I was throwing out many thing unnecessarily. For example, toothpaste, butter, and baking soda boxes. These small boxes add up, and take literally 5 seconds to fold down and toss in the blue bin (our recycling bin).
Starting a paper/cardboard recycling box underneath my desk. Out of sheer laziness, we were tossing most of our scrap papers. I recycled newspaper and larger amounts of paper, but all of those single pieces add up over time!
Started composting- this in itself has taken a huge chunk out of my garbage! I don't put anything with meat or dairy in it, to avoid having unwelcome animals visit my suburban backyard, but anything else, I add to the pile. And it is sooo simple!
Stopped buying food wrap. I use glass jars with lids, and re-usable tupperware-type containers to store everything in the fridge (or ziplocs, which I wash and re-use until they die on me). The only struggle is brining dishes to potlucks or home group- I might need to find some good, larger containers with tight fitting lids for transporting snacks and meals.
Working even harder to avoid using paper towels, napkins, etc. and just use cloths instead
Here's what I'm planning to do next:
Become a more conscientious shopper and check out the packaging before I buy something!
Look for items used on Freecycle or Craigslist before I consider buying them new (we already do this to an extent, but probably not as much as we could)
Research more about exactly what else I can recycle that isn't already obvious to me
If I find a product with ridiculous packaging, call or email the company to let them know why I'm not buying their product (and vise verse, to call companies doing a great job and tell them so! As a bonus, these kind of calls can often result in coupons being sent as a thank you for contacting them or in an effort to get your business). Hap tip to A for this great idea.
Buy or make cloth napkins, to completely remove the excuse to ever need to use paper ones
One of the best bonuses of re-evaluating a lot of my buying and discarding practices is that it causes me to be more frugal at the same time. The more packaging I avoid, often the less money I am spending on unnecessary items I can make myself. The more I rely on washable items in our home (cloths, diapers, food storage containers, etc.) the less of these I have to buy! Learning to buy more items used just makes more sense, not only environmentally, but economically as well. Food and cleaners bought in bulk tend to come at a greater discount. For some people, depending on where you live, you may even save money that you would normally pay for garbage pickup!
If you're interested in learning more about this topic and ways that you can cut down your family's waste, here are a few links of interest:Quick ways to reduce your trashReduce your trash- A Recycling Revolution (hat tip to Carrie for both of these links)The Green Guide- check out their Tips of the Week (for going greener), their Smart Shoppers Cards, and their weekly newsletter (their site covers many health and natural living issues as well, not just environmental ones)FreecyclePrecycling- Shopping for Future GenerationsAlso, find your city or town's (or possibly your state's) website, which should include information about garbage disposal and the details of exactly what can and cannot be recycled where you live. Try googling something like "vancouver city bc" or "seattle washington" and you will usually find the official site of the city you are looking for.
What about you? What are the ways that your family is cutting down on waste (and cost)?

reducing waste

1) Utilizing PaperBackSwap and the library instead of buying books new. Also, unless I find a book to be exceptional book, I usually pass it on once I'm finished with it so that someone else might enjoy it and our home can stay pared down from unnecessary clutter.
2) Buying clothes at second-hand stores at least 50% of the time or more. We also readily accept offers of hand-me-downs from others.
3) Cooking and baking from scratch as much as possible. This is not only healthier for us, but it eliminates much of the extra packaging which comes along with eating a lot of boxed and processed foods.
4) Thinking before I throw something out, "Is there another way I can use this?"
5) Reusing foil and plastic bags until there is no life left in them. In addition, we use Tupperware or pans/containers with lids instead of disposable containers whenever we can and, by doing so, I've found that I can get by with only buying a small roll of aluminum foil and a box of plastic bags every six months or so.
6) Eliminating paper towels and using cloth rags/towels instead.
7) Keeping it simple: Staying home more, not having an excess of clothing or household items, drinking water most of the time, and trying to only buy what we need.
8) Only requesting free samples for items we'll use.

from money saving mom

Thursday, August 27, 2009



Ice Cream Cake - Yumm

This makes a fairly large cake so if you have a small family, you might want to cut the recipe in half. You’ll end up with a shorter cake, but it still tastes just as good.

The recipe calls for a springform pan, which is what I use, but if you don’t have one, you could just use a 9×13 pan and cut the cake into squares instead of wedges.Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cake
6 cups Rice Krispies12 oz. package chocolate chips2/3 cup peanut butter1 gallon of ice cream, whatever flavor you like, so long as it goes with peanut butter and chocolate

1) Combine peanut butter and chocolate chips in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the chocolate chips are melted.

2) Pour the chocolate mixture over the Rice Krispies and stir gently until the cereal is thoroughly coated. Pour the cereal out onto a jelly roll pan (or a cookie sheet), and let it cool.

3) Soften the ice cream, and once you’ve broken all of your chocolate cereal mixture up into smallish chunks, fold all but one cup into the softened ice cream. Pour/press the mixture into a 9-inch springform pan. Mine is 8 inches, but it works fine.

4) Sprinkle/press the remaining chocolate cereal on top of the ice cream cake, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until firm.

5) When you’re ready to serve your cake, loosen the sides of the springform pan and slice the cake into wedges. If the cake is really hard and difficult to slice, you can let it sit for a few minutes so that it will soften.

This from The Frugal Girl

Pudding Fun

Pudding as finger paint:

In addition to just letting them play and draw and have fun with the finger paint, we also practiced writing the letters we're currently working on.

And then, since the finger paint was edible, the girls got to make pudding mustaches, too!

It was a fun activity--and it only cost a few pennies! Who says fun can't be frugal?

*****More Ideas******

::If you don't have extra pudding on hand, you can also make finger paint with Kool-Aid (see instructions here) or corn syrup and food coloring (see instructions here) or corn starch, sugar, and food coloring (see instructions here).

This is fromMoney Saving Mom