Monday, September 12, 2016

Last week's frugal efforts.

Turned down an offer to buy a white mocha and instead made free hot chocolate from the break room.
We decided against buying a coworker's car. The gamble isn't ultimately worth it for us.
I got another book from the library. Everything that Remains by the Minimalists.
My son went to the free library story time.
I found a recipe to make blender bottle pancakes. I'm stoked to try it out. It will make toddler breakfasts before work easier and faster.
The recipe:
I don't use bisquick so I found a DIY bisquick recipe to sub.
I put in a request for my library ebook system to carry A Guide to Organising the Chaos to Make More Time for Parenting by Nicole Avery so that is $19+ saved because it's very expensive on Amazon.
My coworker bought me a coffee so I gave her a Starbucks gift card I wasn't going to use for a long time.

I donated two old smartphones to an emergency organization.

Here are 17 free Autumn themed coloring pages:

What have you done to save money lately?

Monday, September 5, 2016

Recent frugal efforts.

I made some apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies to use up some oatmeal before it turned bad.

I got a 5 quart programmable slow cooker for $2.xx after rebate.

I took the survey on the Fred Meyer receipt for free fuel points.

I turned in my summer reading chart and got a $5 coupon to put towards fines and a coupon for a free used book from one of their book sales.

I read free books from the library.

My husband purchased some used tools from my coworker at a steep discount. This helped her out because she needed the money, and it helped him out because it was some things he's been wanting, and now he won't have to spend a lot of money down the line to obtain them because he has very particular tastes for some things.

I redeemed an Amazon gift card from Bing (now Microsoft Rewards) to put towards my son's new "comfy socks."

It's time to put the AC away, and the nights have been cold. I'm hoping the insulated curtains I got for the bedroom awhile ago (at a discount in exchange for a review) will keep it from getting too cold at night. So far I've noticed a difference, but it's really tempting to turn on the heat, which is stupid expensive.

I ordered 120 colored pencils at a big discount for part of my mom's Christmas present. After all these years she mentions that she used to color, and when she realized all the new adult coloring books that are out now she added a lot of coloring supplies to her Amazon wish list. :)

My husband gave his coworker our son's old Halloween costume for her little boy.

A coworker brought in some Italian plums so I took some to my mother in law as a special treat.

What have you done to save money recently?

*this post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

I had some apple cinnamon oatmeal that I bought for my husband in the hopes that he would like that over a more expensive brand. No luck! So I decided to make cookies with my toddler before the oatmeal went bad.

Oatmeal raisin cookies have been on my to do list for awhile now, but this was a good test drive to make sure my toddler would like an oatmeal cookie. I'll save the raisins for another baking session.

I omitted the cinnamon in this recipe because I didn't want an overpowering cinnamon flavor in case the oatmeal already had a lot of cinnamon in it.

I adapted this recipe from here.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp honey
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups instant oatmeal - Apple Cinnamon flavored

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. My cookies were about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and they baked in 10 minutes.

I caught my toddler on two occasions trying to sneak a cookie while they were cooling! They were pretty good. I had over three cooling racks full of cookies. We shared with everyone.

What have you baked recently?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for an organization that will actually come out to do a donation pickup in my rural location. I've waited years for this! All I had to do was box and bag things up and put it outside. My house is lighter. My donations get to help people in need. I hope some kids get to enjoy the unopened toys I had hiding in a few of those boxes.

I'm already looking forward to scheduling my next pickup. I was able to get my son to part with an outside ride on toy that he outgrew. He was happy to give it up to make a baby somewhere very happy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Moment of Pause #14

I was taking a morning walk with my toddler enjoying the fresh air and the greenery. There are trees and moss and bushes as far as my eye could see. It made me wonder how many people never get to take a walk in a surrounding like this. It made me thankful that I don't live in a desert.

What made you take a moment of pause recently?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Recent frugal efforts.

I used the reward points from my Amazon credit card (that I pay in full as soon as the balance posts) to buy my mom a new mop. She couldn't fix hers, and she can't afford to buy a new one.

I entered Dave Ramsey's giveaway daily.

I read ebooks for free from my library and from Amazon digital credits.

I gave away a lot of new free toys I got that I didn't need. I was saving them for upcoming Christmas programs, but I feel good giving them away now. My house is lighter, and children out there can enjoy them sooner.

My son attended the free story time at the library and got to paint a picture. I haven't introduced him to paints yet. He had so much fun.

I've started actively Christmas shopping and planning. I will not go overboard this year.

I got a free video game expansion pack from my Amazon digital credits.

I bought a pedometer from a free Swagbucks gift card so I can take care of my health. It can be put in a pocket, worn on a belt, or worn like a necklace and still be accurate. I also started using MyFitnessPal to count calories, promote exercise, and lose some pounds.

I used the PayPal credit from Ebates to buy a half-priced cookbook and menu plan book from a (kind of) struggling Youtube family that I watch. The books are excellent and will help me meal plan and make better meals.

I received free/heavily discounted items to review that I was going to buy anyway.

I made foaming hand soap for the kitchen and bathroom.

I washed a plastic egg carton so we can reuse it when buying eggs from a neighbor.

I turned the oven and burner off a few minutes early. This doesn't affect the cooking time.

What have you done to save money lately?

*this post contains affiliate links.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Moment of Pause #13

My toddler and I were going for a walk, and on the side of the road were a bunch of wild blackberries perfectly black and plump.

I could grab a handful of these for free, whereas at the store they would cost $2.99.

I remember last year on a walk there was a boy riding his bike along this road to collect all the berries in either a bowl, his hat, or his shirt I can't remember which. But I thought of him and decided to leave the berries in case he goes in search of more this year.

What moment has made you pause lately?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Last week's frugal efforts.

I gave my mom cash to look for dining tables at her neighborhood community sale. She found one for $25 without chairs. This is fine because my son can still use his high chair, and we already have chairs that we can use for now. The dining set I wanted at Target came to $165 after discounts so for $25 I can settle for this one. So I saved $140, I don't have extra chairs to store, and I have a big table to do projects on without the worry of ruining it.

I entered Dave Ramsey's $5k giveaway everyday.

I made an anniversary card for the inlaws. We bought them a gift card to their favorite restaurant for 24% off through Cardpool.

I redeemed my Swagbucks points for a $25 Amazon gift card.

I recycled cardboard and plastics when possible.

I brought food and coffee to work.

My brother did an emergency coffee creamer run for me, but he bought the wrong brand...but I am doing my best to suck it up and use it.

I always try to run the dishwasher and washer with full loads to save on water and electricity.

I've continued to watch inspirational YouTube videos and read motivational forums and blogs.

What have you done to save money lately?

*this post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Moment of Pause #12

My husband went outside and brought in this purple flower. I can't remember what it is, but you can pull off the purple petals and taste the sweetness. (I did this a lot in elementary school) He then gave it to my toddler who then hurried over to hand it to me.

I remembered this tiny white magnetic vase I had, and it's perfect for a little splash of color and freshness to the kitchen.

The toddler was delighted to see "his" flower up on the fridge. Surprisingly, although it's full of water it doesn't spill when the freezer door is opened.

What made you take a moment of pause today?

Monday, August 1, 2016

Last week's frugal efforts.

I fixed my son's plastic bucket (used to store blocks) with decorative duct tape I had on hand.

I got a free 2017 calendar and goals planner from ReviewKick.

I took the survey on the Fred Meyer receipt for free fuel points.

My son attended a free game day at the library as well as story time. We also borrowed books.

I bought a bunch of fruit and prepared them right away so nothing would go to waste. The castoffs were put in the compost bin.

I cashed in my Bing points for a $5 Amazon gift card to get a book I've been wanting that my library doesn't carry.

I cut the special filter thing from a coffee bag to use on our coffee canister.

I watched free YouTube videos to be inspired and entertained.

I donated four huge bags to It feels great to get those clothing items out of my house, and it's really good to know that it's for an awesome cause. Among these bags were tons of baby clothes, baby/toddler shoes, purses, trench coats, and some of my unused clothing.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

July Decluttering Efforts.

I didn't have a specific number in mind for this month. I was and am very busy with school work so I decided to go with the flow and see what I could accomplish. Below are the items I decluttered for the month of July:

  1. x2 lip glosses
  2. gum container
  3. key chain
  4. baby book
  5. x3 salt/pepper shakers
  6. x2 spices
  7. x4 books
  8. x1 coat rack
  9. x1 pack of outlet covers
  10. x4 toddler pants
  11. x4 toddler shirts
  12. x1 toddler pj set
  13. x4 toddler shorts
  14. x1 batter dispenser
  15. x4 toddler spoons
  16. x2 toddler boots
  17. x4 curtain panels
  18. x7 free samples
  19. x1 candle burner
  20. x3 candle holders
  21. x1 pack of chalk markers
  22. x2 swim suits
  23. x1 jacket
  24. x1 bag of coffee
  25. x1 purse
  26. x2 packs of pudding
  27. x1 mouse pad
  28. x6 shirts
  29. x3 skirts
  30. x1 box of baby clothes
  31. x2 dresses
  32. x2 trench coats
  33. x79 pieces of baby clothes
  34. x2 curtain panels
  35. x3 packs of baby socks
  36. x1 pillow
  37. x3 wash cloths
  38. x1 bath mitt 
  39. x7 magazines
Total items decluttered: 170 items

I also focused on using up things like candles and bath/body stuff. I have more candles to burn, but I made a big dent in my old collection.

Next month will be interesting. I finally discovered a place that will do a pick up so all I have to do is put everything outside by 7am. I'm so excited. I was discouraged by every organization that didn't do pickups in my area. One day I came home to a postcard from a company that is willing to come out! They're scheduled to come three days after my school quarter ends so I'll do a mad scramble to declutter. I won't set a number goal for August either.

What have you decluttered lately?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Last week's frugal efforts.

I learned from youtube that I can use my Bronner's soap to make foaming hand soap. This will save me tons of money because my husband is a big fan of the Method brand. One 3-refill bag of Method foaming soap is anywhere from $2.50-$5 on sale, and I can get a 32 ounce of Dr Bronner's soap for $16 (or less on sale) that will last forever. Score! I silently tested it, and my husband approved. This is huge!

I got free clothes for my son from Schoola. If you use this link you'll get a free $20 credit and free shipping. If you create a collection you get a free $10 credit. They might send you a 50% off coupon when you sign up that you can use as well. Schoola is an online consignment shop for kids and mother's clothing items. A portion of all proceeds goes to schools. When someone sends in clothing items as a donation they get to choose which school they want the proceeds to go. You can help raise funds for your local school by sending in gently used or new kid's and women's clothing items.

My son went to the free library story time.

I put up my new blackout curtains in the living room that I paid for mostly with a free Amazon gift card from Swagbucks and points from my Amazon Visa card.

I took the survey on the Fred Meyer (Kroger) receipt for free Fuel points.

We recycled cardboard, glass, plastics, etc.

I brought coffee, water, and food to work.

What did you do to save money last week?

This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Moment of Pause #11

That moment when the kitchen counters are cleared of clutter and are clean. The sight of a burning candle that was a gift. (no it doesn't really smell like M&Ms) I always feel a sense of accomplishment when my counters are clear.

What made you take a moment of pause today?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Last week's frugal efforts.

I did not renew the zoo membership. The last two years we didn't use it enough to justify the cost. We'll get it again in the future when we can go regularly.

I upped the automatic principal payment on the mortgage.*

I upped my 401k contribution by 10%.*

I took advantage of Amazon's Prime Day sales. I got kid clothes, books, a few gifts, and a couple misc. things I would've bought anyways all at a great price when all discounts considered. I also got a discounted gift card to an online kid's clothing store that I'll save until I can inventory the little one's clothes again.

I found some new Youtube channels to watch. They are so inspiring and motivating.

I used one of those toothpaste contraptions (2 for $1 from years ago) that pushes out all the toothpaste so the tube is completely flattened. This was about a week's worth of toothpaste saved.

I loaded up my Kindle with free ebooks from the library.

My son finished his reading chart for the library's summer reading program, and they let him take another one home.

My son went to the free library story times.

I started looking at DIY Christmas inspiration on Pinterest.

I received some free and deeply discounted items to review.

It was on my to do list to call the local garbage disposal company for quotes on garbage and recycling pick up. The inlaws scored a cheap hauling truck from one of their friends, and they offered to do our dump runs for us.

*After playing with some amortization calculators and different tax scenarios it made me more excited to save as much as possible. It will force me to be more mindful of my purchases and think along the lines of "do I want to spend X amount on that thing or would I rather put that amount towards the mortgage and cut off X amount of time off the loan?"

What have you done to save money recently?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Moment of Pause #10

The toddler and I went for a morning walk before the sun could melt me with its hot rays of lava. I saw this tree. The branches are covered in moss. Some of the trees around it don't have moss at all. I don't know why, but I've always been interested in looking at (or watching?) trees with moss. I was also curious about who cut all those various branches and why.

What made you take a moment of pause today?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Moment of Pause #9

That moment when you're outside after a rainfall breathing in the fresh, cool breeze and the smell of the flora lingers in the air. There's nothing like it.

What has made you take a moment of pause today?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Last week's frugal efforts.

We attended a free lavender festival, but we did spend a little bit of money.

We attended a free puppet show at the library...for about five minutes. The little one couldn't keep still.

My son went to the free story time at the library. Because of his age he can technically go to two different age groups. They did a craft in the older group.

My mom brought over some outdoor tables, chairs, and a picnic table that are kid sized. My toddler was thrilled.

My husband brought a couple loads of our recycled things to the recycling center. This includes cardboard, plastic bottles, aluminum, tin, and glass bottles. We take the time to set aside things that can be recycled instead of just throwing them away. Garbage costs money, but recycling is free.

We cleaned out our ancient deep freezer! It's currently standing empty and unplugged for the first time in 5 years. I'm anxious to see how this helps our power bill. We were able to fit all our frozen food into the side freezer of the fridge. I'm hoping we can keep the deep freezer empty until this fall when we buy a side of beef from a local farmer.

I fixed the magnetic eraser for the fridge whiteboard instead of buying a new one. ($2.74 + tax saved)

I bought a video game expansion pack with my free Amazon slow ship credits.

What have you done to save money lately?

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Target Dollar Spot Haul - Toddler Learning Tools

We ran into Target to get some coffee creamer, and I stopped at the dollar spot. I rarely go to Target. I was thrilled to see some learning supplies for Pre K - K since I was planning to venture to the Dollar Tree sometime this summer to get learning stuff anyways.

I got 7 work books:

Beginning Sounds
Reading Readiness
Numbers 1-12
Math Concepts
Same or Different
Printing Practice

There were other workbooks for older grades. Each workbook has two sheets of "reward" stickers that say things like "good job!" or "keep trying!"

I also got 3 packs of flash cards:

Shapes and Colors

We already had some number flash cards from the dollar store last year. The quality of these flashcards are okay, but the Dollar Tree flash cards are thicker. They also had flash cards for telling time, states, and numbers. Some of the flash cards were also Dr. Seuss themed.

I was really excited to see the lacing set. There are 8 cards with different food groups, although I didn't notice until I got home that the "meats" included a picture of a fried egg, and the vegetables included a picture of a tomato. There are 4 long laces, each a different color. There was a girly lace set as well as a robot theme, but I got this one to teach him food groups. He enjoyed doing the lacing last night and this morning. The cards are very thick and durable. Great buy for only $1.

I got 1 puzzle that matches the letter to a corresponding item, like Ee and Elephant. There are 14 pairs, which means they're double sided. They also have a hard time staying together unless they're laid down flat.

They had some other interesting learning tools, like a felt banner for shapes and colors, but I couldn't bring myself to pay $3.

Everything I purchased was only $1. If you know a way to get some learning tools for less please share!

Have you found anything exciting at your local Target Dollar Spot lately?

Saturday, July 9, 2016

July Goals

June was pretty busy for me. My classes this quarter are very reading intense so I have had little free time since I work full time out of the home as well. But then I find myself outside with the toddler doing spontaneous yard work. I didn't accomplish most of my June goals, and I don't want to get disappointed by not completing another big list so below is all I'm requiring myself to accomplish for July:

  1. Complete all homework on time and to the best of my ability.
  2. Get ahead on all the reading assignments.
  3. Keep track of meals eaten and try to plan weekly dinners at the very least.
  4. Declutter when possible.
  5. Try to strike the perfect balance of homework, housework, and quality time with the toddler and husband.
  6. Focus on the little frugal efforts.

If anything I'll keep a list of the things that I happened to accomplish. I read somewhere that it was pretty motivational to have a list of completed tasks vs. a list of uncompleted items.

What are your goals for July?

Friday, July 8, 2016

June Decluttering Efforts

My goal for June was to declutter 100 items. Below are the items I disowned:

  • 7 magazines
  • 2 pairs of toddler shoes
  • 29 books
  • 1 loom
  • 1 wood burning kit
  • 3 radios
  • 1 puzzle
  • 1 ice cube tray
  • 5 toys
  • 1 box of yarn
  • 1 box from laptop cooler
  • 1 ribbon
  • 4 bottles of shampoo
  • 8 mason jar lids
  • 4 movies
  • 2 cups
  • 1 mug
  • 2 bibs

Total items decluttered: 74

Darn. The month started out strong, but then I was overrun by schoolwork. I don't have a set number for July, but I will declutter as much as I can. Sometimes it's easier when a number isn't specified. I still have a ways to go until I reach that point where I feel "done" and move on to purely maintenance mode.

What have you decluttered lately?

Moment of Pause #8

My son and I were outside during a light rainfall, and he wanted to play with his chalk. When chalk is wet the color is more vibrant. Toddler graffiti: an innocent blend of shapes, colors, and letters.

What have you seen lately that made you pause?

Monday, July 4, 2016

Recent Frugal Efforts.

We visited a local U-Pick farm. We picked two containers of huge raspberries for $0.50 each plus some beautiful dahlias.

I was able to get a couple books for one of my classes from the library so I didn't need to buy them. For the textbooks I had to buy I rented them from Amazon for a cheap price, and when I return them they provide a free shipping label.

I took the survey on the Fred Meyer receipt for free Fuel Points. (gas discount)

I upped the automatic monthly deposit to my husband's Roth.

I set up an automatic extra principal payment on the mortgage.

I requested a few bags from so I can declutter unused clothing and shoes. They pay the shipping label, and it's tax deductible.

My toddler and I did some "landscaping" outside. Free exercise, entertainment, and time together.

I am using an expired coupon as a bookmark.

I spent less than $10 on my sister's birthday gifts. (inappropriate coloring book, set of 72 colored pencils, pencil sharpener, candy bar, and freshly ground coffee)

I got some free and heavily discounted things in exchange for reviews.

My toddler and I signed up for the summer reading program at our library. He enjoys signing his chart each day.

I had some points with Recycle Bank that I needed to use before they expired so I used a lot of to enter $300 gift cards drawings and used the rest for free magazine subscriptions. I kind of cringe at this a little, but I'm genuinely interested in their content, and when I'm done reading them I'll save them for crafts and give them to others to read.

My son got some books and movies from the library.

I turned the oven off a few minutes before the timer went off when cooking. I do this when boiling stuff on the stove top too.

I requested free ebooks from my library's website to read off the used Kindle Paperwhite I got off Ebay last year. It still works great.

I set up a temporary homework area for me from stuff I had around the house.

I brought food, coffee, and water to work in reusable containers for the most part.

I started using Swagbucks, Bing, Perk TV, and Inbox Dollars again because there are some things I want to buy for the house (blackout curtains and a push mower).

My mom brought over a toddler play set for the yard that she had for years. It has two slides, a tunnel, and a little fort. He loved it! She's bringing some old outdoor tables/chairs for him this week.

We attended a free local event celebrating Independence Day. There was free admission, free food, free game, free prizes, and free parking. It was pretty fun. My toddler loved the huge field. He had so much fun running with wreckless abandon.

What have you done lately to save money?

Monday, June 6, 2016

Last week's frugal efforts.

My husband and son picked flowers from the yard.

I was able to complete two math courses in the same quarter so it's like getting one class for free and will enable me to be that much closer to being caught up on math.

I brought a reusable water bottle, coffee cup, and glass containers to work.

Something we always do that I forgot to put down here is recycling. We separate cardboard, plastics, glass, aluminum, tin, etc. to eventually take to the dump for free. This greatly reduces the amount of trash we have.

This might sound silly, but I watched some Youtube videos of a SAHM and how she manages her time and three kids. Her videos have inspired me to manage my time better.

I checked out some free ebooks from the library.

The weather is warming up so finally my husband isn't using the heat as much/as high at night. Our power bills go down drastically during the summer even when we use air conditioning often.

I filled out another survey from the Fred Meyer receipt for free fuel points.

I was looking through some cookbooks, and my son really enjoyed looking at the pictures so now he asks to look at cookbooks before bedtime. :)

What have you done to save money lately?

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Moment of Pause #7

My son and I were outside enjoying the fresh air after a day or so of rain fall.

When walking around I saw these leaves stuck to the wooden fence. Super simple, but I just felt the need to pause and look at them awhile.

What have you seen lately that made you pause?

Friday, June 3, 2016

Frugal Fun. Toddler and Paper.

One day last year my husband brought home a $0.50 poster board for our son that had been sick. For months we all colored on it.

Eventually my son stopped coloring on it, and I got tired of looking at it so I decided we'd practice cutting with scissors and cut out some "mail" for his mini mailbox. I cut out a heart, put tape on the back, and he proudly stuck it on his shirt. The smile he gave was priceless.

He is pretty good at using scissors. He helped me cut out strips. I cut out a large rectangle out of the board and made an envelope so he could stash all his colorful little shapes. He loves playing with paper and mail.

He asked for more hearts, and he wanted to tape the biggest heart to the back of daddy's chair. The hearts eventually all ended up on our bulletin board. It makes him happy, and they're a reminder of a fun project.

Have you done any special crafts with your toddler lately?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June Goals

The year is half over already! Christmas is six months away. Time just keeps going so fast even though it seems to slowly creep along during the worst moments. I completed most of my May goals, and I got my blogging "oomph" back so I consider that a success. Here are my goals for the month of June:

  • Move sandbox.
  • Clean outdoor wicker chairs.
  • Declutter at least 100 items.
  • Claim a dedicated area for schoolwork and blogging.
  • Make anniversary card.
  • Make birdseed wreaths for our yard.
  • Keep up with current types of posts.
  • Comment more on other blogs.
Meal Planning:
  • Continue planning weekly dinners.
  • Eat down pantry and freezers.
  • Make extra waffles to freeze.
  • Make extra standard sized muffins to freeze.
  • Start journaling again.
  • Clean out the armoire drawers! (this didn't happen in May)
  • Try selling things on Ebay.
  • Order a photo card for Father's day and some prints to decorate my work desk.
I have a week off between classes this month. I'm going to enjoy going to bed earlier and being able to read what I want to on breaks at work...maybe even do some coloring. I do plan on finally playing some of my video games that I haven't touched since this quarter began. I hope to spend some time decluttering my closet; I just haven't had the time nor energy to do so.

What are your goals this month?

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May Decluttering Efforts

My goal was to declutter at least 100 items.

Here are the things that I decluttered for the month of May:

  • 11 pairs of toddler socks
  • 11 duplo blocks
  • 1 strawberry stemmer
  • 1 toddler spoon
  • 1 toddler fort
  • 4 toddler books
  • 1 bouncy ball
  • 2 surprise eggs
  • 8 food items for the Stamp Out Hunger food drive
  • 1 puzzle cube
  • 2 deodorant samples
  • 1 lotion sample
  • 1 sanitizer sample
  • 1 floating candle
  • 1 broken drinking glass
  • 1 stack of coupons
  • 1 bag of box tops
  • 1 cutting board
  • 4 toddler snack cups
  • 1 monkey figurine
  • 1 stack of metal mason jar lids
  • 1 tote bag
  • 1 egg carton
  • 1 stack of used post it notes
  • 1 pair of toddler shoes
  • 3 egg shaped crayons
  • 2 toddler sweaters
  • 1 toddler coat
  • 1 phone book
  • 1 spork
  • 1 spatula
  • 1 car shampoo
  • 1 spoon
  • 1 wine sized organza bag
  • 1 hair net for a aig
  • 1 ribbon
  • 1 necklace
  • 2 doll stands
  • 3 cans of formula samples
  • 11 utensil packages
  • 1 toddler fork
  • 1 carbon filter
  • 8 old vitamin containers
  • 1 empty candle
  • 2 toddler books
  • 1 teether
  • 1 stapler
  • a pack of candy bars
  • a graze sampler box
  • container of pepper
  • old gum
  • an assortment of samples
  • 3 color wonder coloring books
  • bag of color wonder markers
  • mug holder
  • led flashlight
  • spaghetti jar

Total for this month: 118 items!

My house feels lighter, but I have much more to do. At least I can breathe easier each time I choose to let go of an item. I am setting another personal goal of decluttering at least 100 items for the month of June.

What have you decluttered this month?

Monday, May 30, 2016

Last week's frugal efforts.

I filled out the survey on the Fred Meyer receipt for fuel points.

I froze some strawberries before they went bad along with some bananas.

I made a double batch of chia seed mini muffins and put half in the freezer so my toddler has an easy snack at a later date.

When cleaning out the pantry I gave the toddler some old spaghetti noodles to play with instead of just tossing them. I wrote a post about it here.

I took the old blackout curtains from the bedroom and hung them in the living room. It makes me feel so much better about the room, but now I have to find 4 more panels to put on the other living room windows.

Instead of buying new bulbs for the bathroom vanity lights I took one from my closet vanity light. The closet had 5 bright bulbs so I can do just fine with 4.

We attended a free live band show at the local marina. (although we did buy a little bit of food) I have to attend a couple live music performances for one of my classes, and this venue is the only one I can make it to during assignment time frame. We all enjoyed it. There were lovely views of the water. My toddler got to experience something new! We'll probably come back soon, but eat before we go.

The toddler and I spent some time coloring in a magazine with markers. He liked tracing and drawing faces and silly hats on people.

What have you done to save money lately?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Moment of Pause #6

That moment when you can bring out the washable markers and have fun drawing on some random magazine pages. No money being spent. No screens being looked at. Thoughts are consumed on what color to use next instead of chores that need to be done.

When was the last time you colored?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Frugal Fun. Toddler Spaghetti Craziness.

Um, yes. That is a ton of spaghetti on my kitchen floor. I was cleaning out my pantry and came across some very old spaghetti noodles that weren't suitable to eat.
So instead of throwing them away I thought I would present them to my toddler in a big bowl to see what he would do.
I got this idea from a blog post somewhere. The blogger gave her kids an old bag of flour to play with outside. I remember the picture of her kids covered in flour. They had a great time.
At first I helped him break the noodles in half. Then he started putting them into a small box. Then into a gallon ziploc bag.
Not only did he get in some good sensory play he was thoroughly entertained for a long time, and I got some good pictures to show the grandmothers!

So if you have some old foodstuff that could be a potential toy consider giving it to your toddler for some screen-free fun.

I also have some dry oats that I'll bring outside when the weather gets warmer for him to toss around.

Has your little one played with food lately?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Meal plan update.

I'm still looking for the best way to meal plan with my limited time and cooking skills.

My challenges are:

* Feeling guilty that I can't make everything from scratch.
* My toddler is very picky taste and texture wise.
* My husband has a tomato intolerance
* I have to limit certain meat and fat intake for myself
* I don't do most of the grocery shopping
* If I don't stick to a plan everything goes off kilter
* I work full time, I go to school online full time, and I am alone with the toddler most of the time due to my husband's work.

For about a month I've been writing down dinners on the wall calendar in the kitchen so I can keep track of what we've been eating. That will make planning easier in the future.

I just started using a chalkboard on the freezer door to write down weekly dinners as I browse the pantry and freezers. It's nice to come home from work and know what to make so I don't have to give it a second thought. And if I spot something that needs to be used up I can quickly change it.

What's nice about the wall calendar is that if my toddler didn't like what was for dinner that night I can keep track of what he did eat and what "new" foods he was exposed to.

Maybe I'm over complicating this, but so far these seem to be making it easier for me.

How do you meal plan?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Last week's frugal efforts.

I used my new (refurbished) KitchenAid mixer to make banana bread, strawberry coconut muffins, and mini chia seed muffins. My toddler isn't afraid of the noise so I can actually use it without waiting for my husband to be around to mind the toddler. I can make double batches of things and freeze the extras. I'm excited for the possibilities.

I've been reading personal finance/minimalism/simple living blogs, forums, and books and also listening to podcasts.

I filled out the Fred Meyer survey on the receipt for fuel points.

My husband used coupons when shopping. (yes some men do that!)

I used my stockpile of Amazon digital credits to buy free expansions to my video game. The credits were starting to expire, and there were no Kindle books I wanted at the time.

I started watching youtube videos to learn things. From how to use a reusable Kcup to grocery hauls to see how other people shop and why. This will help me with planning meals, how to use things up, how to shop smarter, etc.

Sometimes the "usual" things I do get overlooked when I'm thinking of what to include in these posts. These include using stainless steel bottles for water and coffee, glass containers to bring leftovers to work, and reusing hand/body towels more than once before washing.

I ate my toddler's leftovers so they wouldn't go to waste.

This is a big one --- we managed to cut the toddler's hair! It involved a spontaneous trip to the bathroom to show him how not scary the scissors were and a single size bag of goldfish crackers. (he only gets the organic bunny crackers under normal circumstances) Sure his cut is crooked and uneven, but we saved $20 here and a slightly scary trip to the barber!!!

I cut off the filter from a coffee bag to save for my husband's new coffee canister (a Father's Day gift). It uses filters to keep the coffee fresher, and it fits the same filters used on coffee bags.

I filled out a survey from the Pizza Hut receipt. We haven't stopped there in a long time, and this survey will save us $10 off a $20 purchase. Nice for when we don't feel like cooking and/or want a lot of cheap meals for convenience.

What have you done to save money lately?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Moment of Pause #5

There's nothing like the taste of coffee.

That moment of pause where the day is just barely beginning, but you still have time to inhale and catch your breath before plans, busyness, and tantrums take over.

Remember to live in the moment once in awhile.

Once a day.

Once upon a time.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Moment of Pause #4

I was eating dinner with my son, and I looked out the window. I noticed the overgrown grass was being weighed down by the recent rain showers.

I love rain, and it was cool to see the little droplets on each blade of grass. I also love how vibrant the green gets after a rain shower.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Last Week's Frugal Efforts.

I filled a box with miscellaneous things (formula, coupons, toiletries, etc.) and brought it to work to share. I was going to give it to a food bank, but I just don't have the means to do so at this time.

I entered Dave Ramsey's daily giveaway.

I listened to his free podcast.

I fixed one of my son's books instead of throwing it away.

I did the quick survey on the Fred Meyer receipt for free fuel points, and I downloaded their Friday Freebie to my card.

I bought some blackout curtains for the bedroom at a discounted price (in exchange for a review) I'm really hoping they'll keep the room cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

This was from awhile ago, but I fixed the closet sink with a $5 tool by myself versus calling a plumber to do it.

I was able to return unopened diapers to Amazon for free because my son is outgrowing that size.

My Ebates cashback will be used to cover Netflix for the next month and a half instead of spending it on something else.

I redeemed a $25 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks. It will help cover diapers.

I brought my copy of The Complete Tightwad Gazette to work so I can read it on breaks.

What have you done to save money lately?

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Moments of Pause #3

It turned out to be an 80 degree day. I don't care for hot weather so we headed outside in the morning before the heat could melt me.

My husband hid some hard boiled eggs for the toddler to find. After accidentally dropping one and seeing how it cracked he decided to smash them to bits.

He went to town. It was very cute to watch.

Airplanes often fly overhead, but they don't leave behind smoke trails. I happened to look up and saw this. If I stared I could see it move while still keeping in uniform to the line.

When was the last time you were outside just because?

Monday, May 9, 2016

Last Week's Frugal Efforts.

I made birdseed wreaths for Mother's Day gifts. I found the instructions here. I made these for Christmas last year too, and they were received very well. It's a project my son enjoyed helping with.

I almost gave up on making the Mother's Day cards. My craft room is a mess, and my son was sick so I felt like it was easier to have my husband pick up a couple cards. But my son started feeling better and was occupied so I snuck into my craft room to put some cards together.

I completed financial aid paperwork so I can continue my online schooling.

My new job keeps me busy. So busy that I don't snack and online shop out of boredom anymore.

I borrowed books and movies free from the library.

My son and I went to buy eggs from our farmer neighbor, and he let us see and hold the new baby goats as well as feed the chickens. Free memories and experiences.

I listened to Dave Ramsey's free podcast online.

We attended a free parenting class that helps us prepare our son for Kindergarten. While we were there he enjoyed free childcare with other kids.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Outdoor Stew. An Easy Toddler Activity.

It was an overcast day, and my toddler was restless. I needed to find something to occupy his time. I looked around the yard and spotted his bucket. Then I saw the hose.

So bucket + water = hours of fun.

We first added leaves to watch them float. Then he found a stick to stir the stew.

Then we added:

pine cones

We went for walks to collect things then he would have fun dropping them in and stirring it all up. This free activity kept him occupied for hours, and it still does!

What outdoor activities have you done with your toddler lately?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Moments of Pause #2

Flowers are blooming as the air gets warmer. It's interesting to see the various flowers in different stages of blossoming.

I walk by these flowers every work day, but I didn't notice them until I was outside with my toddler just looking about.

Funny how much you miss when you aren't looking.

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