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.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Recent Frugal Efforts.

We received our tax return and put it all into savings.

I completed a survey from a Fred Meyer receipt for some fuel points.

I emailed Fred Meyer asking if they changed their recipe on some yogurt because it's been sour lately, and they mailed a $10 off coupon.

I put away the space heater and continually turn down the thermostat when my husband has it up too high.

My job search didn't go well, but I ended up getting a new position at the same company with a raise. That starts next week. Once I see what my new paycheck will be I can allocate the new funds to reach different savings goals.

I received some products free or cheap in an exchange for an honest review. Some of these are dress up things for part of my son's Christmas present, things for my coloring hobby, and a few household items that will make life in general easier to manage.

I met one of my newer neighbors, and we'll be getting grass fed beef from them in the Fall at a great price compared to stores. We'll be getting fresh eggs from them too at a good price, and we can buy just what we need so none go to waste. They even said in the Fall we could help ourselves to their orchard fruit because the trees produce too much for them. And they let my son chase after their goats and chickens. He thoroughly enjoyed himself. He even got to hold one of the chickens! I'll have to think of a way to thank them for their kindness.

The weather has been warming up. My husband put more air in the stroller tires so the little one and I can go for morning walks. Over the weekend we went down to the creek for the first time.

We're trying to be more mindful about leftovers and things in the fridge. I've been writing down our dinners on the calendar in the kitchen to aid me in my meal plan quest. We're buying less food so we can use up what we already have.

I got a refurbished Kitchen Aid mixer, and it will end up paying for itself soon enough. I'll make breads, waffles, muffins, oatmeal and raisin cookies and....I don't even know. I need to do more research on all the amazing things it can do.

My husband buys coffee every work day, and to minimize this expense he has agreed to bring coffee if he got an insulated stainless steel travel mug and a good grinder. We're in the process of this change. I'm waiting for the fancy grinder to drop in price. Until this change becomes a habit I need to remind myself to clean his mug and re-time the coffee maker so it's ready when he races out the door for work. We work different shifts so this will be fun to learn to manage.

I scored various free and cheap chocolate. I took an 18 count box of candy bars to work to share. I'll be bringing the free 5lb Hershey's bar to my new coworkers next week. Some of the other chocolate I kept for my secret mommy stash. Others I'll use for gifts. At this point my brother will receive a huge Amazon box of miscellaneous chocolate and snacks (that were free or cheap!). He'll love it.

I'm reading free Kindle books thanks to my library and Amazon slow ship credits.

I unsubscribed from a site that posted a lot of deals on Amazon. I love this site. Although I did save a lot of money I don't need that site right now. I'm stocked up on diapers, wipes, toddler snacks, soap, toys, and food stuff. I can always check it in a few months when I need more diapers. I'll be using the time I spent on this site on sites that encourage minimalism, simplicity, and good personal finance skills. (note on this "time" - it's the random moments when I'm trying to get the toddler to sleep or when I'm at work during a slow day or sometimes at night when I'm trying to unwind from a no good very bad day)

What did you do to save money recently?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May Goals

I have a good feeling. I have a handle on my current school workload. I unsubscribed my time from things that are not important to me right now. It might be the fresh air getting to me! I am learning to manage my time well. I should start small so I don't overwhelm myself, but I have a good feeling, and I want to run with it. Here are my goals for the month of May:


  • Take down the toddler fort.
  • Find and recycle toddler's paperwork and coupons he occasionally plays with.
  • Put all toys in the right places. (I'm looking at you play food in the backpack)
  • Go through both drawers of my armoire.
  • Figure out a set cleaning schedule.
  • Make using my planner a habit. (to do list, meal planning, bills, etc.)
  • Declutter at least 100 items.
  • Go through my coupon stash.


  • Make two Mother's Day cards.
  • Make two birdseed wreaths.


Meal Planning:
  • Continue writing dinners down on the kitchen calendar.
  • Eat down the pantry and freezers.
  • Order prints of son and husband to decorate my new work desk. I'll be taking the old ones home to put on the wall.
  • Go outside at least once on each day off.
  • Start journaling again.

What are your goals for this new month?
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