Thursday, December 31, 2009

Some Books are Expensive!

I'm putting together my list of books I'd like to read this year. Well, I found a list of books written by Albert Einstein.


I totally didn't know he wrote some actual books that weren't all scientifical.

I thought the titles sounded good-yes, I judge books by their names!

Why War? was the first one I looked for on Amazon. HAHAHA! Here it is in collectible form for a mere $950! Don't you wish you had a copy?

Of course, there is a newer English version on that retails for $11.99. BUT, they don't have any copies available.

I might need to check the library...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hot Tip! Washing Hair with Baking Soda and Vinegar

I've been using this awesome combination off and on for awhile now. I just restarted a few weeks ago and will not be returning to commercial shampoos. They were ruining my hair!

I use baking soda
to "wash" my hair and apple cider vinegar
to "condition" it!

For those who are wrinkling their noses right now, I tell you it works! My hair is soft and shiny and managable. Are you curious?

First, take some regular old baking soda. You can get adventurous and add essential oil to it if you like. I just use it plain. I keep it in a plastic container in my shower.

Then, get your apple cider vinegar. I put it (diluted) into an old Dawn squirt bottle. One of the little cute ones that I got cheap on sale with a coupon. LOL
I've heard of different dilution ratios, so you might want to see what your hair and scalp like best. I dilute to about 1 part ACV to 3-4 parts water. I keep this in the shower, too.

Having these made and ready ahead of time makes it more likely that you will use it.

Now, when you take a shower, get your hair wet like usual. Then pour some baking soda into your hand and make a wet paste. Scrub and massage it into your scalp. You do not need to do anything to the rest of your hair-just the head and root section.
Some people use a diluted baking soda solution and pour it on their heads. So, you can try that method and see which you like best.

Rinse with water.

Take your squirt bottle and squirt the top of your head. I start at the crown and then use shower water to rinse it down the length of my hair. Avoid getting it in your eyes because it is NOT tear free! This step is necessary to restore the pH balance of your hair and scalp, so don't skip it.

Your hair should be left feeling very clean and soft.

Now, I have never had any problems or "adjustment period" when using this method. However, many women do go through an awkward phase when their hair is kinda detoxing the gunk and the oils are getting used to the new way. Be prepared to wear a hat or ponytail for a little while.
Once your hair has adjusted you will not need to wash every day or even every other day! That is the magic! Your hair will be able to go days between treatments.

I washed my hair with baking soda and ACV on Friday, kept my hair out of the shower on Saturday, washed my hair with WATER only on Sunday and Monday. Tuesday I washed with baking soda and ACV again.

To wash with water I just massage my scalp during my shower with my hair fully wet. My hair looked great on Sunday and Monday. My daughter even told me I had soft hair Sunday night when I kissed her goodnight. :)

If you want to keep your hair looking great for pennies give it a try!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Converting Onsies into T-shirts

I don't know about you, but I think a 3 year old is too old for a onsie! It makes potty learning a nightmare! But, maybe I am just dreaming about the potty learning thing. Salem is already good at using the potty, he just doesn't want to very often. I can get him to go all day dry...until about 3pm. Then we have several accidents the rest of the night. Gotta work on that!

I got a ton of wonderful hand-me-downs for Salem from a sister and a friend. Amongst the clothing were 4 cute short sleeve onsies, 3 in size 3T and one size 4T.

I spent about 4 minutes cutting the bottoms off to make a regular t-shirt. No sewing skills required!

First, lay the shirt flat on your cutting mat.

Next, take your rotary blade (or scissors) and cut just above the hip binding. Some people recommend gently following the curve down so the belly stays covered.

Voila! You have a t-shirt! Some lighter weight knits might curl a bit, but there should be no fraying or runs. If you don't like the unfinished edge you can hem it. If you have a serger, you could have just used that.

Monday, December 28, 2009

GOALS 2010

This is the time of year I like to reflect and decide what changes or goals I want to set for the coming year. Looking forward can be exciting and fun. As we say goodbye to a decade we say hello to a new one.

It is my personal goal to accomplish 52 projects this year. They will focus mostly on making things that are useful and thrifty. This will mean finishing one project per week! I'm hoping this goal will keep me motivated and "slow and steady." Then I will blog about the projects!

I plan on reading 24 books this year. This one might be hard for me. I love to read, but I have been starting so many books before finishing others that I need to regroup (after I finish the book I am on). I have no rules as to genre, but I am in a non-fiction mode right now. Some of the books on my list will be ones I've already started, but failed to finish.

Financially, we basically need to start our Total Money Makeover all over again. We had to use our baby emergency fund and stop BS2 for awhile. We need to get back on the bandwagon and gazelle intense.
We will complete Dave Ramsey's baby step 1 by the end of January. That'll put us back to baby step 2. We owe a little bit more on the hospital bill, so that should be taken care of in a few months. Then, all we have left are the HUGE student and business loans.

I would like to continue participating in service opportunities in my own community by donating items I get for free and cheap at the store. I also want to get into the habit of clicking for cups of food every day-or close to it.
We have a kids service group in our area that I want to attend more often. They meet once a month and we've only been once.

My goal is to spend more one-on-one time with my children. This is easy with my youngest, but harder with the oldest. I want to spend 30 minutes with each child every day. Any one-on-one activity counts for this.

I want to limit TV time to 1 hour per child for a limit of 3 hours combined watching per day. This will be resisted by all, including the hubby. I must be vigilant! I have already installed a TV timer, but it has been over-ridden by Eric.

Our family needs to spend more fun time together. I am setting a goal of 1 fun family activity a month. This can be anything from hikes in the mountains to a day at the museum. No housework or yardwork!

What are your goals for 2010? Have you blogged about it? Do you have any tips for keeping the goals you set?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Earn Gift Cards Searching the Web with SWAGBUCKS!

I've joined Swagbucks. I wish I had joined sooner!

You can earn points with them by searching the Internet. Something I do every day already. The points can be redeemed for gift cards and other merchandise.

It only takes a minute to sign up and they don't ask for very much personal info. All they needed was my name, email, state, zip code and a password.

After earning 45 points you can get a free $5 Amazon gift card!
You search the Internet anyway, why not profit from it by using Swagbucks?

The best part is that Swagbucks has a referral program. So let all your friends and family know about it and you can earn even more points.

This is a great way to fund Christmas and Birthday presents throughout the year. Especially for those of us on a tight budget. Or use the gift cards as "mad money."

I've already earned $25 in Amazon GC's and I'm on my way to another $5 card. So far I've used them towards books. I just make sure to get FREE Super Saver Shipping when I buy from Amazon (hint: add tape or something to your order if you are close to the $25 minimum!)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Holiday Baking and Cooking and Candy Making

I love to create things in the kitchen. It is so satisfying! A couple of days ago I spent most of the day in the kitchen and these are some of the things I made.

This was a disaster. I guess we overcooked it because it was hard. Jordan took a hammer to it and broke my 9x13 Pyrex dish! Geez.

Carrot Zucchini Spice Bread (Pampered Chef Recipe)
I love this recipe and it is super easy to tweak. I add things like puree's and ground flax and part wheat to it.

Ritz Cookies
These are sooo easy and a big hit with everyone. The only problem is that they take more time to make than to eat. Spread peanut butter on the cracker and dip in melted chocolate bark. YUM!!! I can do 2 sleeves of crackers with one package of bark.

Microwave Fudge
Another easy recipe. We discovered this last year. One bag of semi sweet chocolate chips and a can of sweetened condensed milk. I got the canned milk for free and the chips for $1 making this a very thrifty treat to give or keep!

Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches
These aren't exactly hard to make, but they take an ingredient I never buy-Marshmellow Creme. I have made them twice-once when I was a newlywed for Eric's birthday and then this week. You can add food coloring to the filling!

Jellied Cranberry Sauce(Ball Canning Book)
I started making my own cranberry sauce last year. I will be honest, I have always loved that jellied stuff shaped like a can, but after tasting this we won't go back to that HFCS crap! I can control what kind of sugar is used in this recipe. I got the cranberries on sale for $1.50 a bag and just used the sugar in the house. I can get 4 half pints for around $2. This years turned out a beautiful bright red!

Friday, December 25, 2009


It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Christmas is sucha magical, wonderful time of year. I especially enjoy watching my children frost cookies and open packages and put up paper decorations on the wall.

We had a great Christmas this year. My daughter, Kelsey, has dubbed it "the best Christmas ever!" This isn't a surprise coming from her. She tends towards the dramatic and days are either the best or the worst.

We seemed to get everyone toys they like and will play with a lot. That is always good. I can remember years where we had several misses or those "must have" toys didn't last long before breaking.

THis year hubby and I went to Walmart at 4:50am on Black Friday. People were mostly very pleasant, things were in stock, but the line wrapped its way through the entire store. It was totally worth it, though! I ended up getting most of the kids gifts for really good prices. I even did a price match for a toy that was on sale at Kmart. Worked like a dream!

Here are the things we (and Santa) got the kids:

Scooter ($15)
Basketball ($11)
RC helicopters ($18)
Bakugan Gauntlet (grammy)
Bakugan 7 in 1 toy (grammy)
Starter Warm up Suit ($3)
Socks & T-shirt (around $8)
DS Game (I dunno, Eric bought it)

Pink Guitar ($15)
Littlest Pet Shop sets ($10 garage sale)
Crayola Glo Board ($15)
Bucket of Pink Girl LEGO (grammy)
LEGO people set (grammy)
Princess & the Frog color & sticker book (grammy)
Danskin Warm up Suit ($3)
Pink Sweater (? sale at Kohls)

Manny the Motorcycle Guy ($17.50 price match!)
Wooden Tool Box set ($18 Target clearance)
Little People Amusement Park (grammy)
Parachute with beanbags ($25 Lillian Vernon)
Plush Pirate play set ($8 LV)
Crayola Color Wonder ($5)
Starter Warm up Suit ($3)

They each got some fun things in their stockings, too, that they really enjoyed.

Luckily, we have been paring down on belongings for awhile. We got rid of more right before Christmas to make room for the new. Even still, I now have a bin of Pet Shop toys and a bin of Little People toys. Dang, those toys take up a lot of room!

Now, Eric and I mostly exchanged DVD's and stuff like that. I did make him two homemade gifts. He got a pair of flannel PJ pants from me that I started last year. They are made out of Yoda fabric! I made the waist too big, though, so not sure what to do to fix it. I also made him some chocolate sandwich cookies. Mmmmm!

Wow. So, I took a year off from this blog...

I pretty much suck at blogging. LOL
I just am one of those people who goes in cycles with her hobbies. It is no different with blogging.

Plus, this past year kicked me in the butt. Well, the year before that, too. But, things seem to be settling back down and I am thinking about blogging more again.

We'll see how that goes!