Monday, December 1, 2008

Kmart super doubles - you would think I would be sick of this by now!

But alas, I am not!!!! I just love it and I keep going. Riding it out b/c I know this will not last forever!!!!
So I went to two different Kmart's yesterday - One in O'Fallon (not a very nice Kmart - older, dark and dirty, they rarely restock the shelves) and another one in Ballwin, like night and day - clean, bright and fully stocked!!!!

Here are my trips

Trip 1 &2 ( did 2 different transactions)

2-Knorr side dishes
2-Betty crocker frosting
2- turtles
1- ziplock bag pump
1- ziplock bag refill
2- rice krispies
1-apple jacks
7- gilette body wash
4- pert plus (no! more pert!)
2-brut deod
3-dove hairspray
4-kotex liners
4-olay bar soap
1-herbal essence hair dye
6-zest soap
2- revlon beauty tools
6- tic tacs
1 - reynolds wrap
1- bleach

So total before q's $162.xx
Total after q's $8.29

3rd trip (in Ballwin)

$85.xx before q's - $10.84 after q's ($6 of that was for hair dye for my mom )

5 pert plus
4 olay
2 zest
3 natural instincts
4 betty crocker cookie mix (found on end cap)
1 corn pops
2 reynolds wrap
4 beggin strips
1 cat ( jk - had to move way back to get everything in and cat was just sitting there staring at me!)

So my total before q's was around $240.xx after q's $19.xx and I will get back $8 from my mom for the hair dye so $11 for two carts full!!!!

I know I know your wondering what I do with all this right? I can't possibly use it all can I? Well this is what I do:
1. Stockpile - I have a nice stockpile of items going - This works for me but would NOT work for everyone. I like knowing that I really could go without shopping for 2 years.
2. Donate - Food pantries, shelters etc...
3. Friends/Family - I spread the wealth around

Kmart doubles is seriously addicting to me, I have so much fun with it. I am NOT a selfish shopper, I don't clear out the shelves and I also leave coupons on the shelves for others to use.

Thank you Kmart, I never thought I would wait in line at 7 am on a Sunday to get into one of your stores!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

WAGS Trip today - Can you say YAY!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok so today was probably my best day at WAGS (Walgreens for those not familiar with the slang). I spent 8.76 oop (out of pocket) and saved $180.05!!!! I got the following:

11 Revlon Eyeliner
3 Revlon Lipgloss
2 Revlon Eyeshadow
1 Suave Hairspray
3 Suave Mousse
2 Bic Razors
6 Bic refills

How did I do this you might ask??? Well Let me tell you....

First I had a 15% off coupon for WAGS Friends and Family - traded this online (A FULL CUP)

The Revlon eyeliners and lipgloss were on sale $2.59 - they were buy 1 get 1 50% off this week. So I bought one for $2.59 and got the second one for $1.30. I also had $2 off any revlon product that I used for each of the Revlon products giving me overage on 8 of them (approximately .70 overage ea). I traded on A FULL CUP for the $2 coupons (had about 22 of them - I will use the rest at Kmart doubles)

I had 2 - .75/2 coupons for Suave and they were on sale for $1.67

The Bic razors and refills were on sale buy 1 get 1 free for 6.99 - the Friends and Family discount took these down to $5.94. I had 8 of the $3 off any bic razor and/or cartridge refills so I got all of those FREE!!!!!!!!!!

YIPEE!!! What a great feeling!!

I have already listed 4 of the eyeliners and 2 of the lipgloss on sale for a starting price of $8.99 so if I sell those, my haul will end up being FREE!!!

Gotta love it, dontcha?

Kmart Double coupons

WOW is all I can say. This is some of my haul from Kmart Double coupon days. I can't tell you how addicted I have become to Kmart double coupon days. Kmart has been offering a promotion since the beginning of October where they are doubling manufacturer coupons up to $2. So a $2 coupon becomes a $4 coupon, a $1 coupon becomes a $2 coupon and so on. Anything over $2 is not doubled, so a $3 coupon stays $3. This has been the craziest thing ever for me.

I tried to chart it all out and to the best of my knowledge this is what I have gotten:

1 yesterdays news cat litter
6 zest 3 bar packs
4 gilette fusion shampoo
4 vaseline for men
19 dove
3 welchs
8 crest
5 crest for kids
1 bic
4 cover girl eyeshadow
1 almay eyeshadow
1 revlon tweezer
2 knorr pasta sides
2 snickers
1 reeses cups
21 suave
2 pudding packs
4 covergirl eyeliner
4 maybelline great lash
4 party mix cat treats
1 physicans formula powder
21 tic tacs
10 dog/cat treats
2 bags cat food
8 Loreal Bare Mineral Mascara

And on and on... I know I'm forgetting some things because I have given ALOT away... I'm missing a set of pictures too. I can't help it, the excitement just gets the best of me then I start giving it away and forget to take a picture! I promise I'll do better next time. The best calculation I've came to is before coupons the total was approximately $420. I spent around $50 oop after it was all said and done. GO ME!


Start Saving your coupons now!!!!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Oh how I love it when the new Mary Kay catalog comes out

I stare at it. I want everything in this book every time it comes out. I love how these women look. I want to look that way and I picture myself walking out the door looking so fresh and perfect and wonderful. Oh I just can't stand it! I want it all!

It drives me nuts this makeup is so expensive. I know I could become a MK rep and get 50% off. I tried that. You have to place such a big order it just is not worth it to me. Then the hounding calls from the directors to try to get you to go to meetings etc. It's such a dilemma.

I will stare at this magazine all night and justify why I should or shouldn't buy this make up. In the end, I probably won't buy anything. The booklet will fall to the bottom of the pile with other items I want but never buy.

Who knows, maybe this time I will treat myself and buy a few things! Its unlikely but stranger things have happened in my world.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Book review "A Pocket Guide to the Bible" by Scott Hahn

I was lucky enough to get included in a book review program sponsored by The Catholic Company . I heard about the book review program on The Catholic Moments podcast hosted by Lisa Hende. Catholic Moments is a talk show that is a part of the SQPN network. I listen to almost all of the podcasts put out by SQPN and love them all!

I was excited to receive my first book "A Pocket Guide to the Bible" by Scott Hahn. I had heard about books that Scott had written from The Catholic Hack podcast and the Into the Deep podcasts (check them both out on itunes, they are worth it). I hadn't read any of his books yet and was excited to get started!!

The book really lives up to the title "a pocket guide" in size, its a 4x6 book! My first thought was, how is this tiny book going to tell me what I need to know about the bible? The bible is huge and can be intimidating and this tiny book is going to explain it all to me? Ok so I'm a skeptic, but that didn't stop me from reading.

I am definitely impressed with the content of the book. In 78 pages, the book efficiently explains the contents of the Bible and why the information is there. I am a lifelong Catholic and learned more than I expected to from this book.

My two favorite chapters where chapter four and chapter eight. Chapter Four "What belongs in the bible" laid it out the best for me. This chapter explains the Old and New Testament and what belongs in each and why. It is easy to read, to the point, and make sense! Chapter Eight "The books of the Bible" ties it all together outlining the books and the prophets. The last chapter is a "where to find" chapter for stories that appear in several places in the Bible.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants a quick and thorough explanation of the Bible. It is an easy read and is a great reference book. I also think this book would be a great gift for someone who is new to the Catholic Church or a long time member like myself.

This review was written as part of The Catholic Company product reviewer program. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on A Pocket Guide to the Bible.

Friday, August 1, 2008

No spend day 1

Don't worry, I won't be recording my daily troubles with cutting back on my spending. But I did want to write about my first day because it was......well....harder than I thought it would be.

The first thing I did wrong today was I did not plan for my day. I'm in the car a lot for my job so sometimes I stop at the gas station to get a little snack or treat. I told myself I would not do this anymore and guess what I stopped today! I needed a water and wanted some turtles. Strike 1. What I should have done was had a water bottle with me that I filled up at work and brought another snack from home like fruit or string cheese. Ok so note to self, plan better next week.

I had a NY&CO coupon for $10 off a $20 purchase. I wanted to use this coupon today. I thought well $10 out of my monthly budget was not to bad to spend on clothes. So I went to the store, found 4 sale items and proceeded to take them to the register. The cashier started taking the clothes off the hangars and I gave her my coupon. Ooops she told me, can't use the coupon on the sale items. I said ok then I don't need the clothes. And I left! Yay me. One bad spend and one small victory makes me even for the day.

I knew lunch would likely be a problem for me since I'm not always in the office and its hard to plan. I bought lunch for a client today so I was saved by that one because I get reimbursed for business expenses. Ok good deal. Next week I will have to try to pack something in a cooler. Will that work in this 100+ degree weather? I don't know. We will see I guess.

This weekend is the no sales tax weekend in the state of Missouri. You have to give me huge brownie points here because I am not going to let this lure me out to possibly buy something and blow the budget!!!! I do need to make a trip to get a few groceries but I should spend under $10 on that as everything on the list is on sale.

So all in all I think my first day went ok. It was definitely harder than I thought but really and truly made me realize how I am more tempted than I thought to spend money each day. The thought of paying off my car 14 months early is what keeps my wallet shut!!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

$10,530 to $3,800 by December 31, 2008

I was lucky enough to find a blog recently called SmallNotebook where the author wrote about a "no spend month". The author and her family chose only to spend $250 for the month of July. Read about it in her blog, its a great story!

This blog 1. got me thinking and 2. inspired me. I have been wanting so badly to pay off my car. I keep wanting a 'quick fix' where I come into..oh I don't know lets say $10,350 after taxes, which would allow me to pay off my 2005 mazda 6. I still love this car, I have no plans of getting rid of it. I just want it paid off!

After reading the blog I decided to make August my no spend month. I would cut out a little here and a little there and only spend $140 on the extra "stuff" for the month. Its just me, so its a little easier for me to control my spending.

I started calculating further and crunching the numbers. When I was done, I calculated I could pay off $6,550 by December 2008. WHAT??? I did the math again. And again. I could not believe this! By the end of this year I could have a HUGE portion of my car paid off. AND still have a decent amount of money in savings.

How did I do this you might ask? Well it all started with cutting a little here and a little there. I had recently canceled a monthly membership that was costing me $100. I got an offer in the mail to switch my cable/internet/phone that will save me $50 a month. I cut $20 a week off the groceries and spending cash. I paused my savings and will be putting all that extra money into paying off the car (I am only doing this because I feel like I have enough in savings that will allow me to do so). And the list goes on.... I do not feel like any of these changes are so drastic that they will cause me to fail. For me this was about taking a few dollars here and there and before long all those few dollars started to add up.

So this is the challenge I have set for myself for the rest of 2008. I won't be eating out much. I won't be buying fun items on Etsy. I won't be taking extra trips to target. And guess what, IT WILL BE SO WORTH IT!!! My goal is to have the car paid off by March 2009. 14 months early. I am excited and hopefully and will be so dang glad when I have a clear car title!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008


I'm going through some changes around here, trying to decide what/who I want to be when I grow up. I'm having a hard time finding my niche in life or the place I need to be.

I'm trying to decide what my next step will be. It's really scary but exciting at the same time. Somehow I have developed this fearless attitude that is so unlike me. I guess you just get to a point where you get so beyond being fed up that change is the only option.

Please say a prayer for me as I go through these next few months. I have no idea what will happen!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Pumping Iron

I absolutely love working out. Its one of my favorite things to do in life. I have never really been someone who hated exercise, I have always known my body needs to move. Lately, I hate it when I don' t exercise because my body gets stiff and sore from lack of movement.

I have been sick for over a week and today was the first day I got back to the gym. Lifting weights is one of my favorite forms of exercise. I lift twice a week, about an hour each week, and I lift heavy (for a girl) on upper and lower body. My goal is to bench press 100 pounds. I've done 75 lbs for 6 reps so far. Go me.

I have a gym membership where I pay $36 a month. With this membership I get unlimited access to the gym which includes cardio machines, weight machines, aerobic classes, yoga classes, a pool and a sauna. This is an expense I have that I would never give up.

I have come to realize that there are certain expenses in life that I am always going to have because they make a positive impact on my life. The gym membership is one, eating out for lunch everyday is not.

I think it is important to know which expenses you have that contribute to your overall well being and help nourish your spirit. I'm better off in the long run for having my gym membership, what expenses do you have that contribute to your well being? Where are you spending your money that, in the end, really doesn't do you any good?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Lazy Days of Summer

Its a hot day today, 90+ degrees in St. Louis. Normally, I would be outside sitting by the pool, basking in the sun. But I was outside a little to long yesterday and I'm a little red and peeling (yes I used sunscreen!). So I thought it would be better if I stayed inside today.

Earlier I did a 20 minute yoga session from my ipod, that was great considering I have been sick for the last week and my body is stiff. So right now I'm sitting on my bed, with my laptop, listening/watching Father Roderick play his game on UStream, and eating a bowl of strawberries and oranges. Yes my friends, life is good here in St. Louis.

In a minute I will be catching up on old movies that are on my dvr. These include: The Incredible Journey, Making Mr. Right, Girl's Best Friend & Queen Sized.

Since I've had an unusual amount of time on my hands to do basically nothing, I revisited one of my favorite websites I had sort of forgotten about. Etsy is by far the greatest thing I have ever found online. Today I have been searching for homemade body & facial products and of course I got sucked right in. I try to remember my mantra that I am making it my goal to live more simply but I did need a few items today and this is what I got. I ordered from Dress Green and I can't wait for my calming and clarifying green tea facial cream, my toning and clarifying facial serum and my pomegranate juice body exfoliant and moisturizer!

Most of the items on this website can be purchased very inexpensively, they are unique and refreshing to find. I have really stopped buying most of my health and beauty products from big chain stores. I don't like all the harsh chemicals used in most of the products you find on the shelf today. I used to purchase from Mychelle, but the pricing has gotten a little bit high for my liking. I still really like the masks the company makes, but I can hardly justify paying those prices. My favorite site for homemade soaps is Crystals Country Store. My two favorite soaps are the fruit slices and rose w/ rose petals. Next time I order, I'm trying the fuzzy navel.

I mentioned in a previous blog posting about buying items locally. While this was definitely harder than I thought it would be, I've been thinking about this almost every day. I'm slowly transitioning myself to start supporting individuals rather than Corporate America. Sites like Etsy allow me to do so. Even though these items are not local, it gets me thinking where the things I buy are coming from.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Cutest Picture Ever!

I snapped this picture of my cat, Toby, yesterday. Just had to share, too cute!!!

Foccacia bread and olive oil dipping sauce with herbs

This is my new favorite recipe this summer. I can't get enough of it! The recipe is simple and inexpensive, but it looks like you really went to a lot of work to prepare it! It is not my recipe, I don't even want to pretend that it is, I got the recipe when I took the class on herbs and I have made this every week since!

Quick Foccacia Bread

2 cups baking mix (biscuit mix)
2 tsp minced sage (or herb of your choice)*
1 cup milk
6 tablespoons olive oil
garlic salt
shredded cheese (optional)**

In a large bowl, mix the baking mix and the sage, stir in milk until blended. Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil into a 9x13 pan, spread oil over the bottom ( I didn't do this I just used regular cooking spray). Place dough in pan and pat into an even layer. With your fingertips poke holes in dough at 1 to 2 inch intervals (I couldn’t get this to work). sprinkle cheese over the top. Brush remaining oil evenly over dough and sprinkle lightly with garlic salt. (I didn’t have a brush for olive oil so I didn’t do that either!). Bake at 400 degrees until richly browned (about 25 min).

* you can really use any herb of your choice or a combination if you wish. I have made this before using thyme/rosemary/sage and a combination of two or all three. Every time it comes out good! Just make sure you chop them up kinda small

** Shredded cheese is optional, the recipe did not call for this but I started adding it myself and really liked it. The first time I just sprinkled it across the top before baking. I have also mixed it in the dough and sprinkled it across the top and its good both ways!

Olive Oil Dipping Sauce

Take about a half cup to a cup of olive oil and add in your favorite chopped herbs. I tend to use thyme and rosemary, I like it the best. Add all ingredients in a glass jar and let sit for a few hours before using to dip the bread in. This mixture will last a few days in a sealed jar. Although when I make it, I tend to eat it all in a day or two!

Friday, June 6, 2008


I am reading the book called "Animal,Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. I found this book at the airport while I had a 2 hour wait for my flight. I love this book. I love it so much I am only reading a little at a time, almost as if I can savor the book and make it last longer by only reading little bits here and there.

I love this book because it is so thought provoking-- the main premise of the book is eating locally, buying all your food from locally grown establishments or growing it yourself. In the book, Kingsolver makes it her goal to 'live off the land' and try to support her family by buying their food locally or growing it at home. She discusses the quality of the food we eat and the 'things' companies do to keep our food looking great while it travels the 1,000+ miles to get to our plate.

This got me thinking...

I have a garden where I grow tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, broccoli and brussel sprouts. I have a few more peppers and tomatoes on my porch growing in containers. I have mentioned before that growing your own herb garden in containers is an economical way to experience the flavors of fresh herbs. I wrote about this before. I still love my herbs!!! I thought I would try eating locally to see what it would be like. Can't be that hard, right?


I ran into a few problems.

First, what do I do from now until the end of June/beginning of July while I am waiting for my garden and container pots to grow? I don't have any produce to pick from my wonderful garden. The farmers market isn't up and going yet. I drove 30 miles (one way with $3.89 gas) to go to a farmers market in the St. Louis area. I was disappointed. I went in May, when it was asparagus season! The asparagus I picked up had been shipped in from California. I got to looking further, most of the other fruit looked imported too. Dang.

I was able to find a few items at this farmers market that were produced locally, but not enough to make the trip worth while.

Second, I like bananas and many other fruits that are just not able to grow in the Midwest. Strike 2.

Third, what about all my other grocery store staples? The basic things like flour, spaghetti sauce, and my Hansen's soda?! When I started looking closely at the labels and realizing none of it was local I got discouraged. There are a few places around here that you can find locally made items, but then you get to looking at price and it becomes a whole new problem to ponder. Strike three.

For me, trying to shop locally did not work that well. At least at this point in the year. Maybe once my garden is up and growing (if it ever stops raining here) it will be a little easier for me. I would like to learn how to can so I can save all those luscious tomatoes and peppers and everything else that is nice for next year. Not only would that be an awesome way to make sure everything in my garden is used up but it will be very cost effective AND help me eat closer to home!

I really love the idea of eating closer to home, trying to buy everything that I consume from places that are local. It is much harder than I thought it would be. I just don't have the means to do something like this at this point in my life. I am aware and I am making small changes to try to buy locally but I still have a long way to go.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

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Recently discovered and love it!

Sunday, May 18, 2008


I love herbs!!!! This spring, growing herbs has become a mini obsession for me. I took a class from our local extension office called "Introduction to Herbs". I loved it! I had never thought of all the things that could be done with herbs. I learned all about new recipes, natural homemade recipes, tips for storing herbs for the winter and so much more!!!

Not only are herbs fun to grow and use, having your own herb garden is much more economical. I bought my basil plants for $3, the grocery store charges $3-- for just a few leaves!! I grow my herbs in container plants on my porch. Right now I have lavender, rosemary, sage, 3 types of basil, cilantro, and thyme. I love the smell of all of them. I run my hands over the leaves and love the way it smells!

Growing herbs in container pots is very easy. Basically all you need is the pot and the plant and your good to go. Most herbs love a hot and dry environment. Don't over water! You don't want to drown out your herb plant.Make sure to pay attention to the needs of your plant (full sun vs. partial).

You can find a lot of good recipes online for cooking with herbs. I have just started experimenting when I cook with herbs and have not gone wrong yet. I usually pick my herbs right from the plant and wash them before chopping. You can also lay the herbs out on newspaper to dry (3-4 days) before using.

Experiment with herbs, its so fun and makes life a little more interesting :)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

7 Weird Things about me

It has been awhile since I have sat down and posted anything, almost 3 months now I noticed. I have been meaning to get on here but something keeps getting in the way. I ran across a funny blog from Greg Willits at Rosary Army where he talked about 7 weird things about himself. I decided this could be fun... so here ya go

1. Things I wish that could be banned from this earth: Chewing Gum (I agree Greg) and Burning leaves or cigarettes. Both of these behaviors get me to the point I think I could spontaneously combust. Lets take the gum- I can not stand to watch people chew gum. Its disgusting. I do not want to see the inside of someones mouth while they chew a piece of gray,pink, green, purple matter. On top of that, I don't want to hear what their mouth does while the person chews the gum. Top that off with mint gum (see #2) and I can nearly gag and leave where ever I am. This is especially bad if I get on the treadmill at the gym and the person next to me is chewing mint gum. It becomes a cloud of mint around the person (sorta like pig pen) and I can't stand it. It makes me gag. I will get off the treadmill and move or leave all together.

Burning leaves/Smoking - They are in the same category for me. This should be banned. Period.

2. I don't like the smell of mint. I never have. Its to overpowering for me and makes me literally want to puke. I don't know what it is but I just can't stand the smell of it. I can make myself gag if I am trying to brush my teeth with mint toothpaste. I use cinnamon toothpaste now.

3. I avoid eating white condiments. Mayo, Alfredo, whip cream, sour cream you name it, if its white, I don't eat it. I just don't like the taste of any white condiments.

4. I had an extremely rare bone condition in my left heel. My heel bone was 75% hollow. Luckily I had the surgery before my foot collapsed. The doctors told me I might never walk right again. I was running less than 3 months after the surgery. Its written in a medical journal somewhere. There have been no documented cases similar to mine in the U.S.

5. I participated in a sleep study that paid $970 to stay up for 48 hours. Talk about the things we do for money, wow this one topped the cake. I didn't think I was going to make it the full 48 hours, after about 36 I had nearly lost it and was in tears having a meltdown. Somehow I was able to preserver and make it through to collect my check.

6. I have an undergraduate degree in Agri Business with a minor in agronomy (plant science). I used to want to own a flower shop or be a landscaper. I grew up in a small town of 3,000 people and my parents own a hardware store. I still love the country and miss the peacefulness of it all.

7. I refuse to keep an electronic calendar. I love having an old school calendar to write everything down on and stick my notes in. I hate carrying it but I love using it and the feeling of writing on paper. I don't do it as often as I should.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Recipes for at home products

I found some recipes to make various products at home. Keep in mind, these are recipes I found on one of my favorite forums A Full Cup . I am reposting b/c I think these are great ways to save money.

Drain Cleaner

1 c. salt
1 c. soda
1/4 c. cream of tartar

Mix ingredients together. Dissolve one cup of cleaner in one cup of hot water. Put in drain. When bubbling stops, rinse drain with hot water.

Shampoo and Conditioner Recipes
Chamomile Shampoo

4 bags of Chamomile tea (or 1 handful of fresh Chamomile flowers)
4 tablespoons pure soap flakes ( can be purchased or you can make your own - grate some ivory(the purest)
1 1/2 tablespoons glycerin( can be found in the Health Food Store and some Grocery stores)

Let the tea bags steep in 1 1/2 cups of boiled water for 10 minutes. Remove the tea bags and with the remaining liquid add the soap flakes. Let stand until the soap softens. Stir in glycerin until mixture is well blended. Pour into a bottle. Keep in a dark, cool place.

Tropical Conditioner

1 avocado (peeled and mashed)
coconut milk

Combine mashed avocado with some coconut milk. Mash together until its smooth and about as thick as shampoo. Comb it through the hair and let sit for 10 -15 minutes, wash out.

Rosemary Hair Conditioner

Rosemary essential oil
Olive oil slightly warmed

Add 2-5 drops of rosemary essential oil with 1 teaspoon of Olive Oil. Work the oils through dampened hair and massage the scalp. Wrap your head in a warm towel and leave on for 45 minutes to deep condition the hair. Wash out and rinse with cool water. Keep out of eyes.

The Fake Febreeze Recipe

2 C. Fabric Softener
2 C. Baking Soda
4 C. warm water

Mix and place in a spritzing bottle. Use just like you would the expensive Febreeze from the store. If you want, you can use the unscented fabric softener and then add a few drops of essential oil to make it a scent that you prefer.

Dish soaps..
Fruity Dish Soap Blend

liquid castile soap (found in health food stores)
20 drops lime essential oil
10 drops sweet orange essential oil
5 drops citrus seed extract

Fill a clean 22 oz. plastic squirt bottle with castile soap (diluted according to directions if using concentrate). Add the essential oils. Shake the bottle before each use. Add 1-2 tbl. of the liquid to dishwater and wash as usual.

Blues Blend

liquid castile soap
10 drops lemon essential oil
6 drops bergamot essential oil
4 drops lavender essential oil
2 drops orange essential oil

Fill a clean 22 oz. plastic squirt bottle with castile soap (diluted according to directions if using concentrate). Add the essential oils. Shake the bottle before each use. Add 1-2 tbl. of the liquid to dishwater and wash as usual.

*For very greasy dishes, add 1/2 cup vinegar or lemon juice to the water.

*to loosen baked-on food from pots and pans, immediately add some baking soda and wait 15 minutes before you've had a chance to add baking soda, boil a solution of 1 cup water, 5 drops cedar or other essential oil, and 3 tbl. baking soda directly in the pot or pan. Allow the mixture to stand until the food can be scraped off easily.


Recipe #1

3 Pints Water
1/3 Bar Fels Naptha Soap, Grated
1/2 Cup Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Borax
2 Gallon Bucket
1 Quart Hot Water
Hot Water

Mix Fels Naptha soap in a saucepan with 3 pints of water, and heat on low until dissolved. Stir in Washing Soda and Borax. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat. Add 1 Quart Hot Water to 2 Gallon Bucket. Add soap mixture, and mix well. Fill bucket with hot water, and mix well. Set aside for 24 hours, or until mixture thickens. Use 1/2 cup of mixture per load.


Recipe #2

1 Cup Grated Fels Naptha Soap
1/2 Cup Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Borax
2 Tablespoons Glycerin
2 Gallons Water (NOTE: This recipe originally called for 2 Cups Water)

Mix all three ingredients together. Add glycerin and water.
Use 1/2 - 3/4 cup per load. Best when used with cold or warm water.


Recipe #3

1 Bar Fels Naptha Soap, Grated
5 Gallon Bucket
1 Cup Washing Soda
4 1/2 Gallons Water

Place grated soap in a small saucepan and cover with water. Heat on low until dissolved. Fill bucket with hot water, and add soap. Stir to combine. Add 1 cup washing soda and mix well. As it cools it will thicken. May be used immediately. Use 1-2 cups per load.

Ivory Soap, Deodorant Soap, and Beauty Bars can be substituted for the Fels Naptha Soap.

Essential Oils can be added to soap for fragrance.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Organizing my precious coupons

I have to be honest. I really hate clipping coupons. I sit there with the scissors in hand, flipping through the pages scouring for anything I can use. It actually annoys me when my Sunday paper brings me not one, not two, but FOUR separate coupon inserts! I know what this means. My back and neck are going to hurt after cutting these out.

Now with that being said, my only personal suffering is not worth as much as what I will save once the clipping is over. Plain and simply, shopping smart and using coupons is worth it.

I have used many types of organization styles for my coupons. I used to use little cheapie plastic photo albums. They didn't last too long. I know other people use binders with baseball card holders. That would never work for me, too big and bulky, I wouldn't take it into the store. Other people use accordian style plastic holders. Good idea but I have never liked those either.

I finally found the answer to this problem. I use the Couponizer . I have used this coupon organizer for about 5 months now and I'm happy with it. It even has its own purse for coupons that are too big or bulky to fit inside. This works really easily for me because I can throw my wallet in the purse and take it inside the store.

Coupons can become overwhelming if they are not properly organized. Take a little time to get your coupons organized - find something that works for YOU... Then 'watch the money pile up'!!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Happy 2008!!

Ok so I'm a little late with that. That's ok. I have been trying to find a job and that has pretty much consumed me in 2008!

I'm back now!

Ok so one of the things I wanted to talk about since its a new year, fresh start, etc.. is money management software. I'm talking about programs such as Quicken, Microsoft Money, etc..

I had never used a program like this before. I know its shocking, since I write about this subject, you would think I would use one of these programs. I guess I just never got around to it. I knew where my money went. This year I decided I wanted to get even more 'intimate' with my finances.

I purchased Quicken, mostly because I found a code online that gave me the $30 program for $24. It took a little bit to get started and get my accounts linked but now that I have it figured out I LOVE THIS PROGRAM!

I can track every single penny that goes in and out, even cash, and put them in categories. This is especially helpful for me because, while I budget my money, I still tend to 'waste' money on eating out, shopping, etc. I knew I could do better!

So its just January, but I have made a promise with myself that I would carry this throughout 2008. I definitely recommend this to anyone who is serious about tracking their spending... More to come on this in February.