Friday, November 30, 2012

Frugal Fabric Freshener

     I am a fan of fabric freshener. There's something about spraying some smell good stuff all over your house as a way to mask the disaster area that it is that appeals to me. The problem with most store bought fabric fresheners is that for a cheap frugal mother of three, I can't justify spending 3 bucks on some spray that while it makes my house smell clean, doesn't really "do" anything. I know what you're saying, "girl it's just three bucks." but with one and a half incomes that three dollars could go to something more important like socks or cheese, or I don't know there's not a lot of glamorous things that are three dollars but I'm sure I could put it to better use. 

    Not wanting to completely give up my smell good spray I searched the web or more actually Pinterest and found this recipe on Fake-It Frugal. I changed the recipe around a littlet but this is a simple recipe that really works! 

First you will need the following supplies: One used or new 16 oz. spray bottle. (If you use a different sized bottle just adjust the ingredients to accommidate the bottle size), 1/4 cup of fabric softener, 2 Tbsp. baking soda, and hot water to fill the bottle. 

If you have a little funnel or something it will help when pouring the ingredients in the bottle but it's not required. I didn't use one. All you do is open the bottle, pour in your fabric softener and baking soda and then fill it the rest of the way with hot tap water. (Yes we pay $3 for mainly water. How insane is that?!?) Leave a little bit of head space so you can insert the sprayer and then once it's closed tightly, go ahead and give it a shake to mix the ingredients. 

How simple is that? This is a quick and easy recipe that really does a great job. I agree with Fake-It Frugal and think that this version of fabric freshener seems to last longer then the store brand version. Which for me means my kids messy rooms will at least smell clean just a little longer! 

The Breakdown
Store Brand: $3 a bottle
Homemade: Only 20 cents a bottle!!
Verdict: The store brand fabric freshener can kiss my frugal booty, I'm making my own for now on! 

Try this recipe out and tell me what you think. Let your Frugal Flag Fly!! 

Yours Truly,

Black Friday Penny Pinchin'

    Well it looks like I'm back from my self-appointed Thanksgiving break and ready get my blog on! Did everyone have a great Thanksgiving? Ours was good........we hosted Thanksgiving at our house, my husband went hunting in the morning with my brothers, had a lot of great food, tons of leftovers, and a little family drama but nothing that isn't normal for my relatives. While it's one of my favorite holidays and I try to instill in my kids the purpose of Thanksgiving, I have to admit I'm thankful it only happens once a year. 
    Now on to the more important question, did everyone have a great Black Friday? Or better yet, what have-to-have item did you stand in line for hours to buy? Yes I am a Black Friday Freak. And get this, so is my husband!!! I know, I'm lucky. While he hates most shopping, he is a  cheapass frugal shopper and loves a good sale. We have a tradition of packing up the kids and leftovers, heading to my grandma's house, and the kids stay the night while Nick and I go out and battle the crowds for $1 videos. I would love to say that we go out and buy the 40" T.V's or I pod's or something electronics that's still expensive but on sale for a huge discount but no, we usually just go for the less sought out items like cheap down alternative comforters, or hoodie towels for the kids at Kohls, or better yet our prized $22 Fire pit..... I was actually really pumped about that one. But even though we don't go for the big ticket items we still get a lot of great finds and spend entirely too much money. Which this is a whole other topic but why don't they spread Shop Local Saturday and Cyber Monday out in two week increments? Then average people like me could actually have more money to spend on those days because I'm gonna be honest, I'm usually pretty broke after Black Friday..... well at least until the next payday. 
    That being said I have found ways to be frugal in those post Black Friday weeks and one of the ways is by making homemade cleaners. Now before you go all, "aww snap she's gone hippie" hear me out. My first homemade cleaner experience was with homemade liquid laundry soap. It not only worked just as well as my usual store bought laundry soap but in the long run it was a hell of a lot cheaper and lasted for-EVER! That and you actually know what goes into your cleaners. Unlike packaged food, there is no regulation as of now that requires cleaning product manufacturers to list all the ingredients on the package. So who knows what you're getting in your cleaner; ammonia, rat poisoning, crushed up unicorn horns, who knows. The one ingredient I know that is in most of your cleaning products is water, lots and lots of water. Like 80-90% water and let me tell you what, we are paying a butt load for water. Again, the frugal lady in me is coming out but that's a huge reason why I've attempted to start making my own homemade cleaners. 
    As a solid to you, think of it as your post Black Friday bonus I have decided to add some of my own homemade cleaner recipes on here for you all to enjoy. Try them out, tell me what you think, and definitely share any of your own homemade cleaner recipes with me. Embrace your inner hippie..... or if you're like me, let your Frugal Flag Fly!! 
Yours Truly,

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bucket List Check-In

   With the last few weeks being extremely busy....... well okay, busier then normal, there is one perk to it all. Checking off things on the Fall Bucket List!!! Yay!! No really, I'm seriously excited. Last time I was only able to get a total of 14 out of 21 things accomplished and already we're over halfway done. I will credit that all to my super, one of "those" moms abilities and  more importantly, actually making more realistic bucket list goals.
    I decided that instead of devoting a blog post to each individual event that I should have done 3 weeks ago when the activity was really happening; I would just do a little recap full of pictures and minimal captions. Enjoy! 
1. Go on school field trips.
K1 and K2 had school field trips on the same day so Nick and I each picked a daughter to go with. I went with K1's 2nd grade class to Pendleton's Country Market to visit their Butterfly Bio Villa.

K1 holding a butterfly

Having fun on a hayride
 Nick went with K2's kindergarten class to Schaake's Pumpkin Patch. K1's field trip got over a half hour before K2's field trip and they were literally down the road from each other so I surprised K2 and daddy at the pumpkin patch.
Surprise, mom is joining you!

K2 and a friend being silly in the hay bale maze

2. Go to the Pumpkin Patch as a family. 
While K2 and her class already went to Schaake's Pumpkin Patch, it wouldn't be fall if we didn't go there as a family to pick our pumpkins and take our traditional "how tall are you" photos. This year my sister and my favorite (and only but still favorite) niece joined us. Oh and if you're wondering how to say Schaake's... well good luck on figuring it out. I've gone there ever since I was 5 years old and I'm still not 100% sure. At one time a worker there told me it was pronounced like Shakes so that's what I called it for years and years. Someone else recently told me it's pronounced like Shaw-keys. And then another person says it like Shake-Es. So who knows. All I know is that they've got pumpkins and locally produced jelly so that works for me!

We love Schaake's Pumpkin Patch!

My 5 foot tall 2nd grader!!!

My 4 ft. tall Kindergartner

My 3 and a half ft. tall niece

My 2 ft tall and too busy for photos 2 year old

Look who found his pumpkin

K1 found her pumpkin

K2 is running around like a crazy woman

And now dad has to find a way to put it all in the van! 

3. Go on the Haunted Hayride
Our town has for the second year in a row hosted a haunted hayride. It's a lot of fun and just the right amount of scary for little kids. This year we invited all my extended family on my mom's side to join us for dinner, the Haunted Hayride, and roasting marshmallows afterward. The funny thing with our extended family is that it seems like the only time we see everyone is at holidays where we spend the whole time focusing on the kids and then end up leaving in a rush to go to the next family function. The Haunted Hayride gave us a rare opportunity to just hang out, enjoy each others company, and give the kids a good scare. It was a really great night!

Waiting to get on the hayride. Our group was so big we had a tractor to ourselves.

The kids preparing to be spooked

My attempt at taking a photo of the group behind me.

 4. Go Trick or Treating and Get A lot of Candy
As you can tell from this activity I made sure that a lot of our bucket list items were things we were for sure going to do. My kids are past the age of going to just a couple family members houses and calling it good so with my niece and her parents in tow, we took on the town. Luckily for the parents, our little town is basically only 4 blocks and we were done with plenty of time to come back and enjoy some "adult" caramel apple cider. 
Starting off Halloween with our traditional ghost pancakes with blood syrup

K2 is bat girl.... how stinking cute is that?

K3 is a skeleton cat.... still pretty cute if you ask me!

K3 as a very tired Captain America, it doesn't get much cuter then that.

With my zombie niece added to the group we were ready to go trick or treating.

Halloween 2012
 So there's our Fall Bucket List so far. We also got to cross out carving pumpkins and drinking hot apple cider (the non-adult version). But I didn't take any photos of those activities. We still have a few things left on our bucket list but I feel good about this one. I think we'll be able to at least finish all but one or two of the items. We can't all be "those" moms. I hope you all are having an enjoyable fall also, anyone else tackling a bucket list this season????

Yours Truly,

Friday, November 2, 2012

Pumpkin Bird Feeder

    I know I know, I have kind of been slacking on the blog updates. Sorry!! Life has been unusually busy lately and I haven't had time to get on the computer much..... Okay, things have only been mildly busy and I've been really lazy but same difference. 
    Anyways. Anyone remember my post about Pumpkin Flower Pots? Yes Deja, it was only your last post. Well I wanted to share with you what I did with the tops of my pumpkins. And if you're good I just might give you my top secret recipe for prefect pumpkin seeds. 
    I got the idea from a Pumpkin Bird Feeder  I made in my Mothers Group a few years back. This is another craft that takes just a few supplies and little to no effort. I'm sensing a theme when it comes to my crafting! So first grab your supplies: Peanut Butter, Bird Seed, Yarn, and Pumpkin Tops. 

    Then what I did is hollow out the center of the pumpkin as best I could and cut 4 slits on the sides of the pumpkin tops. I then pull two strands of yarn evenly through opposite sides of the pumpkin and tied them at the top. 

   After that I coated the hollowed out part of the pumpkin with peanut butter. I don't think you have to do this step but I did just to ensure my bird seed wouldn't fall out as easily and hey, birds like peanut butter. Or at least that's what I'm telling myself. After the coating of peanut butter I filled the pumpkin bowl with bird seed and Tah-Dah! We have a pumpkin bird feeder!
    How cute is that? And like most of my crafts this one only took 15 minutes tops. Now since you've been such a good reader, here is your pumpkin seed recipe I promised. The secret is boiling the seeds in salt water before cooking in the oven. It is the best way I have found to get rid of the woody, splintery texture but still allows them to cook up nice and crunchy. 

Deja's Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:

2 cups Pumpkin Seeds
4 Tbsp Salt plus 1 tsp. salt
8 cups Water
2 Tbsp. Canola Oil
1 Tbsp. Margarine or Butter
 Additional Seasonings of your choice (Seasoning Salt, Taco Seasoning or Cinnamon Sugar would be great.) 

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Then bring 8 cups of water for every 2 cup of seeds to a boil. Add 4 tablespoons of salt for every 2 cup of seeds. Simmer the seeds for 15 minutes. Then drain.

2.  Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt to pumpkin seeds. Toss to coat and layer on cookie sheet coated with cooking spray. 

3.  Roast for 20-30 minutes. Stirring every 15 minutes. I usually cook mine for 30-40 minutes because I prefer mine toasted a darker brown. Toss in a bowl with 1 Tbsp. butter/margarine and then transfer to a plate to cool. Enjoy!!

   These seeds are so tasty and so addictive. I can't put them down! I prefer my seeds with just salt and margarine but don't be afraid to play around with different seasoning combinations. Look at us, using a whole pumpkin for three different things!! Well, almost a whole pumpkin, I did throw the stringy goop away but I'm sure you could add it to your compost pile or something like that. I feel so green now, go us!! 
Yours Truly,