WFMW: Out with the Old, in with the Homemade

works for me wednesdays

Recently I have been looking for ways to replace my expensive beauty products with ones that I can make at home and save a lot of money. The added bonus of my search is that the recipes I have found (mostly through Pinterest, where else right?) are all natural alternatives. Good for the skin, bank account, and environment; doesn’t get much better than that!!

I took the recipes that I found and after trying them I tweaked them all a little bit to fit my tastes. Here is what I have come up with so far:

(At the end of this post I will link up to the original recipes)

Miracle Mask:

2 tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of brown sugar

The consistency should be like a thick paste. After it’s all mixed, apply the mask to your face and let it sit for 30 minutes. Wash it off with warm water, scrubbing softly in circular motion for exfoliation. I made a large batch of this and put it in a washer baby food jar so that it was ready for whenever I wanted to use it. It adds a lot of moisture to your face, which is great for these winter months. If you warm it up just a little bit it not only feels really nice on your skin but spreads a little easier.

Night Time Emollient Cream:

½ cup coconut oil
2 tsp. Vitamin E oil
A few drops of your favorite essential oil

Melt the coconut oil (coconut oil melts very easily so don’t overheat it) and mix all the ingredients together. At first they may start to separate (like a science class experiment) but if you keep mixing as the oil cools eventually they come together nicely. This is by far the best lotion/cream I have ever used! We put it on Ade too now instead of her Johnson’s baby lotion. She is super soft and I don’t have to worry about her having a reaction to any chemicals or fragrances. It works great on your face too. At first it feels a little greasy, but soon it soaks into your skin and leaves practically no residue! I am hooked!

Homemade deodorant:

3/4 a cup of baking soda
1 – 2 tablespoon of coconut oil (depending on how you like it, powdery or more of a paste)
1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
a few drops of Tea Tree Oil (a natural antimicrobial, I also use a drop or two of this in my laundry because of this property)

Again carefully melt the coconut oil and mix all of the ingredients together. I pressed it into another washed baby food jar (these things are coming in handy) and just get a little bit out with my fingers to apply it. I really like this recipe, but it isn’t for someone who works a fairly physical job. If you tend to sweat a lot, you probably aren’t going to like it. I love the way it smells though!

Original Miracle Mask recipe.
Original Emollient Cream recipe.
Original Deodorant recipe.

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Further Proof that I am a Geek

Like many Americans, we have a set budget for Christmas presents this year. We always have a budget, but since we are a little tighter this year and we are trying to save to completely redo our laundry room, we wanted to make sure that we stuck to our budget no matter what.

So being the geek that I am, I designed an Excel Worksheet using the Designer function and working with Macros. As I was making it I just took our budget and divided by the number of people we getting presents for, but then I thought, what about the presents we have already purchased that we found on sale or cost less than we originally expected?  So I figured out a way to make the money redistribute itself to the others who we had not bought a gift for. This way, if a present happened to cost more than we expected we would know how much squish room we had before we would just need to decide on another present. That way the left over money would be available to be spent if we needed it without having to worry about ‘accidentally’ spending too much.

For you visual people:

So, in case you weren’t 100% sure before, this should confirm it. I am a geek. No sense in hiding it, might as well embrace it! Any other geeky people out there that go a little crazy when making lists? I would love to hear your stories and know that I am not alone!

WFMW: Weirdest Thing That Ever Worked for Me

works for me wednesdays

This title and idea where stolen from shared by a fellow blogging friend recently on her blog, Alta on the Farm. You may have noticed her button hanging out on my sidebar, well that is because she is awesome. (That is the awesome blog spot by the way, in case you didn’t realize.)

Anyways, I was reading this post of hers a few weeks ago and decided I wanted to try out this crazy method. To give you a quick overview (she does a much better job, so make sure to read her post): The Oil Cleansing Method is a way to wash your face that is suppose to be a perfect balance between cleaning impurities from your skin while leaving healthy oils behind to nourish your skin. How is this achieved?

With castor oil and sunflower oil. Rubbed into your skin and then washed away with a wet cloth. PERIOD. As in that is it. Sound weird to you? Because it did to me. But Stephanie insisted that it worked for her.

Personally (don’t hate me) I have never really had a problem with acne. Small amounts, but not huge face covered break-outs. I do have a problem with my face drying out and as a result the products I would use to counteract that would make my face feel greasy and icky. And then I would break out. This means I am always on the look out for a way to keep my skin from drying out without breaking the bank or breaking out. So I decided to give this crazy idea a try.

Turns out that this cleanser keeps my face moisturized without drying out my skin and is by far the cheapest moisturizer/cleanser combo I have ever tried. You know something is dirt cheap when you can find both ingredients at WalMart for under $10 COMBINED and end up with over a liter worth of stuff (No coupons involved). I’m a believer now, and I just wanted to pass on the money-saving awesomeness to all of my followers while giving a shout out to Stephanie as a huge thank you for introducing me to it! This All-Natural Crazy-Sounding Facial Cleanser/Moisturizer Works for Me!!

IAOI $10: Oct 9 – 15: $5.22 OOP + $16 RRs for next week!

Starting with $21.50 from last week here is my $10 scenario:

(2) Halls Warm-Ups Apple Cider Lozenges, 20 ct: 2/$2 + $1 RR
-$1/2 Halls Drops SS 9/18

W 5 Blade Men’s Razor System: $3.99 + $3.99 RR

Huggies Jumbo Pack Little Movers, Little Snugglers, Snug & Dry and Pull-Ups: $9.49 + $2.50 RR
(Use both if you have them)
-$2 off Huggies diapers or wipes Walgreens home mailer
-$2 off Huggies Pull-Ups printable

(2) Brach’s Autumn Candy, 12 oz: 2/$3 + $1.50 RR
– (2) $0.50/1 Brach’s products, SS 9/18

(2) Cottonelle Ultra Toilet Papers, 12 rolls: 2/$10 + $3  RR
(You can use both!)
         -$1 off October Walgreens Coupon booklet (takes off $2)
-.75/1 Cottonelle product, 12 pk or (2) 4 pk, SS 9/11

Carmex Healing Lotion, 13 oz: $7.99 + $4 RR
-$1 off Carmex skin care product printable
________________________________________
$5.22 + $ 16 RRs for next week!

Happy Shopping this week everyone!

 
 

Top Ten Baby Items I Could Have Lived Without

That’s right, these are my top ten over-hyped, probably wasn’t worth my money baby items that I won’t be using for the second baby and really wish I hadn’t even messed with for Ade. Next week I’ll have my top ten could.not.have.survived.without.this.and.still.be.sane.today items. It will be fun to compare won’t it? I wonder what of ours will be the same and what you would have put on the opposite list.

Let’s get started:

1. Changing Table — Yes, seriously. Up until AJ could roll over we used the bassinet in our room for her to sleep in (it was a big one and she was a tiny baby) and so we changed her on a pad on our bed and never really had a problem. Then once she could roll and was introduced into her room we used the floor for fear of her rolling off the changing table. (Hi, my name is Michele, I am an over-protective mother that freaks out about every freaking little thing.)

2. Wipe Warmer — This thing should be called the Wipe Dehydrater. Seriously, enough said.

3. Special Laundry Detergent — Ya’ll know by now that I wash everything with Eco Nuts so I won’t write a big long paragraph about them. For those of you interested but haven’t read any of my stuff on them go here. (Ok just one thing, have any of you really looked at what is in Dreft? How did they ever become the must-have baby laundry soap?)

4. Baby shoes — Now don’t get me wrong, I love baby shoes! And the soft soled ones are stinking adorable, but really you don’t need them until baby starts standing and walking. So try to resist, or just buy one pair that has some stretch to it and just use those.

5. Baby bath tub — You know, every house I’ve ever been in has had a kitchen sink and you know what, they are positioned at the optimum level to not wear out your back or knees. Bonus, you don’t have to find a place to store something so oddly shaped as the baby bath tub! Sounds like a win/win to me.

6. Full sized high chair — Not necessary and a pain to figure out were to store when we have company and want to use all sides of the dining room table. Next week I’ll tell you what our favorite option is.

7. Shopping Cart covers — This is a good idea, but it doesn’t help when you forget it practically ALL the time. I’m so glad that they have started putting disinfecting wipes at all of the doors of most major store chains now-a-days.

8. Bottle Warmer — I realize this might be more useful if your baby gets more bottles than mine did, but we never used it. It was seriously faster to just leave a glass of water in the microwave at all times (it sure felt like it most days) and just hit the button and wait. But Ade was breast-fed, it is probably an entirely different situation for a formula baby.

9. Nursing Bras — I’m sorry, I know this is a little TMI, but seriously ladies, these things suck!!! So instead I bought a bunch of clasp in the front between your boobs bras and used those. So much better and as long as you get ones with wire they will hold the opposite side in place while you have unleashed the other one. Stop giggling, I’m serious. Plus you can get really good at the one-handed clasp/unclasp if you just practice. I would say it was just as easy as the silly nursing bra clasps.

10. Nursing cover — A light blanket works just fine and is something that you usually have with you. I’m sure some swear by their nursing cover, but it was just easier for me to throw a blanket over us.

Alright, what would have made it onto your list? What would you have not put on this list that I did? 

Time for a change?

I’ve been thinking lately, now that I have my RRs stash built up I may be able to go from spending $20 every week to just $10 (and maybe some day $5?). My hope is that as I downsize the spending I’m still able to rack up the RRs. I’ll have to wait and see what next week’s ad looks like, but hopefully I will be employing IAOI $10 very soon!! Here’s to hoping the deals just keep rolling in!

How creative!!

Upon logging onto my Dashboard a picture caught my eye:

Picture property of Miss Anthropists Kitchen

 Yeah, she made homemade goldfish crackers, and the mini-fish cookie cutter to boot!! Holy cow that is the neatest/easiest/cutest thing I’ve seen in a while. Click on the picture to go to her post where she walks you through step-by-step so you can see just how simple this really is!

Oh, and as a sidenote, click here to be taken to a whole wheat version!

How much can you REALLY save cloth diapering?

When I found out I was pregnant (Surprise!) I started doing some research. A friend of mine, who the year before had twins, had mentioned during her pregnancy about maybe cloth diapering. She didn’t end up doing it, but it got me thinking at the time and those thoughts returned full force when I realized I was about to have a baby that we were not financially ready for. So, this is what I did for myself while pregnant to determine cost savings. I am happy to announce that even though the cost savings isn’t as much as a lot of cloth diaper sites preach, it was enough for us and we have never looked back. Now I look at the decision as not only a money saver, but a eco-friendly choice for my family. We love using them, I know it sounds nuts. But they are so easy to use, and really baby butt friendly. Oh, and cute too!

First of all let’s do a breakdown of how much you can expect to spend on disposable diapers from birth to 30 months old (2.5 years). I decided on this age because it is the average age children are potty trained now-a-days according to this article.  I am basing my number of diapers used per day off of this article.  For simplicities sake we are going to assume that one month = 30 days (365 days/12 months = 30.41.)

Here’s the usage breakdown:

Newborn: 10 diapers used per day.
1 – 6 months (9 lbs – 17 lbs): 8 diapers used per day.
7 – 12 months (18 lbs – 23 lbs): 7 diapers used per day.
13 – 18 months (24 lbs – 29 lbs): 6 diapers used per day.
19 – 30 months (30 lbs – 41 lbs): 5 diapers used per day.

(If from personal experience you know these numbers to be wrong please let me know and I will adjust as needed!)

Disposable Diapers

Here’s the price breakdown:

Size 1 (pack count 264) 8 to 14 lbs = $35.88/264 = $0.14
Size 2 (pack count 228) 12 to 18 lbs = $35.88/228 = $0.16
Size 3 (pack count 204) 16 to 28 lbs = $35.88/204 = $0.18
Size 4 (pack count 180) 22 to 37 lbs = $35.88/180 = $0.20
Size 5 (pack count 150) 27+ lbs = $35.88/150 = $0.24
Size 6 (pack count 120) 35+ lbs = $35.88/120 = $.30

(For this I just went to Walmart.com and searched diapers. I choose to use the prices for the Luvs diapers, if you think I should be using a different brand or price please tell me and I will try my best to do a price breakdown for your request!)

Newborn
Size 1 diapers:  10 diapers per day for 1 month (30 days): 300 x $0.14 = $42.00
Total: $42.00

1 – 6 Months
According to the weight average she should gain 8 lbs, which means she should gain 1.6 lbs per month. So assuming that she gains exactly that amount per month the breakdown is as follows:

1 month: 9 lbs – Size 1: 8 diapers per day for 1 month: 240 x $0.14 = $33.60
2 months: 10.6 lbs: Size 1: same as above = $33.60
3 months: 12.2 lbs Size 1: same as above = $33.60
4 months: 13.8 lbs Size 2: 8 diapers per day for 1 month: 240 x $0.16 = $38.40
5 months: 15.4 lbs Size 2: same as above = $38.40
6 months: 17 lbs Size 2: same as above = $38.40
Total: $216.00

7 – 12 Months
She is expected to gain 1 lb per month.

7 months: 18 lbs – Size 3: 7 diapers per day for 1 month: 210 x $0.18 = $37.80
8 months: 19 lbs – Size 3: same as above = $37.80
9 months: 20 lbs – Size 3: same as above = $37.80
10 months: 21 lbs – Size 3: same as above = $37.80
11 months: 22 lbs – Size 3: same as above = $37.80
12 months: 23 lbs – Size 3: Same as above = $37.80
Total: $226.80

13 – 18 Months
Again, 1 lb per month.

13 months: 24 lbs – Size 4: 6 diapers per day for 1 month: 180 x $0.20 = $36.00
14 months: 25 lbs – Size 4: same as above = $36.00
15 months: 26 lbs – Size 4: same as above = $36.00
16 months: 27 lbs – Size 4: same as above = $36.00
17 months: 28 lbs – Size 5: 6 diapers per day for 1 month: 180 x $0.24 = $43.20
18 months: 29 lbs – Size 5: same as above = $43.20
Total: $230.40

19 – 30 Months
This time she is expected to gain 12 lbs in 12 months, so once again 1 lb per month.

19 months: 30 lbs – Size 5: 5 diapers per day for 1 month: 150 x $0.24 = $36.00
20 months: 31 lbs – Size 5: same as above = $36.00
21 months: 32 lbs – Size 5: same as above = $36.00
22 months: 33 lbs – Size 5: same as above = $36.00
23 months: 34 lbs – Size 5: same as above = $36.00
24 months: 35 lbs – Size 6: 5 diapers per day for 1 month: 150 x $0.30 = $45.00
25 months: 36 lbs – Size 6: same as above = $45.00
26 months: 37 lbs – Size 6: same as above = $45.00
27 months: 38 lbs – Size 6: same as above = $45.00
28 months: 39 lbs – Size 6: same as above = $45.00
29 months: 40 lbs – Size 6: same as above = $45.00
30 months: 41 lbs – Size 6: same as above = $45.00
Total: $495.00

Grand Total: $1210.20 (approx. $40 per month).

This grand total is low compared to the amount that most CD sites say you will spend (usually $2000 – $3000). Of course, if I were to have a larger baby I would have to transition into the larger diapers sooner which would be more expensive over time. I also could be estimating the number of times I will change her per day to low or to high. There are a lot of unknown variables, but this is at least a basic minimum cost. Now to cloth diapers!

Cloth Diapers

When all was said and done after my diaperjunction.com and cottonbabies.com purchases:

  •  6 diaper covers (2 each of Flips, Thirsties Duo, and GroBaby)
  • 42 small diaper prefolds
  • 1 Snappi
  • 58 disposable covers (40 GroBaby and 18 Flips)
  • 1 Wet bag
  • 200 ct. Flushable Liners

I spent: $202.26

6 – 18 Months
According to the diaperjunction.com site the prefolds should last until she is 5 months old. Then we will need to buy the next size up which will last until she is 18 months old. I bought 200 flushable liners and want them to last 5 months (because I can reuse ones that are not soiled by washing them with the prefolds.) This means that over 150 days I plan to use 200 liners = 0.75 liners per day. Therefore from 6 months all the way to the end of 18 months I would expect to use: 13 months x 30 days = 390 days x 0.75 liners = 292.50 liners. They come in packs of 200 for the infant size and 100 for the toddler size. For simplicities sake lets say that I will buy one package of infant and one package of toddler for the period of 6 – 18 months. I also bought 58 disposable diapers for traveling and long day trips. I don’t plan to use these very often, so let’s assume that I use all 58 up in the first 5 months: 58 liners/150 days = 0.40 liners per day. That means I would expect to need: 390 days x 0.40 liners = 150 liners. At this time I will also buy 3 more of our favorite covers. Assuming they are the most expensive ones and that I don’t get a discount this time around. All orders over $75.00 ship free.

  •  35 medium diaper prefolds: $2.25 x 35 = $78.75
  • 3 diaper covers: $16.95 x 3 = $50.85
  • 200 ct. infant sized flushable liners = $12.99
  • 100 ct. toddler sized flushable liners = $7.00
  • 3 – 50 ct. boxes disposable liners: $19.95 x 3 = $59.85

Total: $209.44

19 – 30 Months
On to the large size of prefolds for the next 12 months! We will only be buying toddler sized flushable liners now: 12 months x 30 days = 360 x 0.75 liners per day = 270 liners or 3 toddler sized packs. We will need more disposable liners as well: 360 days x 0.40 liners = 144 liners or another 3 boxes of liners. I do not plan on buying anymore diaper covers at this time.

  • 25 large diaper prefolds: $2.75 x 25 = $68.75
  • 300 ct. toddler sized flushable liners: $7.00 x 3 = $21.00
  • 3 – 50 ct. boxes disposable liners = $59.85

Total: $149.60

Now, I just need to figure in laundry costs. According to this post I plan to wash 100 loads of CDs per year. If I plan on having AJ potty trained by 30 months that is 2.5 years = 250 loads of diapers. So, since life happens lets round up to 300 loads.

300 loads x $0.03 in homemade laundry detergent + 300 loads x $0.61 in water and energy (Go here to determine your average cost per load.) =  $192 ***EDIT: Please for the love of keeping your cloth diapers in good condition do not use homemade laundry detergent. I made the mistake, don’t you make it too***

Grand Total: $753.80 (approx. $25 per month) with Prefolds.

Savings: $453.40 (with prefolds)

Instead of doing the above, after my first purchase mentioned above, I actually ended up buying 6  Bumgenius 3.0 with 6 liners for $89.00 (Buy 5 get 1 free!) and 24 BumGenius diaper doublers for $39.60, and 24 BumGenius one-size inserts for $83.76. Total: $212.36 and these she still wears along with the 4 one-size GroVia and Flips covers. I wanted to leave the original calculations though, in case someone was interested in using prefolds all the way through potty training. We gave up on them after she grew out of the first set.  Also, we are still using washed pieces from the original set of flushable liners. Until they start solids, you don’t need to use the liners, so we just started using them around 5 months and wash the ones that she doesn’t poop in.

This brings the total for me to $607.12.

Savings the real way: $603.08

If I was going to go back in time and do it over again, I wouldn’t have bought the prefolds. I would have just bought the 12 covers (because the Thirsties fit her when she was small and nothing else would) and the BumGenius inserts. I do fully plan to use what I have already bought on our next child and only buy more flushable liners and maybe another cover or two (probably Flips) just to add a little to the stash. Hope this helps!