Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Coming into my own as a stay at home mom

Sounds crazy but over the past few month I have had an eppifany of sorts. I have been going through the stay at home mom blues. That may sound funny.. but it sure wasn't. I was forced to become a stay at home mom when my babysitter gave us 2 days notice she would no longer be watching our kids. Finding daycare that fast was not possiable and I was making less then my other half.

Granted I had started the paperwork to get licensed for home daycare.. it was a back up plan. I was living for the high I got while busting up credit card fraud rings, starting a fraud scoring system, processing orders, talking to the banks and moving up in a good company. Then the company became employee owned.. in reality it was manager owned and less kid and family friendlily. Where before a daycare issue I was told it's okay stay home and get it under control and if you can process from home first go for it. Instead it was.. fix it now or quit.

The daycare thing.. well it was a bust.. I lost money. Looong story. Even doing the math though my staying home was cheaper then my going to work. So since then I have been trying to find ways to save money. Cooking from scratch, gardening, canning, freebies and surveys.. anything I can do.. But I didn't get that "I ROCK" Kinda feeling.. I felt stuck.. and like I wasn't really doing much.

Over the summer and the last few weeks I've figured out what was wrong. Way back when it was expected for a mom to take care of her family. This was stressed and everyone praised mom's for being.. well.. mom. It was rewarding and everyone was doing it.. It was the social norm.

It's no longer the social norm.. I have felt like I was letting my family down because I wasn't out making money. There were no performance reviews or raises because I did such a great job. No big "WAY TO GO" when I stopped an order that would have cost my company money...

Instead there was.. what's for dinner.. I'm hungry.. is my shirt washed.. I can't find my sunglasses... he hit me.. barfing and dog messes... These were not accomplishments.. I found negativity at every turn.. even though I didn't know my husband needed that shirt washed or even where it was,  when he asked if it was washed I felt horrible that I hadn't washed it.. or that I didn't know where his sunglasses were or if I forgot to build the leggo house... or if I felt under the weather and made sandwiches.

These last few weeks I was really feeling the SAHM blues.. Until I started canning.. yes the medival torture method that brings sweaty face and burnt fingers :) I slowly started to see my closet fill up with food.. and I realized "I did that" no one else,  I saved all that food.. even better I grew all that food. Then one afternoon my daughter started to help. She's 11 and we don't have a lot in common. At times I'm not sure even what to say.. because I'll get it wrong.. and we spent the day smiling talking and laughing together while canning pickles.

 That day, those smiles and the big hug.. that was my pay raise. Watching my 5 year old son write his name.. that was an " I ROCK " moment. Seeing my younger daughter cut out things like gardens, flowers, and solar lights in an assignment to describe herself.. that was my review and I think I aced it.

I just needed to learn to see my accomplishments instead of my accomplishments being dependent on someone else noticing them. This isn't what we are taught in the work place.. but I'm going to try and pass it on to my kids.  And I hope if there is another stay at home parent reading this it opens up their heart to see that they are amazing!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

When did hard work become wrong?

So my hubby and I have been having issues with the town. We are different and have less money then most around here. Instead of giving up we struggle and fight. One issue has been the height of our lawn.. yes this is an issue.. why? because our neighbor mows as low as he can every 3 days. We can't afford this and hate the way it make our lawn feel. I'm an old fashioned girl and love running through the yard in bare feet during the summer.. it's no fun when the grass gives you splinters!!

We have been given a riding lawn mower that was about 7 years old and had "quirks" and a push mower that a friend found for free that he tinkered with. So basically both were well used.. well this year they have had one issue after another.

I'm tired of the issues, the money spent to fix them, the time wasted trying to get the right part only to get the wrong one 5 times in a row...  So why not use a mower that basically has so few parts it won't break?? and how would we go about finding one like that...

Well after a looooong talk with my hubby we decided to see if his parents still had his grandfather's old reel mower. The first words out of his dad's mouth was.. "you can't use that to mow your lawn, you live on 3 lots!"  Needless to say we now have it.

Yesterday, hubby and I mowed our lawn with the old fashion reel mower. I will never go back to gas! Yes, we have a huge yard and since we live on  a corner there is a lot of parking to mow... but I loved it! The exercise was wonderful and the muscles in my arm felt well used..

Everyone driving around town wasting gas slowed down to stare.. even the mayor took the time for a drive by... we just kept going enjoying our time with the kids working as a family. After a while one guy stopped and asked if we had actually mowed the whole yard "with that!?"  Hubby's answer was yes. They had a nice conversation and I think my hubby may have made another friend. But the man said he couldn't let us mow with it, he would look around for a push mower...

Even my 5 year old can do it! And loves it!!

Mows great look at hubby go!

Bitty got stuck :) It get's stuck on sticks :)

Why? Why is it an issue? Back in the day EVERYONE mowed with a gas-less mower... why is it such an issue now? I don't want to waste money by using gas to mow the lawn.. I can use my energy instead. We also have 3 kids who wanted to help mow and they all can with this one..   I don't get it.. I like hard work.. it's rewarding.. I feel accomplishment that I never felt while pushing a button on the computer.    We had a wonderful rewarding experience with our kids and hope to have many more.. teaching them the value and rewards of handwork!  Check out our pics!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


So after a lot of questions from friends and family about the giveaways, sweepstakes, and free Samples I get. I decided to help everyone out. I am now GiveAwayGirl on Facebook.  

On there I let you know about any Giveaways that I know are currently going on and legitimate... now I'm human so please don't get mad if i make a mistake. But I do enter all the things I post. Just to make sure they are all working. Not to mention I'd like to win to :) 

Later on I will post some ideas on what to do with all the samples you get. :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A little time big reward or how to make money on Facebook for 10 minutes a day or less..

First I should clarify.. when I say make momey to me, if I'm saving money, I'm making money..

I follow a lot of companies on Facebook. I do get annoyed sometimes because I feel like they are crowding out posts from my friends.. but sometimes it's worth it.

You see a lot of big and even small companies do giveaways of full sized products or samples. Sometimes they use a random number generater and you have to be comment number 354, or they ask a question and the company judges the answer and awards the gift to the answer they like the most... or you have to be one in the first 2500 to complete the information sheet and hit enter.

I figure it takes me roughly any where from 1 to 5 minutes to complete one of these forms.. unless the site is slammed and then it make take a few refreshes before I can get to it.

So how does this make or (save) money for me.. well here's how I look at it.

Every free sample is worth something.. either I get to try something new with out wasting money, or I have something to donate, or if the kids use all my shampoo and forget to tell me I have a standby stash of single use packets...  Sometimes I even get full sized product samples. The biggest one's so far have been a Bounce bar, Tide detergent, Swiffer duster, and at least 6 boxes of Keurig cups.

Now that sounds cool and worth the time.. but those giveaways are all rigged right? I'll never win 1... please think again.. it's worth the time.  Last year I filled out a form and won a Rain Barrell. This year so far I filled out a 2 minute entry last month and won Fake eyelashes and nails from Kiss Nails...  cool right? They are something I can't afford to buy but would love to have.. money saving there...

But this week has been by far the coolest for me... yes I know this may end... but here's why it was worth it to me.

My Flat Iron is on it's way out... it's over 5 years old.. I use it anytime I do my hair. I can say I've been milking it and trying to make it last because I really don't have the money to buy a new one, but need to have it to look nice.. I was contemplating trying dreadlocks out.

 So I entered a few giveaways that were going on... and not only did I win a top of the line flat iron (I would have got another cheap $30 one) but a Curling Iron, Salon product, Hair Treatment, Hair Feather (my daughters will love) and a round brush.. something again that had just broke.  So I look at this and see I made over $550 for a 2 minute answer...   So are the giveaways worth the two minutes... I think so..  

To add to this today I recived an email from a diffrent company and won Vegan Shampoo and Conditoner worth $49... I think my hair is set for the next few months... I just made/saved money and it took a total of 4 minutes to fill out these 2 giveaways... so worth it.   Not to mention I could never afford to buy such high end products.. I'm a suave kinda girl...

Yes you may not win every time.. but it might just pay off to take the minute to fill in that little form!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Frugal Makeup Tips

So I've been spreading my wings again to learn more ways to save on things we use around here. Just a note about me. I'm not a huge Makeup wearer... I only wear it about once or twice a week cause most of the time I am at home in Frugal/mommy/gardening/getting dirty mode.. no nead for hair and makeup.. tye my hair in a bandana and go...   And my hubby actually likes me like that lol :)

But for the occaisions I leave my house I love makeup and am NOT afraid of color.. that being said I've had to learn ways to save and repair makeup and other face stuff.. you will not see my buy a $20 eye shadow.. but you may see me get it for $5 :)

#1. Repair dropped powders...
If you drop a pressed Eye Shadow or Cheek Powder here's and easy way to keep it useful.
Simply get whats left together and crunch it up with a spoon or other object, place in the make up pan and ad a few drops of Rubbing Acholol or plain eye drops (the Achool dissaptes and you won't feel it at all when you use it) Mix to a thick cream consistancy, tap lightly on the table to get the air out (you'll see bubbles rise) let sit out over night and tomorrow your back in buisness... see no more thrwing out eyes shadows and Blush just cause they broke! :) I haven't tried it with powdered foundation but let me know if you do and how it works!

#2. Make your own make up 

Yep make it your self.. you have more control, can try different shades, cheaper and it's a bunch of girly fun .. check out TKB Trading They have all sorts of ingredients and instructions and the cool thing is you can buy as little or as much of a color you want.. buy bigger bags and split with friends :)

#3. Moisturizer..

Okay, I'm a girl whose skin is dry.. but my face I can coat in any mosturizer I find and after putting on a primer and base.. you see little dry skin cracks start to form and spread..  The answer a really cheap solution Rose Hip Seed Oil... Yepper inexpensive and works great it also helps tone down redness!  I just rub a little in before bed and If i'm feeling a litte dry put some on before makeup and it works beautifly.. now I can use foundation and cover up blemishes that before I never could! All at the price tag of $5 for 2 oz... and it lasts forever!

#4. Samples

Okay it may not seem right to pay for samples but these are bigger nicer samples and sometimes even full size  product and they are normally the "IN"  thing instead of last years left overs. I've gotten every thing from a $25 sample of a $100 moisturizer to a full size Tarte product, a Full Size Essie Nail polish with the Luminous effect... to other awesome items.. you do get a few bombs but they may be something a friend likes. Check out Birchbox  I've found some great things and have been able to try a lot of things with out having to pay full price! I love them!   For those that want only Eco Friendly check out Eco Emi they to have good products but are a little more expensive.. sometimes their extra boxes go up for sale every month so you could try them that way to if you wanted..  All of these you can stop at any time :)  The other cool thing is if you review the products you send you earn reward points.. every 100 (after every 2 boxes if you reveiw everything) you earn $10 twoards a free product.. if they screw up like send a duplicate sample or the shipping takes way to long they give you free reward points!  I love this company!

#5. Follow Birchbox and Makeup companies on Facebook
This may drive you nuts in your news feed.. yet you can get lots of products on special sales that they only have for Facebook Customers and they do give a way's frequently!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Trying something new, professianal haircolor at home!

As a mom of three crazy kids and wife of a Semi driver saving money is huge for me. We normally barter things, such as produce, canned goods, skills that we can teach or babysitting for things that others can do that we can't.

I love to barter because I feel that both sides save money and get a reward far bigger then buying something or paying someone to do it for you.

This being said, the other side doesn't always come through. In this case a freind had a bunch of stuff going on so I understand why 2 months later she is still unable to help me.

 Having your hair done is something I feel most women take for granted. You see $40 a month plus that $150 every other month for dye or highlights is something many women can't afford. I know I can't (the blow dryer I have had for over 7 years just died this month.. even though it wasn't in the budget hubby bought me a new one cause I'd be lost with out it).

If I can squeeze out $20 to have a hair cut once every 3 months I'm lucky. Hubby and my son.. well I have an electric razor so worse comes to worse... bzzzzz. (my 5 year old son has a mow-hawk that I can folow the lines too... so thankfully I can cut his right now). My husband likes a high and tight.. but when despreate will have me cut it. I have learned how to trim bangs and bob's.. luckly my youngest daughter likes to grow her hair out for Locks of Love.. so my oldest is the only one that has a reular hair cut and even she doesn't get her's cut but once every 3 months.

So when it comes to dyeing my hair (If I don't I have Grey highlights at 31 yikes!) I end up using the store bought cheap as you can find hair dye. For a girl who when stressed feels better by doing something crazy with her hair.. this can be stressful when you don't have the money or use cruddy product.

Enter in a friend going to school to be a hairdresser. Paying herdirectly and giving her expearience saves me a lot of money and helps her in 2 ways, a little money in her pocket and expearience cutting and dyeing extremly thick hair.   By doing this the professional dye costs me less then $3 and the developer works out to cost me $2 a dye (my hairs thick remember.. most it would cost half of this) so in product my hair costs.. $5.00 for all over color and $10 for all over color plus highlights! And it's professional color OH YEAH! So paying her a little or watching her kids when needed has been a good trade.

So my friends been busy and I bought this color and developer for all over color and highlights.. As much as the people at Sally's and hairdressers make haircolor out to be this huge crazy hard thing it's not. I got the urge and decided to do it my self. All over color didn't scare me. 20 developer and Wella gel color mixed at a 2 to 1 ratio.. okay I can do that, 2 ounces developer 1 ounce color... paint your whole head and let sit 40 minutes.. wash out and boom yummy rich hair color that lasts!

The highlights though I worried about.. I mean really worried... but today I was fed up with my hair and boom I'm highlighting it. Dark Brown with Red highlights.. Mix the same as above and seperate hair and apply color where you want it.. let sit.. wash and your done.. not as hard as you think..

So I know have dark brown hair with light red highlights in spots.  I can do my own hair with better product that saves me money and makes me feel better about dying my hair. It also lasts way longer because more color is put in your hair. So I now have a Sally's card and can dye my hair anyway I want with out worry. :)

Just know with a little research and will you can do what you want to at a fraction of the cost!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Repotting Tomato Plant's.. or another use for canning jars.

This weekend I noticed all of our Tomatoes were getting way to leggy for their little starter pots and realized we were going to have to move them into bigger homes before planting them outside. I looked for ideas on what I could use that we could then reuse and wouldn't cost much...

I couldn't find much.. most people used bigger pots, or Solo cups or Styrofoam cups... things along those lines. Well with only $5 to our names I know that wasn't going to be happening this weekend. So I looked around the house.

We had 4 shelves of empty canning jars waiting around for canning season.. I have 3 Chive plants growing in a window that have looked so pretty for the last 2 years. They are in blue canning jars..  My mind went racing and soon enough we were putting tomatoes plants in canning jars. :) it was harder to find room for them but they are all doing great and I didn't make more trash!

How to get your five year old to beg you to vacum or I new my house was odd.. but this really proves it!

Okay.. so my family is odd.. we get weird looks when tell people we don't have a favorite tv show (I love big bang Theory but have bought 2 seasons on disc.. yea I know they are on the 4rth or 5th). We found TV was running our lives and went.. NO MORE..

We don't use a microwave AT ALL..
And all the other odd stuff.. but his new thing.. really made me laugh and feel odd... but then it made sence.

We don't own a regular vacum cleaner anymore... What? I know shocked right! We kept blowing them up.. well we didn't the kids did.. add that to converting the house to all wood type floring who needs a vacum... except we still have two bedrooms and 1  stairway that still has carpeting..  enter the SHOP VAC.. yes a shop vac.

Instead of a regular vacum cleaner that cost upwards of $200 or one that breaks after 3 months use.. we have a $50 shopvac.. It's light weight, rolls easly and has the longest hose ever seen.. what's more.. it picks up wet and dry spill and even glass with the greatest of ease..

But the biggest plus with the shop vac.... My 5 year old son BEGS to use it. It's considered a manly vacuum, a power tool that a 5 year old can use...  what does this mean to me... not having to vacuum the stairs anymore :)    Yea! for the Shop Vac!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Garden 2012

We were with out internet for 3 days.. and I realized just how much we could get done when the internet was off... 

Even though it's March I feel a huge Garden Pressure.. why? Because it's already been 80 degrees for a week straight! Highly unsual. After the year we had last year where it was 90 degrees in June and it killed all of our started plants.. I feel like we need to rush this year.. and pray tht April rains don't drown everything!

Over the weekend we managed to not only clean the house, but clear out and plant all but 1 of the raised beds. The only reason why the 1 was not planted is we need to put dirt in it first :)  Granted 2 boxes were already planted and growing Garlic. ;) 

As of right now we have these things seeded.
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Kolrabi
  • Asian Cabbage
  • Radish
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Dill (1 whole bed for Pickling)
  • Ginger
  • Horseradish
  • Mint (came back from last year)
  • Lemon Balm (came back from last year)
  • Strawberries (came back from the last few year's)
Inside in flats I have these Seedlings Growing

  • 4 Diffrent Tomato's 
  • Mini Bell Pepper's
  • Green Bell Pepper's
  • Golden Bell Pepper's
  • Red Bell Pepper's
  • Peppercinie's
  • Tomatillios
  • Asian Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Sage
  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Parsley     
Seed's Waiting to be planted
  • Spinach
  • Pea's
  • Harcord Vert Green Beans 
  • Luffa
  • Cuecumbers
  • Mini Cuecumbers
  • Strawberry Pop Corn
There are also a few flower seeds started and waiting to be planted

I am trying to grow Sweet Potato slips in my windowsill but I may have started to late.
I still need to buy some more Onion Bulbs and potato's... but this sums up my list for this year.

New this year
  • Sweet Potato's
  • Mini Cuecumber's
  • Mini Green pepper's
  • Ginger
  • Horse Radish
  • Asian Cabbage
  • Radish
  • Hardcord Vert Green Beans
  • Kolrabi

Back after an absence
  • Spinach
We realized how much we missed this veggie in our salads!

We still have the Rose bushes and Iris's in our flower beds and a few misc flowers that were planted here before we bought the house. 

This sums up this years Garden excited and can't wait! I love watching things grow!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

2012 in PICTURES!! :)

Asparagus that came up after being planted over 2 years ago.. this had never come up before! It was located at the original end of our Garden

Microwave update 6 months

Okay.. so it's been over 6 months since we put our Microwave on a shelf in the laundry room... Do we still have it ... yes... where is it? ... still on the shelf.... why? because we are waiting to find someone in need of it instead of trashing it.  

We have not used it at all since retiring it to the laundry room closet. I will never have a microwave again.
I don't have to worry about plastic containers or food not fully cooked. I have reclaimed the space on my counter top and have stopped wasting the power use for each plate... And popcorn tastes so much better in a pot on the stove with a little bit of olive oil!

Weather?? Is this the new norm?

Okay.. I know that freak weather systems are normal.. but do we now have a new norm.. and if so what's really going on?

Last year we had unseasonably warm weather early in the year.. A lot of crops suffered or were not able to produce fully because of the fast onslaught of heat and then another fast onslaught of cold... but there was never a real winter here in IL. I never shoveled snow, only 1 day did we have severely slick roads and they melted by noon.. highly unusual for the backwoods area I live in.

Now they are predicting a heat index of 97!!! Yeas 91!! On next Monday. It's only March 15th!!  This to me is getting super crazy scary! 

So I've sceen the posts.. oh your just doomsdaying good weather enjoy it it's fine... As someone in my position.. I can't ignore it.. my family depends on the Weather to grow the  food that we live off of every year... We save $1,000 's  because we can and dehydrate and try not to have to buy vegetables or herbs and spices... If we can grow it we don't buy it!

So for those that say quit making this into global warming... what else is this? And why is this?  How do we prevent this or fix this? 

 This is why my family is doing their best to go Green... honestly if we had the money, we'd be the first to do all solar and wind... I'd love to convert into it and we've been looking into it. It's so expensive and on a low income budget impossible to do.  But there are things we can do.

Reuse,  recycle,  re-gift, re-purpose, and much more!

Please join us in our fight for a healtheir planet.. we may not be able to reverse the damage that's been done but maybe we can slow it down so that our kids don't have to wear sun suits to walk outside!

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012.. WOW the changes

Okay.. first... last year I was a bad blogger :(  I feel so bad that all my pictures and the amazing things we did around here never made up on the Internet. I know I had a good reason but it still really annoys me personally!

A few months ago I was diagnosed with scoliosis in my neck, so the constant headache and migraines had a source and my not wanting to go near a computer screen unless absolutely necessary had a founded reason.  I can say I am having great results with treatment from a wonderful Chiropractor. I'll try a post sometime about it.. but I think it's time to get to the heart of this post... where we are in 2012.

Yesterday after spending the day at my parents I realized just how far my family has come since I started this change.

We no longer do things because it's acceptable or the norm but think about everything we do.

Let me explain..  This is a list of the changes we've made and the steps getting there

Canned soda's thrown in garbage - Thrown in can/can - Homemade Soda using a soda stream, buying syrup in bulk or making our own syrup

Throwing EVERYTHING IN THE GARBAGE! - composting anything possible and buying things in compostable packaging if the same price as those in non.

Paper Plates, napkins,plastic silverware, and plastic cups all disposable - No more paper plates, napkins, plastic silverware, plastic cups.  

Paper towels - took a ton of old clothes that don't fit and were well used and cut them up into rags, bought a 5 gallon bucket to throw them in after used... great for all spills :)   (still have 1 roll on hand for dog mess's just in case it's way to gross)

Toilet paper and Kleenex - It's a hard one I have made a bunch of what I call "Girl wipes" out of old flannel sheets, we have ones specific for blowing noses (rags work to) and others for going number 1.. number 2 is still tp... can't get on the band wagon for using them for that...   We have a small lidded trashcan with removable liner we us for them after they have been used.. they wash great and feel even better!  Pads are also flannel..

Things we've added:

Aquaponics systems  - growing food and herbs inside all year. ( I have 5 green peppers on the plants right now and lots of basil)

Dehydrating  - We had a smaller one that we were using to make jerky and dry herbs. My parents gave us an industrial sized one that will do up to 15 lbs of food at 1 time :)  I have dried apples into apple chips, and lemons (they look like stained glass)  basically anything that is going out I can dehydrate to save :)   I bought 4 lbs of garlic and am getting ready to dry it for homemade garlic salt (need a way to get Iodine back in our diet since we never use plain salt.. by making our own we can use table salt and cut out the MSG and other things that are added)  Also, we were giving some ground deer meat to make jerky out of :)

Canning -  We canned a lot this year... if our Garden actually has a good year we will need to triple the amount of jars :) I love homemade Salsa and pickles :)

Buying in Bulk - This is our latest project. Sam's Club is our new Best Friend :) Don't know how to store 25 lbs of flour... do what I did.. go to the dog food isle at Meijer :) The Dog food containers are all now food safe, Free of bad things, seal better then Tupperware and need I mention the big one is on wheels? Yippee I wheel my flour around my kitchen and love it!!

Bread and Noodle Making -  I make all of our own Bread and Pizza Dough... for those that say theirs not enough time... have you really tried it? 10 minutes to make the dough.. let it rise an hour and boom cook for 20 minutes and there you go.. do it in between commercials or cut out a TV show I dare you :)   Corey has helped me make homemade noodles and ravioli.

TV - We have Bunny ears only and only use them for Football and bad weather to see whats going on.. You'll be amazed how much the mom I wants go out the window cause they can't see all the junk and advertising they don't know what they are missing :)  We also use Netflix

No junk allowed -  I'm a mean mom.. there is now a no junk allowed policy in place.. basically no junkie toys.. they break, mom gets stabbed in the foot and spends 3 hours using peroxide to clean the carpet :(

No Carpet - Only 2 more rooms to go on this change.... it's so much cheaper to use a broom and doesn't cost near as much to replace!  I can add the exercise we get and in emergency's we do have a shop vac.

No Junk in rooms - Every on of the kids had choices about what they really want.. then we paired everything down, rooms stay clean mom's feet stay safe.

Homemade Christmas - We made (mainly I made Home made presents.. this will stay around. I learned how to knit and worked on Christmas presents.. this year we may add Dehydrated items and make little gift baskets :)

Family Christmas - The Big present for the kids/ our family was a punching bag, exercise and a way for my ADD/ADHD'ers to get out some aggression... and can I say it helps mom too :)

Those seem to be our big changes the ones I can see, and measure.. but there are so many more.
There is so much I want to accomplish this year, from more garden space, more canning, more dehydrating...