Money saving laundry tip

I can’t remember where I got this little tip from years ago but it has saved many loads of laundry from bleeding colors. I buy a box of Shout Color Catcher about once a year. The value size has 72 sheets but I double that by cutting them in half. I don’t have a big problem with bleeding colors becuase I wash most loads on cold but there is usually a blue/purple tint to the sheet after the load is done washing, indicating that it has absorbed some color from the clothes. 

DIY laundry detergent 

I started making my own detergent about 3 years ago after finding this Blog post with ingredients and directions.  I have since shared this recipe with many friends and still get asked for the recipe so I thought I’d share my experience.  

I follow this recipe loosely. I choose not to add the scented crystals because I like a subtle clean smell to my clothes and I thought it would be over powering. Even without the sent crystals my husband gets compliments on the smell and is asked what kind of detergent we use.  The recipe does not recommend using a food processor but I’m a busy mom and sometimes all I have to work with 30 minutes during nap time.  

I am all for using the food processor to get it done. Just make sure everything is completely dry before you start and rinse ALL of the residue off before loading food processor parts into the dishwasher. I didn’t time myself but it takes me an estimated 20 min to make enough laundry detergent to last me about 15 months.  The best part is spending under $30 for a year and a half of laundry detergent! Here’s a little snippet of how it goes down… 

Baby sign language

My sister rented some baby signing DVDs from a library in Portland when my nephew Alexander as almost a year old.  He seemed to love watching the DVDs and started picking up signs quickly.  

We started signing with Nola when she was just a few months old and have recently come to see the fruits of our labor.  

I felt silly signing to the slobbery bobble-head doe eyed infant that rarely even made eye contact.  I got some eye rolls from skeptics, but I kept at it, unbothered.   

Now my almost 15-month old is picking up a few new signs a week and is consistently using 8 basic signs.  Of course, when prompted she will demonstrate the sign but she is starting to use the signs she has learned to communicate on her own accord.  

We purchased the baby signing time collection and have found it incredibly helpful.  Here is a link to the full Baby Signing Time DVD set.  You can save money by purchasing the digital collection or by purchasing it used.  It is not necessary to buy this set to sign with your baby, obviously, but it really made things easy.  I do refer to you tube for quick references for certain words I can’t remember or want to learn quickly.  I usually search “sign language + (word I’m looking for)”.  

Here are a few tips I have found helpful:

  • It’s never to early to start, like reading 
  •  Be repetitive.  Consistency is key. Every time you your give baby milk, say and sign milk
  • Get all or as many caregivers as you can involved, like potty training. It takes a village
  • You have to be willing to learn it to teach it
  • Every baby and child will learn at a different pace.  Be patient 
  • Have fun!! Make it more like a game and less like boot camp 

I am by no means an expert but I’m happy to answer questions and share what works for us! 

I felt that it made sense to introduce a few signs at a time and gradually add new signs as I learned them.  

I’ll try to remember to get more videos of her signing and post them, but here are a few that I have! 

Hunter boots for almost half the price! 

I’ve been swooning over Hunter boots for several years now but they weren’t high on my to buy list since I have some pretty cool Missoni rain boots.  While shopping at Half Moon Outfitters this week I scored some classic black Hunter boots for $80!! 

The women’s boots retail for $140 and are a bit too wide for my skinny legs.  The tall boots are way too tall for my petite frame.  

So for you Hunter-loving ladies that are petite and wear women’s size 5-7 you might want to check out the kids section for these babies! The quality and design is up to par with the adult version.   

 
I wear a size 5.5-6 in women’s and the youth size 4 fir perfect.  I think the 3 is equivalent to ladies 5.  I’m guessing the youth 5 would fit women’s 6.5-7 but don’t quote me on it!

Organizing kitchen utensils

We’ve had a lot going on lately, packing up and moving to a new home.  I hope I’ll be able to share more as we start settling in.  Today’s post is a result of a small victory in the abyss of kitchen organization.

There was a random towel bar installed under one of the cabinets and I couldn’t figure out how to use it or if I wanted to just get rid of it.

Today I stopped by Lowe’s and picked up some ‘S-hooks’ for $0.30 each.  I was able to declutter my utensil drawer by displaying some of the utensils.  I also freed some space in my kitchen towel drawer, which is where I was awkwardly storing my oven mit and pot holder.  Now my they are conveniently located right next to the stove.

I might use this method in my craft room too!

If anyone’s wondering, the sticky notes are reminders for this ADD momma as we attempt to establish a new routine in the new house

 

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Baby food storage 

One of the things that upset me when I stopped making enough breast milk to store in the freezer was that my nifty organizing trays would no longer be used.  It drove me nuts to have random bags thrown in the freezer and I loved having my precious liquid gold neatly organized and in chronological order.  

I recently pulled my First Years milk storage tray back out of storage to use now that I’m making my own baby food.  Im using the bottom for storing and organizing  frozen baby foods. I also had a ton of Lansinoh breast milk storage bags left over, so   I’m storing cubes of frozen food in them.   (Side note: I think these are the BEST bags) Since I only pump enough for one day supply, I just use bottles now.   

   

I think it’s a good idea to date them as well, because I believe it’s recommended you only store baby food in the freezer for one month. I only have about 2 week supply pictured.  Keep in mind, this is probably not the most cost effective set up, but I do love how organized it is.  I will continue to purchase the milk storage bags for baby food because I personally think it’s worth it.  

But wait, there’s more!  We keep some of those nonperishable organic food pouches on hand to grab and go without having to worry about food spoiling in the diaper bag or car.  The LID to the storage tray is perfect for keeping those organized in the pantry! 

  
See my post on DIY baby food for more food storage tips. 

Our Cloth diapering supplies

I decided during my pregnancy that I wanted to cloth diaper.  I knew that it would be challenging and I promised myself I would give it my best but not sacrifice my own or my family’s sanity trying to do it.  It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to do it all, and lose yourself in the process. There are several reasons why I personally chose to cloth diaper.  This article by The Natural Baby Co pretty much sums it all up.  I didn’t necessarily save money this time around because I got caught up in buying cute and some limited edition designer diapers.  If I can refrain from buying all the cute boy prints for my hypothetical future baby boy, then I will save lots of $$.  

     Keep in mind that there are several types and brands of cloth diapers, and finding the ones that work for you and your baby is about preference and trial & error.  If you want to read up on some of the different brands and types Here and Here and  Here are some links.  

This is a great resource for figuring out all the supplies you’ll need to cloth diaper Click here.

  

These are the products that I use and highly recommend: 

1.  Grovia Hybrid diaper. I also have used Bumgenius, Kawaii baby, Fuzzibunz, and Best Bottoms, but Grovias are my favorite 

2. Diaper Dekor.  Can be used for disposeable. We used disposeable until she was 8 wks, then switched to cloth.  It has a locking lid and contains the smell well.  I would only recommend for cloth diapering ONE child, as there is not room for more than 2 days worth of diapers.  I consider this a perk because it helps me keep track of laundry. (Going more than 2 days without washing can cause stains and smells to set in) 

3. Pail liners:  I have 2 Pail liners so that one is always clean.  The bags always go in the wash with each load of diapers that they carry.  I use PlanetWise and Ubbi.  I like them both.  

4.  Wet bags.  I use the large Planet Wise bag for daycare and this Skip Hop bag goes in the diaper bag (not just for diapers, soiled clothes can go in here too!)

5. Detergent:  I LOVE Charlie’s Soap.  It seems pricey but goes a long way!  I expect to have only used 2 to 2.5 containers in a year. (100load container).  This Biokleen Bac-out stain remover keeps my stash stain-free.  

6.  Drying rack.  I usually dry everything on low, but if I notice any stains that need to be treated, I set them aside to dry on the rack because the heat can sometimes set in stains.  

7. Diaper sprayer.  AND Spray Pal will make your life easier when it comes to handling poopie diapers

8. Flushable liners also make it easier.  You can flush the liner with poop and all.  Usually don’t have to rinse after.  

9. Wipes.  I didn’t plan on using cloth wipes, but it actually makes it easier to just throw the wipe in with the diaper, especially when it’s just pee.  We love Honest wipes for cleaning poop. 

10.  Disposeables.  Yes, sometimes shit gets real.  We use them when we have sitters, go on trips and when we just can’t deal (with cloth) Grovia biosoaker is also a great option if you have the hybrids.  

11.  Diaper rash cream.  Fortunately I have not had to deal with a diaper rash in cloth, but Sometimes I put California baby diaper cream on her at night since she sometimes sleeps 10 hours.  This cream wouldn’t be my first choice for treating a moderate to severe rash.  We did have to use Budreaux’s Butt paste for a rash when she was on antibiotics and pooping every hour, but we were using Disposeables at that point.  Make sure you have a cloth-safe diaper cream just in case.  Some barrier creams can ruin the absorbency of the diapers.  

It’s really not as difficult or unsanitary as people think.  

Feel free to ask questions and stay tuned for Blog posts including my wash routine, storage, and cloth wipes tutorial! 

Easy DIY organic baby food 

I’m so excited to use some amazing baby food supplies I reiceved as shower gifts.  I LOVE my Cuisinart Baby Food Maker & bottle warmer! It’s a 3 in 1 machine that allows you to steam and immediately purée your fresh/raw foods including fruits, veggies, and meat! It also functions as a bottle warmer.  


The manual is so easy to follow and provides a food chart that makes the process fool-proof.  

    

 

  I also love this OXO Baby Food Freezer Tray.  I prefer this over a regular ice cube tray because it is 100% BPA free and comes with a lid that keeps the food protected and allows you to control the amount of cubes released.  

With the Cuisinart baby food maker you simply cut the food items to the recommended size and add the specified amount of water using the included measuring cup (all on the food chart).  Set it to steam and simply switch the knob to “chop” once it’s done steaming.  Once it is cooled, I transfer the puréed food to my freezer tray and in to a few of these OXO Baby blocks which I place into the refrigerator (to be eaten within 2 days).   

When the food in the freezer tray is frozen, I transfer it to a labeled freezer bag to make room for the next food.  I pop one or two frozen cubes into the OXO blocks and send them with Nola to daycare.   

I am choosing to introduce only vegetables first since babies will usually favor fruits.  I have found that it helps to add breastmilk when first introducing a food. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing solid (puréed) foods at 6 months, so talk to your pediatrician about when you should begin feeding your baby solids.  We started at 5 months.  

I can’t remember where I read this so I can’t site it, but it’s a wise tip and makes sense: consider waiting 3-5 days in between introducing new foods.  This will allow you to monitor your baby for food allergies.  

**I am in no way affiliated with any of the above mentioned products or companies and do not profit from my personal endorsements.  

DIY uncrustables: PB&J pocket sandwiches

I found guilty pleasure in those addicting pockets of pb&j by Smuckers! They are loaded with high fructose corn syrup and artificial preservatives so I decided to make my own!

A 4ct box retails around $2.99, but my goal is to use better quality ingredients and minimal preservatives.  You could certainly save money making these by using low-cost ingredients or finding them on sale.   

I almost bought this little gem on Amazon for around $7 but I found one at my local Publix for under $4. (Augusta Kroger and Target did not have it) Wonder sandwich sealer

Next time I will probably try using Ezekiel bread and freshly pressed peanut butter, but I used what I had on hand.  The only ingredients in the peanut butter include organic peanuts and salt.  The fruit spread contains 4 simple non GMO ingredients and has no added sugar. 



You can use any bread you like, but I would recommend not using a bread With the indentation at the top (as pictured above) because it makes it harder to seal. 

Hot, yummy breakfast in 1.5 min

As I’m figuring out by trial and error how to do this “Mom” thing, finding the time to eat minimally processed nutritious meals has been quite a challenge.  

Strategic Meal planning and prepping is the key to balanced wholesome meals when you’re a busy mom.  I’ve started making breakfast foods ahead of time and just reheating on busy mornings.  

Last week I made  10 breakfast burritos with 10 eggs, 10 slices of bacon and some shredded cheese.  I just cooked the bacon, scrambled the eggs with cheese (you can add cheese later instead), added the ingredients to the tortilla, and rolled them up into burritos. I wrapped the ones I froze in freezer paper, then Press-n-seal.   A few went into the refrigerator, and those were just wrapped in press n seal.  To reheat, just remove the press-n-seal, leave the freezer and microwave the frozen burrito for 30 seconds, turn it upside down and zap for another 30 sec.  Remove press-n-seal from refrigerated burritos, wrap in paper towel and microwave 20 sec on each side.  

This week I made sausage, egg and cheese sandwiches.  One lb of sausage makes 7-8 patties. I whipped up 8 eggs in a bowl and then used egg rings to make egg patties.  

These were my tools 



 I let everything cool and then put the egg, sausage and cheese in a Baggie for each sandwich.   To reheat, you just put an English muffin in the toaster, and microwave just the sausage 30 sec.  Flip it, add the egg and cheese and zap for another 20 sec.  This is for refrigerated.  I hve not yet reheated frozen.  I did put wax paper between the egg and sausage to make it easy to separate the frozen ingredients.  



. Just don’t overcook the eggs (I left them a little wet) since they will cook a little in the microwave.   

I’ve heard great things about these too but haven’t tried them: 

Mini quiches

Of course, I would skip the Pam and use organic ingredients.  

Note: I realize bacon and sausage are not necessarily minimally processed but we eat meat in this house and it’s level 2 or better (whole foods animal welfare rating standards) and it beats fast food any day! 

***Your microwave times may vary.  I have a 1200 watt inverter microwave, if that helps. 

Bon Appetit! 

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