Friday, April 30, 2010
This week I threw out a little bit of bagged salad. Throwing out salad materials has been a pattern lately and is totally my fault in terms of just forgetting to plan to eat it. I really am going to to try to prevent and lettuce from ending up in next week's picture!
Also I threw out a very little bit of chicken meat from tacos. Tacos have been hard for me to eat both this pregnancy and with my daughter...I really need to just hold off on making them until this baby arrives!
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Last week in the mail I received a flier for Kohl's that included a card for $10 off a $10 purchase! They send these out from time to time, and are a great way to get something for free (or for very little out of pocket). My card expires the first of May, so I am planning to use mine tomorrow.
Companies often send out ads like this one with a really great offer (this is basically free money to spend in the store), but they are banking on most people spending more than the $10 they are giving you. If I have something picked out at Kohl's, then spending the $10 on that and getting a $30 outfit for $20 is a good deal. But if I mindlessly go into Kohl's to use my $10 and end up picking out $30 worth of stuff that looks good just so I can get it for $20, then it probably isn't a good deal. I wrote more extensively about my opinions of what makes a good deal here.
I'm planning on finding something little as close to $10 as I can. Did you get this mailer from Kohl's too? How are you planning on spending it?
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Kodak is offering a free 5x7 photo card through May 4, 2010. Order by May 2 if you want it in time for Mother's Day. You can also make the card for another occasion. Use the code 4MOM when you check out. Shipping is 99 cents.
Shutterfly is offering 3 5x7 photo cards through April 29, 2010 (hurry on this one!). Again, you are able to make these for another occasion if you do not need that many Mother's Day cards! Use the code CARDS4MOM when you check out.
I have made photo cards with both Kodak and Shutterfly before and they are really easy to do and look awesome!
Friday, April 23, 2010
This week's casualties were a result of last weekend's Passover Seder with friends. We were a few weeks late on the seder, since Passover was earlier this month, but it was a lot of fun. However we had a few leftovers that I was unmotivated to eat this week: a little bit of matzah casserole and a lone potato pancake.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
One of the biggest things that we have done over the past year is working to reduce the amount of paper waste we throw out. We used to go through a TON of paper towels, and often it was just for something as simple as spilled water on the counter or floor. The same was true for paper napkins - we'd use them for something little and then toss the napkin in the trash.
So, about this time last year, I went to Walmart and bought a pack of 18 washcloths for $4. We keep these in our napkin holder near the table. It looks a little funny, but they sure get the job done.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
When we change a diaper, the used one goes right into our diaper pail (we don't use a fancy one) which is a trash can with a wet bag in it. The wet bag is fantastic!
We have a Blueberry one that has a draw string closure. When its full, we dump the diapers into the washer and throw the wetbag in after them.
One of the main complaints with bumGenius diapers is that the velcro wears out. While this is probably the biggest problem that we've had with them too, it is not something that makes us regret choosing this style. As I stated above, line drying the diapers has really helped to keep up the velcro. The velcro is what makes these diapers just as easy to use as disposables also! When we did our diaper trial, we tried fuzzibunz (which is very similar to bumGenius except for snap closures) and did not feel like we could get as good a fit on our daughter. Of course, other people may have different experiences too!
One of the main things that people ask when they hear we use cloth diapers is "But isn't that so much extra work??" While washing diapers every other day or every day may be more actual work, the way I've found to make it work for our family is to make it just part of the routine. I do not keep a lot of disposable diapers on hand, so I have to wash diapers if my daughter is going to have something to wear!
The flip side to this all is that I rarely have to shop for diapers. I do keep my eyes open in the drug store ads so that I can pick up a pack for cheap or free every few months, but other than that, cloth diapering saves me the time of buying diapers!
If you use cloth diapers and have anything to add, please feel free to do so in the comments. As always, any questions are welcome too!
Monday, April 19, 2010
I used Baby cheapskate to find some of my first cloth diapering resources. It was there that I was introduced to Jillian's Drawers - where I buy my cloth diapers. Jillian's Drawers has a program where you can test cloth diapers in your home for 3 weeks. At the end of the 3 weeks you can return everything and only pay $10!
I have since found a few other similar programs. Franklin Goose is does a month long cloth diaper trial program for $10. Diaper Daisy has a program where you only have to pay return shipping on the diapers in the 2 week trial. I'm sure there are many other trials out there too!
Another resource I've found is the ladies that write Prayer of Hannah. Many of them use cloth diapers on their children and share their experiences from many different lifestyles (including washing their cloth diapers in apartment complexes where the laundry is down the hall!).
Cotton Babies, the makers of bumGenius (our favorites), often will have items on sale, Sometimes they sell 'seconds' -- diapers with slight defects -- for discounted prices as well!
Diaper Pin is a website filled with cloth diapering resources. On the main page is a list of cloth diapering sales. There are also a number of forums where you can get information about cloth diapers from others who use them, including a place to buy and sell used diapers. You can also check out reviews on tons of different diapers, which could help the decision process!
The biggest thing that helped us to make a smooth transition to cloth diapering was the trial program. I totally recommend doing an in-home trial of diapers before investing the money. The best part for us was that we were able to see how it felt to used cloth diapers all day long, wash them at night, and them use them again the next day. We also were able to see several different cloth diapers and figure out which kind we preferred.
One of the scariest things about beginning to cloth diaper for us was that we knew no one who used cloth. Since starting cloth, we have met many people who use cloth diapers too (many of them bumGenius like we do). We've also been able to encourage several friends to try cloth and they have had great results!
If you have any questions about starting to cloth diaper or any of the resources that I mentioned, please let me know. On Wednesday I'll be going over our routine for daily use, care, and washing of our cloth diapers.
Friday, April 16, 2010
This week I threw out a little bit of spinach. We ended up with way too much salad left over when our families came for Easter, and this spinach is all we wasted, so I'm pretty happy about that. I also threw out some pepperoni from the freezer. It was a large bag we got from Costco that got terribly freezer burned.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Materials bought from Lowes:
2 2x8x8 treated boards
3 deck slats (for stakes to go into the ground)
1 package of screws
8 cu. feet of garden soil
Total cost: $51
I compared this to the flimsy 46"x46" raised bed kit for $40 and a 4'x6' cedar kit for $80...I totally got the better deal.
My dad brought his circular saw and a workbench, and he and my husband each had a powerdrill. They used both so they didn't have to switch bits in and out as frequently.
First, we cut the boards once each. I wanted my raised bed to be about 2 feet deep and 6 feet long. They drilled holes for the corners and used screws to fasten in place. Additionally, they cut the deck slats (pictured below) into smaller pieces, with a point at the bottom. These were screwed on at all four corners, as well as every 2 feet along both the front and the back. They go down in the ground to prevent the bed from moving at all.
They also used a countersink to get the screws flush with the boards.
We set the bed down in place and it fit great! We had to dig out in places for the stakes to go down deep enough and used a level to make sure that the back and front of the bed were even.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
You can get more information about this on Subway's Facebook page.
Friday, April 9, 2010
Anyhow, I tossed half a can of refried beans today. I don't know when they were opened. We have not eaten Mexican in weeks. I kept checking them, thinking I would use them, but they ended up getting dried out because I didn't put them in an airtight container.
I did manage to salvage some things this week! I froze a bunch of strawberries (we ended up with 6 pounds in the fridge at one point Easter weekend) as well as some cantaloupe. I did have to throw out a good third of the cantaloupe because it was over ripened.
Have you gone through your fridge this week? I feel so much better prepared for our meals this coming week knowing what I need to use up now! Thanks as always to The Frugal Girl for starting Food Waste Friday!
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
I found a couple of great websites to help you determine when is the best time to put things in the ground to give your plants the best chance at survival. The Farmers Almanac has average frost dates for every state. I found this to be helpful in making sure that I did not plant too soon! I also stumbled across an interesting article on the Farmers Almanac website about the Top 5 Easiest to grow Vegetables. Of the 5 they listed, I am growing 4 this year!
Last year I kept it simple and only grew tomatoes, basil, and cilantro. We have to keep everything in pots, which makes it a little more complicated. On Monday I will share with you my new planting location, which I am so excited about!
Since I knew I would have some more space this year, I decided to start a bunch of different vegetables in these little peat pods. I got mine at Walmart, though I've seen them in garden departments at Home Depot, Lowes, etc, also. I got the case (which holds 72) along with all 72 pods for about $6. Next year I can reuse the case and just get some more pods.
I used them last year for my tomatoes and I felt like they worked really well for starting indoors and moving outside. Since each pod is separate, it is so easy to transplant them when your plant gets big enough. Of course, you do not have to buy something like this; there are many other ways to get your plants started.
When you first get these pods, they are very small (like above), but just add water and watch them grow!
They will end up being about 1 inch high, at which point you can add your seeds. I also found that my seeds sprouted quicker when using these little pods.
Monday, April 5, 2010
I have been making homemade beer bread over the last year or so, and it tastes so close to the mixes. While it is a little more complicated to make from scratch, it really only takes 10 minutes (the time it takes for my oven to preheat to bake the bread).
Here is the recipe I use, thanks to Moms Need to Know.
3 1/4-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 12-oz can/bottle beer
1 egg, slightly beaten
2-3 tbsp butter
Preheat oven to 350. While oven is preheating, combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together well.
Once my oven is nearly heated all the way, I put the 3 T. of butter in my loaf pan and stick it in the oven for a minute or two. This melts the butter most of the way and I use that to coat the pan. I remove the remaining chunks to place on top.