Tuesday, August 18, 2009

MUST READ; The Toilet Paper Test....

I was fortunate enough to receive a generous gift from the people at Charmin and Febreeze. I thought to myself, hmmm, toilet paper, whats the big deal? Everyone knows the 'expensive' brands are softer, thicker and nicer, prettier and so on.... so what more is there to know, I wondered.

After closely inspecting my new kit I tried the 'thickness' test and soon discovered that, yes, 7 sheets of Charmin are thicker than 28 sheets of 'generic'. This got me to thinking.... how much money are we really saving when we purchase the cheap stuff, even with sales and coupons???

If I spend $1 on a 4 pack of cheap TP (say, on sale but without coupons) that would be equal in absorbency to one roll of Charmin. (appx. as it takes about 4 squares of cheap TP to equal 1 Charmin)

It would take 4 packs of cheap TP to equal ONE pack of Charmin!!! Wow!

I was expecting to be impressed by the quality of Charmin, I was not expecting to discover on my own the mere frugality of it as well. I now think differently about my TP 'bargains'.

I also got to test out the new Febreeze decorative candle-free luminary and find that it is by far the most attractive fragrance product out there in that field. Quite lovely!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Free Listings on Ebay!

I have recently discovered selling some of our gently used items on Ebay. They have a new program now that allows you to post 5 items per month at NO CHARGE! Yippee! After your item sells, if it does, you will still be charged a small percentage to Ebay and to Paypal (of course. )

If it doesn't sell you are still out nothing!

Selling is SO easy, I just had no idea! You must register with Ebay, easy, have a PayPal account, done! and be able to load pictures to your computer, simple!

The free listing offers one picture and a starting bid price of .99 cents. I have sold a quality electronic item for over $100 using this method! Its awesome. I have also sold a large amount of clothing this way as well. Some things will be popular and go for more than you expect, some just may not sell, or sell for .99 cents.

I have been a little disappointed a couple times when an item sold for just a dollar, but felt better after I reminded myself that I:

1. cleared out my closet of something I don't wear
2. recycled
3. made a dollar!
4. made someone else's day!

Check it out HERE and start selling!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

good coffee + cheap price= caffeinated excitement!!!

Wow!  This week you can get bags of SBC (Seattles Best Coffee if your not a local) at Albertsons for ONE DOLLAR!

Check out All Together Beautiful for the rundown.

oh, and for those interested in my Home Made Toothpaste post, where to get ingredients WITHOUT shopping at 6 different stores,  I will add to it next week after a little bit of work!!  :-)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

$10 at Albertsons

Yeah!  I haven't done any Albertsons shopping in some time and have really been itching to use some double coupons again.  I saved $40 here and spent $10 out of pocket.  The best part is we NEEDED everything I got.  We were on our last bottle of salad dressing and my daughter was in need of juice, bread, crackers and our coffee cream was almost out, ahhh!  

Okay, the Kashi meal was free with a coupon, thats why I got it!  A fun lunch treat to reward myself after all my bargain hunting!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Free kleenex for life

As I am not a fan of using disposable items I try to find new ways to incorporate environmentally friendly substitutions in our lives every day.  

I have a few cute embroidered handkerchiefs that I use for myself, but I wanted something for the whole family.  I would need a lot if it would replace a box of tissue during cold seasons.  Purchasing 20 handkerchiefs was out of the question, and I only wanted more 'one use' items anyway.
I soon realized that if I cut up some of my husbands old white tee shirts (from of my sewing scrap bin) I could duplicate the 'kleenex box' idea.  Cotton tee shirts are from fabric woven very tightly and will not come unraveled so don't need any sewing to keep them together, simple cut to shape!!

Thrilled in my discovery, I knew the real test was my husband who had just been hit hard by a cold.  I showed him the stack and he was happy to try anything.  He was instantly in love with the softness and sturdiness of these.  Now he won't touch the crummy disposable tissues!  Tossing them into a laundry basket instead of the garbage seemed to create no extra hassle for any of us.

We keep them in our kitchen towel/rag drawer for ease!  I'll never go back to paper!

(I know its been forever since my last blog post, sorry Grandmas!!,  I'll try to get a few more in during the weeks  :-) in the mean time check out my Etsy site and see where all my 'spare' time is going!!)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Albertsons is going to....

Jane from All Together Beautiful has agreed to take over my Albertsons postings and Sneak Peak Previews.  

I know she will do a wonderful and thorough job and I cannot wait to check in from time to time to see for myself.  Be sure to keep checking her blog daily as we never know when the sneak peak will become available.  

As many of you know I have turned my focus to my Etsy site and my soap business.  I seem to be staying busy enough there now to fill my hobby roll and just leave enough time to be mom and wife as well.  I just don't have space left in my day to dedicate to my blog the attention it needs.

Thank you everyone for all your help on Albertsons over the past, and lets be sure to give Jane a big welcome!

Monday, April 13, 2009

albertsons ad is here!

here it is!

check out the Grocery Gathering for your local grocer!

----------------------------    ------------     ---------    -----   ---   ---  --   -   -   -  -
Well, as Im typing this one handed while my daughter sleeps on my lap all I do is envision my next creations; I really need to make more baby lotion, finish my espresso massage bars (heavenly!!) and make more peppermint mocha sugar scrubs.

the Albertsons ad?  I think Im ready to pass it on.  With a growing toddler and a growing soap business I just dont make the time to blog like I used to.  Its fun when I get that urge and want to ramble on endlessly about something I created, some of my thoughts and ideas or especially when I think I really know a lot about something!!  I just cannot commit 100% anymore.  

I would like to know if any of you are interested in taking over my Albertsons Ad posts.  I  know there are still a few of you out there that enjoy the sneak peak, thank you.  I am happy to share my sources and pass on the links as well through BeCentsAble the Grocery Gathering.  

Interested?  email me at sweetsydneybean  (at)  gmail  (.com)

otherwise, enjoy Albertsons this week!  I'll touch base from time to time!   :-)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

why Albertsons doesn't always impress me...

Heres what I got at the Commissary for $35.  I was quite proud of myself this morning!  Even with my now-toddler walking up and down every isle, taking cans off the shelf and putting them all back, with my help of course.  Silly girl.

I got a ton of stuff including 2 bags of organic apples, one of organic pears, a case of tp, tons of salsa, lots of cheese for friday pizzas and enough stuff to make my husband lunches for quite some time!

...but, I will have to go to Albertsons if I want cereal!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

albertsons ad is here!

and here it is...

wow, its been a week since I've blogged.  I have been directing my focus elsewhere, the family and my soap business, as well as an un-manicured 7 acres that we purchased last fall.

now I've got to finish clipping my coupons quickly before my little one beckons me to bed....

Monday, March 30, 2009

albertsons ad is here!

and here we have it;  Albertsons Ad Preview
(it was a little slow again for me to load, so be patient or try again if you need!)

Im not impressed...

grapes .99lb
head of iceberg .99
Post Cereals 1.57 when you buy 2
Kellogs Cereal; buy 3 boxes(at 1.99) get one gallon milk free.  great if you have coupons!!

check out the Grocery Gathering for more grocers!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Best Homemade Toothpaste!

I have made toothpaste only a couple of times recently and found/created a wonderful blend this morning.  

Okay, your thinking 'homemade toothpaste?', Come On!  But, do you realize how many harmful chemicals are in standardized toothpaste?  Some of these horrible chemicals are Sodium Lauryl Sulphate(SLS), Triclosan, diethanolomine and Isopropyl Alcohol.  Did you know Flouride can be fatal for children when consumed in high dosages?

Want more info?  Heres a great easy list from the Chicago Tribune.

Okay, there are some safe ones out there but be careful, even the standard toothpaste by Toms of Maine has SLS in it.  We have been using one called Xyliwhite and love it, but its pretty expensive in my mind at 3.75 a tube PLUS shipping.

Here is my version, give it a shot, we really think its wonderful!

Erins Yummy Toothpaste

baking soda appx 1/4 cup
xylitol appx 1+ Tbs
salt appx 1/2 tsp
liquid glycerine appx less than 1/4 cup
essential oil 1-2 ml (maybe 1/4 tsp?)

(these are all very approximate as I dont write my toothpaste recipes down, really I just go by taste and feel.  Its not a science, trust me!)

Pour baking soda in a bowl, add salt and xylitol(I ground up the xylitol with my pestle and mortar as the first batch this morning was too grainy).  
Drizzle in the glycerine till you get a toothpaste like consistency.  
Add essential oils to taste.  

I made a cinnamon version earlier today that was so cinnamon-y it made my tongue numb so be careful, that was also due to a lot of testing!  My second batch, the white one, turned out perfect!  Crushing the xylitol was really key to a perfect product, and so was lots of peppermint oil!  If it was in a tube nobody would even know it was homemade!  

Oh, except it doesn't foam.  I have been using natural toothpaste so long I forgot that companies use the SLS and other foaming agents in theirs.  So, yes, you may miss the messy foaming over sensation and huge mess in the sink.  Your welcome.

I store mine in baby food jars and we just dip our dry toothbrush into it before each use.  If you are concerned about the cleanliness of this just keep half a popsicle stick in the jar for sanitary spreading, or make each family member their own jar.

I have not calculated the cost of this but I can assure you it is minimum.  The initial cost of some of these supplies is certainly a factor but once you have them they should last for many, many years.  I purchase my essential oils and glycerine from a local to me and wonderful company called Brambleberry.  I highly recommend them as they always have the very best prices (I know as I compare often always trying to get the best deal), they ship super fast plus the business is run by a regular women, just like me and you.

I got my xylitol from my mother who probably ordered it from iHerb where she gets all of her natural supplements and products, at least the ones I don't make for her!  Im sure any health food store or many grocers would carry this as well.  Check in the natural baking section by the sugars.

The xylitol is a very important ingredient in this product as it has been shown to fight cavities better than fluoride and even has REVERSED cavity deterioration in many studies.  Actually, my mother is an example so I am a true believer.  

Go now,  make some toothpaste and impress your family!  Go on!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tackle it Tuesday.

Yikes, what a nightmare.  It started out okay when we moved in last fall, so what happened???

I can totally blame our toddler for the 3 bottom shelves, but who to blame the top on.....

just an hour later....

Ahhh, so much better!

Check Out 5 Minutes For Mom for other great projects tackled today!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Albertsons sneak peak...

Well, no doubles this time, but there might be some decent deals otherwise...

The Nabisco crackers will be .75 each if you have any $2/2 coupons.

Get a coupon for Free Milk when you buy Kellogs cereal.  (3 boxes cereal + milk= $5) (better if you have coupons)

8oz bags of Albies cheese is 1.68

Well, thats all I see for now....  check out BeCentsAble for more great deals!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Even Easier Box Cake???

I know I haven't blogged in a while, and I do miss it.  We have just been so darn busy.  Well, me really.  Taking care of our sick baby.  She still has a low fever as of today.  Poor sweet little thing.  I wonder if she may have a sore throat as well to accompany her new symptoms of a runny nose and little cough.  hmmm....

Anyway, I had some big time sugar cravings tonight and wanted to quickly throw together something yummy.  Having a pantry full of box cake mixes I got for nearly free I considered one of those.  Being a vegetarian, I really don't buy eggs so googled a good substitute.  I do have a box of Ener-G Egg replacer but didn't know how well that would work here.  What I did found sounded really fun and easy so I gave it a shot!

Its just as good I really think, lower in fat and sooo much easier to prepare!  We both loved it, though usually we eat some healthy vegan concoction, so maybe its not exactly the same.  But amazing none the less!


1 box cake mix
1 can soda - 2 sips  (its supposed to be 10 oz of any carbonated beverage)

Make cake as normal directions suggest.  

Do not add anything else!  Its just that easy.  

(no eggs, no oil, no water, no milk, no nothin'!)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Daddy is back home for a while now.  Thank goodness.  I am happy to get back into the menu planning groove again!  Wow, that and a trip to the grocery store is calling!

leftover orzo from freezer

Irish Potato Soup (a good and really easy recipe!)
Molasses Brown Bread (kind of like my mom makes maybe???)
using the Soy Buttermilk sub here

refried beans in crock pot

spaghetti (thaw sauce from freezer)

pizza night
veggie tray

stirfried tofu

leftover buffet
make a nice meal together

albertsons is a GO!!

Looks like it just might be a good one this week....

Albertsons Ad Preview  (with doublers!!) 



Tropicana OJ .50 after doubler
Kellogs products 1.50 (when you buy 10) before any coupons...
Hot Pockets and Lean Pockets $1.50.  Double my .40 coupon=  .70
Tree Top Trim Juice is 2.50, double coupon from yesterday(or last sunday?)= .50!

I'll post more soon!  I know there are more deals out there!  Did you see any great ones???

Check out the Grocery Gathering for your local Grocers!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

my $12 loot

Hit up the GoodWill last thursday to take advantage of one of their half off sales.  Red tagged items were 50% off.  I was able to get a few nice things for really good prices.  The selection didn't seem as good this time,  Im wondering if closer to the end of the month, before typical paydays, things wont be as picked over...  

Ohh, I even found a really nice chocolate brown J.Jill shirt for myself.  It is a little wide so I may have to take it in a little, but if it looks good on I will be happy!

I still have a couple dollars left for our monthly toddlers budget, so I may give it a try in a week or two...

Friday, March 13, 2009

The cutest moccasins!

I was so lucky to win these uber cute Nowali Moccasins from my favorite natural parenting based (sort of!) giveaway site Mama In Flip Flops2.  I was so excited when I won them but am even more excited now that we have tried them out.
These are the first moccasins my family has ever used and Im am hooked!  Living in the milder climate of Washington, slippers and socks are worn all year round.  Especially on chilly mornings.

These are even cuter in person then they were on the site, I had a really hard time choosing one as they offer so many adorable options for both tiny babies and even older children as well as adults!  No more messing with shoes AND socks!  Im sold already.

My favorite feature of these mocs is the super thick and soft 'sock' that makes up the inside.  Not only does it bring warmth up past her little ankle, but it actually surrounds her foot top to bottom.  So many slippers cheap out when it comes to the soles and my daughters feet can get chilly on our cold floors.  Not in these brilliant creations!  To top it off they are lined in a very thick leather that not only makes these appropriate for both indoor and outdoor use but makes them slip resistant, which is very important to us!

Well, my daughters feet have gone from a 3/4 to a 5- 5 1/2 in about a month!  I was worried about getting her a size that would be too small, so as you can see from the pictures I got them a little bigger than I needed!  At least we will get a LOT of use out of them!  (because already she doesn't want to take them off)

She just loved them so much I could not get her to stop running in them.  I know she loves the way they feel, especially since I don't add extra bulk of socks that so many other shoes need!

Thank you Andrea and thank you Nowali!

(and next time I promise I'll get out the real camera!)

How about a BIG freezer?

Just a few years ago we invested in an upright storage freezer.  The 'Suzy Homemaker' in me had been wanting one forever.  We bought it at Sears on sale and even got a full rebate on the delivery as I recall.  

I knew having a storage freezer would save us a lot of money.  Besides filling it with garden produce, extra meals and leftovers I cook, we would be able to take advantage of great sales on freezable items.  I love to hit up the day old bread racks, get lots of tortillas with coupons and even stock up on coffee creamer.  All of these things freeze so well!

When we began our search for a storage freezer, we had initially planned on buying a 'more affordable' small chest freezer.  They are usually in the $170-$200 range for a smaller one.  At the time we had a basement to keep it out of sight.  After some research and some strong encouragement from my mother (thanks mom!) we decided to invest a little more on a larger upright model.  I am happy we went with it.  Not only is it really easy to keep organized, but it is frost free, it does have a light and adjustable shelves.

Now that we live in a one level house, without a garage, we had a tougher time figuring out where to put it.  I did not want it in the laundry room and it will be years before we can add a garage on to our home....  we did have a storage shed outside my daughters room off her patio...   It is was used as a small garden shed by the previous owners of the house and is the perfect size for a freezer!  It is built into the house, similar to a closet outside.  We were lucky that it had a light in it and with a small kit from the hardware store my husband was able to turn it into an outlet.

I think our savings are terrific with this freezer and we have more than made our money back.  I am able to stock it to the brim with coupon deals and keep extra pre-prepared meals in it as well.  What might the savings be??  If a pot of bean soup costs me $3 to make, and I can freeze half for another day and I can get a loaf of 'goumet' dill and onion french bread on the day old rack for .90 (cough-walmart-cough,cough) then my meal costs;

Soup for 3; 1.50, plus bread .90 = $2.40 for a meal out of the freezer

If I do this once a week, versus takeout at Taco Del Mar, Two of the 'bargain' $5 platters + beans & rice f
or baby= $15

$15 once per week x 52 weeks= $780
$2.40 freezer meal x 52 weeks= 124.80

SAVINGS OF $655.20

for only doing this one time a week versus fast food!!!  That will more than pay for your freezer!!

for fun lets compare this to eating out at a decent restaurant only a meager once a month;

$38 includes tip and a glass of wine (hey- we dont get out much, so indulge!, right?) =$456 per year

Instead, have that freezer meal ONCE per month= $28.80

You will SAVE  $427.20

You can still get a decent freezer for that price by not eating out at a restaurant just ONE TIME per month!!  Hey, and you might even be able to put some food in it!

(of course I didn't figure in the cost to power the freezer, but I didn't figure in the cost to drive for take out either!)

From ConsumerSearch.com;

''Reviewers are quick to point out an interesting fact about U.S. freezers -- they're all primarily manufactured by three companies: Frigidaire (owned by Electrolux), W.C. Wood (based in Canada) and Haier (based in China>). Frigidaire makes freezers under the Frigidaire and Gibson names, and along with Haier, makes some freezers for Kenmore and GE. W.C. Wood makes freezers for Amana, Magic Chef, some units for Maytag, Danby and Whirlpool. Haier makes freezers for GE, Kenmore, some units for Maytag and Amana in addition to selling some models under its own name. Thus, it's no surprise that reviewers find no significant differences in efficiency and performance between brands of the same manufacturers (as long as they're new models of similar size and style). This also means that shoppers can pay a premium for high-profile names when the products are nearly identical. For example, Frigidaire freezers sometimes cost more than GE freezers and Maytag freezers may fetch a premium over a W.C. Wood freezer.''

I thought that was quite interesting.  (it was about the three main freezer manufacturers making all of the freezers under different names, if you didn't want to read it!)

So, maybe its time to think about a storage freezer!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

blogworthy grapefruit.

Oh yum. Not only was this the best grapefruit I have had in a long time but it is soooo delicious as well. I ran into Walmart the other day for cheap organic soymilk, shoe polish, contact paper and bananas (where else ya gonna' go for all of those?) and discovered huge bags of grapefruit for.......


I am not sure how many pounds each bag was, but I do know that I am a super dork and just weighed one of these guys on my digital soap scale and it came in at 14.4 oz. There were 7 in the bag. I am guessing each bag weighed at least 5-6 lbs. I would keep an eye out if you are near a Super Walmart.

and, yes, I do eat mine just like they are an orange!

I wanted a sweet and healthy treat for us girls to enjoy.  This is actually healthy enough to be a breakfast or lunch!

If you don't have a rice cooker I suggest you go get one!  Only kidding, this can also be made on the stovetop Im sure, just make it like normal rice.

Simple and Healthy Rice Pudding

1 cup rice (I did half white, half brown)
1 cup water
1 cup soy milk
1/2 cup coconut milk
1-2 Tbs cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
stevia to taste ( I added maybe 1T of liquid, medium strength)
a large handful of raisins

Toss everything in the rice cooker, stir really well and cook on regular rice setting.  Garnish with leftover coconut milk.  Yum!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

he is a little bit gross...

Its hard to tell from the picture, as its dark and Im using my phone instead of a real camera, but, his head is squished back into his neck, his 2nd eyelids are showing and his mouth is open. He is in the middle of a dream I think, happily lay-sitting on our couch.  Sweet and kind of disgusting at the same time.

The diabetes is easier on us now. I am a pro at giving injections, although still needle phobic myself! We have switched him to an all canned food diet. Research I have done has suggested the carbohydrates in dry food cause more severe blood sugar highs and lows. Cats are carnivores and I agree that maybe they shouldn't be eating all the corn normally packed into their regular dry food.

His thirst issues are back to normal, suggesting the insulin is doing its job. We do still see him get wobbly each day and will have to address this with the vet at his next visit. He is happier now, much more himself. He goes outside everyday for a little bit, pending its not too cold. He loves to lay in the sun and eat the grass. He also prefers to do his business out there, which keeps me happy, but you didn't want to hear that!

The diabetes treatment is expensive and takes a lot of care and time. I know its worth it, rather, we don't have an option. We accepted him into our home and owe it to him as a living thing, person or animal, regardless.

All in all, things are on the upswing. Slowly but surely.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tackle it Tuesday; back on the wagon!

Okay, I am back to my organized organizing starting this week!  The past couple weeks I have still been following along with my organization resolution more or less, I have just been focusing on my soap stuff and our daughters room.  I think I do better with just short term goals like shown.  If I want to do more I can!

Here goes....

The refrigerator is in desperate need of help!  If I get really nuts I'll get out the label maker....

and, the freezer.  It is not in a useful state at all, and as we have a storage freezer there is no excuse for that!  Can't wait to get it in order.

Wow.  I am actually a little embarrassed about posting this picture.  At one point there really was some organization to it, I promise.  I have tossed in some things that wouldn't normally belong; baking chocolate my daughter kept stealing from the pantry, my toothbrush (yes, I like to brush my teeth in the kitchen, its just easier with a toddler!!), our vitamins.  Organizing this drawer is long overdue.

Come back next tuesday to see what I accomplished!

Do you have any organization goals this week??