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!)


''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??

Monday, March 9, 2009

Why I am happy.

I am actually fighting a really depressed state this morning.  Yesterday my daughter and I took my husband (daddy) to the airport to fly to Hawaii for a week for work.  There were a million reasons why we couldn't accompany him.  Number one being that we just plain couldn't afford it.  

I am having such a hard time today knowing that maybe someway, somehow we could have gone with him.  Well, we couldn't and we didn't so I need to get over it and focus on what I do have in my life that does make me happy.

1.  a wonderful healthy, happy and perfect daughter
2.  a sweet and dear husband who respects me and loves me more than anything
3.  that caring husband who is a gentile and loving father that loves and cherishes his daughter more than anything
4.  an emotionally close, loving and supportive family who all live just minutes from me
5.  a wonderful safe and comfortable home on private land
6.  the ability to do my favorite hobbies, soaping and sewing
7.  the knowledge and love of making wholesome and healthy meals
8.  a healthy body with never a concern

okay, the list could go on and on, but I feel much better now already.  Thank you.   :-)

What do you have to be happy about?

Albertsons ad is here!

here it is...

Green Grapes .99 lb

Kraft is running a promotion; get $10 back when $25 is spent.  This would make...

Triscut 1.50
Kraft Salad Dressing 1.50
Orowheat Bread 1.50
Digornio For One 1.50
California Pizza for one 1.50

All before coupons.

Check out the Grocery Gathering for you local grocer!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

free organic lettuce!!

Earthbound Farms is giving away free organic lettuce seeds! Go quick as they say they usually run out fast....

Dont have a garden? No problem, they give simple instructions on how to grow them indoors in a used salad container!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

just soaping away...

Oh, here they are.

As I go to put on my pjs and robe tonight, while my husband puts our daughter down to bed, I discover my missing droppers in my robe from this morning. You know your busy when...

I was making soap bits this morning and could not find the 3 droppers I had gotten out previously... I looked everywhere! Good thing I had more in my supplies because I clearly never would have looked in my own pocket for them!!

I have been busier with my Etsy site than I had imagined. I am not selling a ton of items, but I am surprised that I am actually selling some things! I have even had a return customer already and I just began selling with Etsy last month! I am really excited and am planning on putting more of my focus there.

I will be getting more organized, stocking up a bit more and showing you guys more of my stuff. And, I do plan on doing a few more give-aways. Just not quite yet!

Here is the Summer Lemon soap I unveiled just this morning... It smells soooo good! The lemon essential oil I purchased from Brambleberry is the best I have ever smelled, I really am in love with it!

I wont be posting it for a month or so as it has to cure, but I am thinking of doing a whole lemon line, or maybe citrus set.... lemon soap, orange lotion, grapefruit body scrub, lime lip balm, lemon candle, grapefruit bath bombs...... what else can I make???

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


and finally here it is;

I dont know...  It doesnt look too great this week.  Maybe thats why we waited so long...

Kellogs cereals will be 1.67 again

3lb bags of Granny Smith or Red Delicious apples will be $1.50 (or .50 lb)

some BOGOs....

For those of you who were wondering, I dont actually get the ad early myself, I get it from someone else who is kind enough to share it when he gets it early every week!  So, no, I never really know when its coming either...  ;-(

Want to see your favorite grocers deals?  Check out BeCentsAble!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Discover your local Goodwill (or I will!)

I have been on a quest for used books for my daughter.  I have found them at local thrift shops (few and far between), my favorite childrens consignment shop (a little pricy for me unless on 'sale') and even at used book stores, or 'boutiques' at the outrageous prices they ask!

I know the library is available to us, we do go there every week, but I just prefer not to borrow books as my daughter is still young and usually chews/colors/looses/fills with raisins/rips them.  You know.

Somehow, just today, I remembered that the Goodwill sells books.  The nearest Goodwill is about 30 minutes from my house, and I haven't been there in years.  When I went with my daughter today I was so pleasantly surprised, I mean thrilled!  What a huge selection of things; childrens clothes and books were my top interests today.  If my daughter only had slept in the Ergo a little longer I could have discovered so many other areas Im sure.....

The prices were pretty great. All childrens books were .79, unless otherwise marked, and I think I only saw 2 or 3 of those out of the hundreds lining the shelves.  The kids clothing was organized very well; by age(ish), by sex, by item (long sleeved, or pjs), and by color.   The toys were kind of everywhere, but still somewhat grouped together.

The toys I was able to find for her Easter Basket were great as well. I scored a bunch of Melissa and Doug wooden tool toys, a toy box and peg set for 2.99 all together! I was just amazed at the wonderful playthings they had on the racks.

I was able to scroll through a few clothing racks while hanging on to my now awake and active toddler, sorting out a few quality items at decent prices.  I didn't pay more than $3 for any single item and came home with some really awesome things.  Quality brands do mean a lot to me as I know the better an item is made the longer it will last.  I have seen this with cheap 100% Target shirts that pill after 3 washes vs a consignment Gymboree that holds up to anything.  This in mind I only purchased the Gap, Greendog, Janie and Jack, and Nordstrom today for her.  (the rest are in the wash right now!)

Keep in mind that I had to sort through a fair amount of things I would not consider quality or worth my money.  I imagine Goodwills in wealthier areas have higher quality things.  (I just read they have one in Bellevue!!  mom?  ya ready?)

While we have been donating to the Goodwill for years, this is the first time I have really appreciated how wonderful they really are.  The Goodwill Industries is huge support for the community giving good jobs and active life training and work experience to so many people with disadvantages in life.

Find your local Goodwill here and help support your local economy!

Prefer to shop online?  Check out  Too funny!  But, hey, the prices are better than ebay.

...and are these deals still not good enough for you?  (I want more!) Every thursday starts a new half off sale.  Next thursday is 50% off All Pink tags!! (they actually have calenders at the checkout with sales listed, you know I grabbed one,  yippee!)

and as always, Happy Shopping!