DiY Detergent

I have always considered myself to be a semi crunchy frugal to borderline cheap housewife. While I never wanted to encapsulate my placenta, I have no problem with cloth diapers, cleaning with baking soda and baby wearing my toddler.
I have spent just about the past year and a half trying to cut my grocery budget by any means necessary and decided to start with DIY baking recipes and household cleaners. About 5 months ago, I decided to take the plunge and make my own laundry detergent. The main reason being, my kids fly through laundry and the price of detergent isn’t cheap. For years I was loyal to Arm and Hammer detergent, but price increases made me start to reconsider.
Many bloggers post how much money they save with the fels naptha and borax. I am now converted too!
You can make it in super bulk or do like me and make a month amount at a time.

image

Here is my price breakdown.
Borax $4 a box at Doller General – use in 2 cup increments and I have made 4 batches with the same box so far
Fels naptha bar $1.29 each
Oxy clean $4 a jar at Dollar General – use 1/2 jar per batch
Baking soda $7 for a 6lb bag at Sams that lasts forever – create washing soda and use as baking soda for 4 cups each batch
Pyrex crystals $4 at dollar general – use 1 cup each batch

total per batch around 6.29 (give or take a few pennies)

Each batch lasts about a month for me and I will wash once or twice a day.

Directions
Chop up your soap (for a better blend, I chop as much as possible)

image

Blend in food processor or blender until fine powder

image

Combine soap, borax, baking soda, oxygen bleach, and smelly crystals.

Mix well.

Get to washing!

ps- I save my oxy clean scoop and use that as a measuring tool -2 scoops per large load

ingredientsAmounts

Baking soda – 2 cups

Washing soda – 2 cups (or bake baking soda for 2 hrs at 400 degrees)

Fels Naptha – 1 bar

Oxy Powder- 1/2 jar

Purex Crystals – 1 Cup

Borax – 2 cups

—-

I have dry and rather sensitive skin so was happy that I didn’t have any reactions to the new detergent. My husband thought his clothes smelled fine so he uses the 2 scoops whenever he does laundry without complaint!

My next big investment will be a larger container so I can create larger batches at a time. I currently use a large Tupperware Container and that isn’t quite cutting it.

 

TIP- To see how long you use a case/bottle of detergent, put a date label on it!

Stay frugal!

-Krissy

Fitness Friday- PIYO

fitness friday

Happy Friday! This week I’m going to tell you about another great workout. piyo-logo-300x252This is the perfect at home workout to do if you want to become flexible, lean, and strong. My former group fitness instructor would always say that PIYO was yoga for those with a short attention span. There is upbeat music, less focus on just breathing, and it will wipe you out!

Chalene Johnson is the brainchild of PIYO and I love her workouts! I have talked about her TurboFire workouts in the past and this one is great too. Plus she is over 40 and looks amazing. This workout stuff really does keep you looking good!Chalene-PiYo-quote

So pretty much you have 3 options when it comes to ways to do this

1. Do it with a group at a gympiyo-w-hotel-grit-by-brit

Pros

*Make friends

*Struggle with others

*Enjoy the music pumping and the group atmosphere

*Direction from instructor and help if you are doing it wrong

Cons

*Struggle in front of others

*Have to join a gym

*May have to pay for childcare

 

2. Buy the Workout Videos herepiyo2

Pros

*You can do it in the comfort of your own home

*Workout in whatever you want and not feel uncomfortable

*You don’t have to worry about driving to a gym or getting child care

*Chalene shows modifications for beginners

*You get free coaching!

Cons

*May be pricy if on a tight budget

*No personal instruction or one on one modification help while doing the workouts

 

3. Find free PIYO videos online

Pros

*Free

*You get to see all sorts of different styles

*No one is watching you and all the other benefits for working out at home

Cons

*No direct instruction of modifications

 

So pick your choice and try out the PIYO life! It should be low impact enough for those with past injuries and again, it makes you flexible!! You can’t beat flexible!

-Krissy

Book 2 in the Works!

coming-soonHey Housewives! If you didn’t already know, I spent a large part of 2013 writing my book The Challenge- For Lazy Housewives. I pretty much wrote it as an old note to everything I used to be and the path I took to overcome. It was amazing to see that more than one person actually bought it, so I spent the past few months working on my next book in the series (if you want to call it that).

Coming in Spring 2015 will be The Challenge- For Frugal Housewives. I have been working hard on ways to overcome the challenges of living on one income in our society! I hope you look out for it and I will keep you updated as the time draws near. Plus, I will release it early in a special test group for those attached via Facebook!

-Krissy

Christmas Shopping

Free-Wallpaper-Christmas-TreeIt is the most wonderful time of the year, but I have way too much going on.

Yes I am aware that Christmas is a ways a way, but it is never too early to save for the holidays. In my family, the fall/winter season is expensive. We have our anniversary, my birthday, thing 2’s birthday and thing 3’s birth, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Plus I am still in school, my husband started back in school, and even my little one is in school. We are moving soon and life is super busy.

I am spending the free time I have right now to alleviate the stress I will have if I wait till the last minute.

To keep our budget and stress manageable, I have started my Christmas shopping even earlier than usual. By August 2nd I had already preselected the kids Christmas and birthday gifts into my Amazon cart. The plan is to keep an eye out for local sales of these items and acquire one each month until the big days.

I also am being that frugal mean Auntie who is shutting the doors for Santa gifts. I don’t want my 14 nieces and nephews to take it personally. I just have seen how they celebrate Christmas and the overabundance they receive. Note- There is nothing wrong with that. We are just a family on a budget and grad school is not cheap! I will give them gifts when they graduate when it really matters! In the mean time, my boys are growing like weeds and I can barely keep up! My 3 year old wears a size 12 shoe!

Anyway, if you want to keep your holiday expenses from piling up, the time to start making a plan of attack really is now! This is what I suggest-

1. Make a gift list.christmas gift list

2. Shop around and get prices on the gifts.compare

3. Create a reasonable budget, now that you know all about costs, and see if you need to make substitutions anywhere on your list.Budget

4. Split up your shopping over the next few months. Look at deals and when the best time to buy certain items are. I actually thought this guide here was pretty helpful.toysrus-black-friday-01

5. Find a hiding spot in your house to place all the gifts you acquire, just don’t forget where you put them like this guy!clark-gris2-520x292

6. Kick your feet up and enjoy the fact that you can now avoid the craziness of holiday shopping!feetblack-friday-shoppers-crowd-the-floor-at-macy-s-the-day-after-thanksgiving-486800777

 

Coming soon- What are you eating for the Holidays (A Few Months Early)

-Krissy

Fit Friday- The Butt Bible

fitness friday

Even though fall is rolling around the corner and we will start bundling up soon, it is always nice to have a great butt! I feel a little silly writing this, but it is true! butt

This summer I found out about the Butt Bible workout and started doing the leg killer workouts on my feeling good pregnancy days. It will make you sweat and it will burn.pauline-nordin-interview-4

The Trainer Pauline Nordin is a trainer and athlete and has trained on The Biggest Loser!

You can buy the discs here

or you can watch it on YoutTube here.

Here is the workout guide too!bbplan

So here is a nice workout option if you are looking to build muscle, tone, and look great for yourself and your man!

-Krissy

What I am is

My kids and I have gotten into the habit of watching Sesame Street during breakfast. I actually feed and sit at the table with them, but I am usually planning my day, going through my lists, or wasting time on Facebook while Elmo croons songs I have heard at least 100 times before. But, one song really stuck out to me so much you have to hear it.

Yes it is geared toward kids and has used a heavy amount of auto tune, but if you are ever feeling a little low, unmotivated, down on yourself, tired, sad, fat, whatever- this is a great song to listen to!

- Throw what I am is Phenomenal in there!

Krissy

Homeschool Preschool

For about the past year, I have done a lot of preschool homeschooling. It took hours and hours to find different programs and then going through what worked and what didn’t work for my family. Last month, my 3 year old started official preschool and now I’m starting the process all over with my almost 2 year old!

Things to Think About

temp

 

1. The preschoolers temperament

There is a reason why preschool teachers are saints! When it comes to teaching your child, you will start to see a whole new range of emotions. Sometimes they will become angry and frustrated when something is too difficult, sometimes they are happy and having fun, other times they will not want to focus or do anything regarding your lesson.

womens emotions_0

2. Your temperament

How do you handle your kid when they are difficult and really don’t want to learn? Are you a super strict teacher, perfectly patient or do you go with the flow? Teaching preschool ideas that are so basic and simple can be *ahem* boring, but these are things baby needs to know. Sometimes I would get frustrated with Thing 1 when the concepts were so easy and he wasn’t getting it. I was switching from working on grad work to teaching the concept of up and down. Some days it was hard for me to connect and other times I just wanted him to correctly count those darn airplanes.

My best advice it to start slow, go with the kids flow and don’t get worked up. When you feel frustrated on both sides, take a play break and pick it back up tomorrow or later in the day.

time

 

3. Time, Time, Time, and Scheduling

When it comes to preschool, you need to figure out when is the best time for learning for your kid. If you want to make it as schoolish as possible, I suggest that you keep the same schedule everyday and teach at the same time. For our school, we would wake up, have breakfast, do a lesson and worksheets, watch a video, then it was nap time. The rest of the day was me doing whatever was on the calendar or just hanging out and playing. Kids kinda have to learn a lot and learning does take time. Some days will be easier than others, but set time aside each day for learning. If you are a type A, then go on ahead and make a schedule like a teacher and stick too it!

4. Materials and costs

supplies

 

What is your curriculum budget? There are many free resources you can find online. However, printing a full year curriculum will take a lot of paper and ink. If you want to go for traditional work sheets, you can find some at your local book stores for under $10. They usually have many different activities that have target objectives for each age. If you are doing arts and crafts, look into how much daily activities will cost as well. Or you can order a full curriculum set from different homeschool sites and catalogs/

5. Creativitypreschool-math-activities

How creative are you? Be honest with yourself! If you love crafts and doing cool science activities, this will be a blast! If you hate glitter and goo and your home is not a place to have finger painting, that is ok too! You are the teacher so you decide. Teaching should be fun for the most part, so never try to overwork and exhaust yourself doing crazy things that you aren’t creative enough to do. Stick to the basics. I promise your kid is too young to say I’m bored. They will instead enjoy the attention and want your praise!

 

Now that that is out of the way, here are some of the top things I have used (in no particular order) while pre schooling my son.

 

1. Abc Mouseabc

Pros

*My son did enjoy this for the most part.

*I found out what he likes – He loved to do the puzzles and dance to the letter videos. I bought him a large selection of jigsaw puzzles after seeing how much he liked doing them on ABC mouse

*Easy to sit down and go through the activites

*Site is easy to navigate

*Site has a pet (Whoohoo. No real gerbil poo for me!!) abc m

Cons

*Some of the activities are hard. The tracing is hard for me to do and I’m an adult!

*When doing the learning path, you have to go through each item and my son doesn’t like the books aloud so he can’t progress to the next level

*Everything isn’t laptop friendly

 

2. Monarca (Bilingual for Spanish)monarca

Pros

*This has to be one of my favorites. The content is amazing and I can teach it in English or Spanish

*The worksheets were challenging enough and my son loved doing them

*If you aren’t the best at Spanish, it is easy to go over

*The website is easy to navigate

*The content is great for 2-5

*There are lesson plans you can use or do your own thingmonarca2

Cons

*You will use a toner to print all the papers and you probably should have a ream of paper on hand

*You may have to take the extra step in looking up pronunciation

*It doesn’t teach grammar, just words, but you have to start somewhere right?

 

3. Hooked on PhonicsHooked on Phonics 2010

Pros

*Videos are cute, catchy, and multicultural

*Each day has a lesson and ideas of additional activities you can do

*You can work through the lessons quickly, and the books are fun for the kids

*Flashcards are always great to have

 

InHome_PreK_components

Cons

*The online activities are too easy. For example, the popcorn game will ask for the same letter when you are doing the letter. My son got bored with that very quickly

*More expensive than other methods

*Level 1 is very basic, so you might have to skip ahead to Level 2 and it seems like you wasted money

*While the dvd’s are cute, they are very repetitive and it is like they have 6 song templates and then alternated them. If you sit and play the disk all at once, you will hear the same song repeated just with different letters.

 

4. School Zone workbooksschool zone

Pros

*Plenty of activities for kids to do

*Very helpful with tracing, mazes, colors numbers and shapes

*Perfect to use for a break (for you) and the kid can color/trace/do the worksheet

*Easy to tear out sheets

 

preschool

Cons

*Some sheets leave little to color or space for kids to be creative (not a huge deal, but fyi)

 

5. Letter of the WeekScreen shot 2014-08-05 at 12.17.15 PM

Pros

*Completely free lesson ideas/curriculum!

*Very age appropriate lessons and many ideas for the non creative moms

*Shows you how to set up a teaching area

*Gives you so many resource ideas it is amazing!

Cons

*Can’t think of any!

6. Sesame Streetses street

 

While this isn’t a curriculum, the songs are very catchy and most kids can’t get enough of Cookie and Elmo. I would use the sesame street songs and DVD’s in conjunction with the lessons. For Alphabet week, we watched the Alphabet Jungle game. For Letter B week, we looked at the songs for the letter B. Sesame Street has been on for just shy of a million years, so there are plenty of episodes that you can incorporate into your lesson.

That is what I have used so far.

-Krissy