Monday, January 30, 2012

The Poor Girls Guide to Living Rich- Part II

Ok, so as promised, I am going to post only about tried and tested products that you can make yourself.  We have finally gotten to use our homemade color safe (NON) Bleach.  This recipe is safe for all fabrics EXCEPT silk and wool.   I have a toddler who is now 13 months old; and, if you've had a toddler in your home, you'll know what they can do to clothes! His clothes get outrageously dirty from playing outside and eating.  Finally, we've tried our homemade bleach on the laundry. When we let this sit on the clothes with the stains, the stains not only went away, but everything seemed brighter!! We also added some to the wash which seemed to help make all the laundry brighter! So, finally, here's how you do it:



Using a clean, bleach container or gallon jug, mix 2 cups hydrogen peroxide with llukewarm water (enough to fill up the container with room to shake the mixture with out risk of spilling). Simply, mix and shake! After the two are mixed together, this is ready to go! You may also put into a spray bottle to use for pre-stain treatment.  

Now, for the recipe that all my friends have been waiting for. HOMEMADE LAUNDRY DETERGENT! First, I tend to spend $4-8 on a bottle of laundry detergent.  These 32 load bottles are costing me between 12.5*-.25* per load.  Along with the cost, my son has very sensitive skin and the doctor recommended using detergents that we safer for his skin; thus, my reasoning to make my own laundry detergent. Ok, so here we go!


1/3 bar of Fels Naptha or Ivory Bar Soap
1/2 cup Washing Soda
1/2 Borax powder
You will need a large container you can mix everything in and leave overnight.  We used a large pot, but a 5-gallon bucket or other container will work. 
**All ingredients can be found in the laundry soap isle. Please note that washing soda is different than baking soda!**

Grate the bar of soap then add to a pan and 6 cups of water. Cook this until the soap melts.  Combine the washing soda & Borax with the liquid soap and mix until everything is dissolved.  In your container, combine mixture with 4 cups of hot water and mix again.  After you have mixed this, add 22 cups of water and mix.  After this, let the mixture sit overnight.  Use around 1 "capfull" from your laundry soap container (or 1/3 cup) for a load.  So you know, this soap will not be completely liquid, nor will it be solid gel.  For us, it was a lumpy, liquid.  We also had ours sitting overnight outside with the temps in the garage cold, so you will want to take that into account. If you want to add some essential oil to make the detergent smell differently, you may also add a few drops of whatever you would like. For me, when I purchased all the ingredients, I spent $5~ however, I didn't use very much of any of the ingredients.  Due to using 1/3 of the bar of soap, I can make this 3 times. So, this is pretty cheap and makes a large quantity. Broken down, this will cost you less than .02* per load depending on how much you use and what brands you buy!

For an stronger soap you may want to add more Borax or washing soda.  The washing soda helps to break up grime.  

  • Now, on a different note, do I have any other couponers out there? I have been using coupons since we got married in 2008; but, last year, thanks to my friend Heather, I started using free websites to help get the best bang for my buck.  Because of my coupon obsession, I'm going to start keeping a monthly tally of how much we have spent on groceries, how much we have saved and ideas of what we have purchased. My next blog will be in regards to coupons, ideas, and ways to save.  Until then!

  • Saturday, January 14, 2012

    The Poor Girls Guide to Being Rich-Part 1

    Dave Ramsey said it best: To be rich, you must live like you're poor.  So, with this in mind, I've decided that 2012 will be the start to my "smart girl" life style.  In order to have the things we need, and the things we want, why not save money where we can to make things more affordable and easier on the wallet? So, in an effort to save money, and for the health of my child's sensitive skin, I've decided to begin to make so many things myself that on average take up most of our grocery money. 

    This week: Dish washing detergent!

    On average a load of dishes will cost you .02* per load.  Depending on if you get it on sale, it might be less.  Again, I went to my favorite grocery P-blix and got the Kosher Salt for .15* (it was on sale and with the use of coupons). I used the store brand of “Kool-Aid” which dropped the price as well. Total, it costs me less then a PENNY PER LOAD!

    Now, let’s look at it this way.  I wash at least 3 loads of dishes a week.  I was purchasing Dish Washing Tablets (not naming names) for $5 (price plus tax).  The package contained 20 county powerball tablets.  That means every load of dishes was costing .25* for the dish washing detergent.  I was paying $40+ a year for dish washing detergent, but now by making my own will pay roughly $2!!!!!!!! Yes, it’s not that much money~ BUT here is my point.  Why are we willing to pay so much money for things that we can make ourselves, and that are so much safer and healthier for our children?

    So here’s the formula:
    2 cups of Borax

    2 cups of Washing Soda

    4 small packets of sugar free LEMONADE Kool-Aid
    *the small packets in which you have to add sugar to are the “sugar free kind” you will need
    2 Tablespoons of Kosher Salt
    (The reason for the Kosher Salt? It helps to remove any residue on the dishes. )

    In a clean container, mix all of this together and it's ready to go!

    Only use 2 tablespoons per load of dishes.

    **This formula has worked for us. It might take some tweeking depending on how hard your water is. 

    Why not make our own products that are better for our families; and, while doing so, save some money that we can put towards other ventures.  Vacations? Home additions? Paying off debt? There are so many other things that are worth while that we could be putting our money towards. 

    I will only post recipes for things you can create on your own after I have tried them, so rest assured that they are working for someone. Once you try it, please feel free to comment and let us know how it’s working for you.  Next up on the list of things to create: Color Safe (non) Bleach, Laundry Detergent, Stain Pre-Treatment, Glass Cleaner, and General Cleansers. 

    If all of these work out, we can save ourselves hundreds of dollars a year! Let’s do this!

    Friday, December 23, 2011

    Additional Birthday Photos

    Here are some photos that were missing from the party post:

    I created a special sign and made Mickey Ears for people to write messages to Gavin on. After the party they were placed into a scrapbook for safe keeping until photos are printed and put in the scrapbook.  An idea is to have people take photos with the birthday boy/girl as they come in the door so you can put their message with their photo. 

    Meredith and I created this wreath for the front door to great people as they came in. Took some time, but such a great thing and can be used again! Simply take 3 wooden circles and attach with hot glue (or use any three rings you can find to make it cheaper!). Cut ribbon into small sections, tie and keep ends short to make them stick out. Easy and cute!

    Sunday, December 18, 2011

    Mickey Mouse 1st Birthday Party (on a budget too!)

    Gavin's 1st birthday went off without a hitch! AND we managed to do it all on budget.  We had 40 people attend the party. First, the groceries were purchased at my favorite grocery P-lix. They often do B1G1 Free, so for the weeks prior to the party, I stocked up on what I could freeze that I needed. All total we spent around 127 for the food. Here's how the table turned out: 

    I ended up printing off pictures for kids to color (free to print!!!!) from Disney Jr. Great idea, keeps kids busy, and it's FREE!  I printed a sign for the kids to know it was ok to have fun:
    The sign reads: Mickey's Masterpieces.

    Here's how the decorations all turned out: 

    Another way it was made a success (and remained on my $150 budget) was that my wonderful friends MADE his birthday cake and smash cake. The smash cake is the invitation and the birthday cake is the club house:

    AND the results of the wonderful party!

    I also made Mickey & Minnie ears (grand total of 12 dollars!) for people to wear for photos. Purchase black headbands ($5) then foam with a sticky backing (from the local arts and crafts stores). When you cut them out, make sure you cut a circle, leave a square then the next circle. It will allow you to have room to bend the ears around the headbands.  Also, we had Mousekatools. More photos will come as my family and friends upload them. 

    Friday, December 2, 2011

    Birthday on a Budget

     I'm about to go through a series of blogs to help with those out there on budgets or who are looking to cut back so they can put their money elsewhere.

    First, the average cost of a child's birthday party has grown drastically. Through my research, I've discovered that the new average for a birthday party is between $200-500. This is only for the "smaller groups" of around 30 people. So how can parents on tighter budgets pull off these "extravagant" parties and include everyone involved in their child's life? Here are some of my suggestions for those looking to have an amazing party on a tighter budget (and yes, I am doing this myself. Pictures will be posted on Monday, December 13):

    1.) Have the party at your home, a family or friends home: Renting a place to host a child's birthday party simply adds extra costs that are not necessary. If you have someone that has a large backyard (great for the warmer months), or someone who has enough rooms in their home to host, then this would help cut down on costs greatly.  We are hosting in our home, and plan to have around 35-40 people attend Gavin's birthday. So we are making sure that all rooms in the home that are "party friendly" are prepped and ready.

    2.) Create activities yourself: Why rent a bounce house when you can have just as much fun with homemade activities? There are great blogs and ideas out on the Internet, so take advantage.  For Gavin's party, the children will have an area where they can color and decorate cookies.  Other ideas would be a cupcake decorating area. This means you just have to bake the cupcakes and it will save you time on decorating them yourself! You can also have picture frame areas so the children can make frames to put their picture in from the party to show their parents. 

    3.) Make you own trays & food: Party trays are so easy to purchase really quickly from our favorite restaurants and grocery stores. I love them; however, I don't love the price when I look at it.  Honestly, why pay $40 for a fruit tray when I can make it myself for a smaller amount. Purchase trays at the local Dollar Store and fill them up with adult & kid friendly food.  All food at Gavin's party will be made by either myself, or two of my best friends (thanks Karis and Meredith!).  We've got another trick up our sleeve to save money on the food. COUPONS! All the food we are making, I am in the process of seeking out coupons and getting things on sale.  A great website to help you with couponing: . It's a free site, has every state on there, and nearly every store. They update and will email you when they have new lists, and they even give you an area where you can print coupons!

    Good luck and happy savings!!!

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    Another great project completed for a Mickey party!

    So, after seeing great ideas on Pinterest, I decided to create labels for the food at Gavin's party. All the labels I had seen were cute, but they were basic in that they were just attached to the container. So again, to go overboard, I created Mickey and Minnie heads and placed the labels on them.

    First, I took styrofoam balls and cut them in half. I painted each one black. I also painted wooden skewers black and cut them in thirds. I made sure they were all sizes to the table will have some depth to it.  For the paper, I cut out basic shapes, then used scrap booking scissors to cut out the labels and placed them on the colorful backgrounds. Finally, I used foam sheets that have glitter on them and cut them out to make the ears.

    By leaving the space between the two circles, you are able to easily attach these to the skewers.

    Finally, for the Minnie heads, I pinned ribbons on there and done! I would have to say, the hardest part of this was coming up with the food.  I wanted to serve food that would appeal to adults since that was the majority of the party, but sound fun for kids as well.  You can see some of the ideas I had. If you'd like a list of more foods, let me know! Here's the completed project:

    Saturday, November 19, 2011

    1st Birthday Party and Christmas collide

    A few months ago, I was speaking with my best friend about my son's first birthday party. Naturally, I planned to have a Mickey Mouse themed party since Gavin seems to love Mickey. While talking, we realized that my wonderful home was going to be a winter wonderland during the party. Gavin, being one of those lucky children, was born a short time before Christmas.  As a holiday baby myself, the 4th of July, I understand the challenge of having a birthday that can be overshadowed by other holiday decorations.

    So, in an effort to go "over board", my friend and I have taken on the task of creating the perfect Mickey party.

    The first plan in our grand scheme, to give the right feel from the first moment people are invited. A.K.A: The Invitations!

    We used a Cricut to cut the Mickey heads, and glued "pants" on with real buttons for a nice embellishment.  We slid the small cutout (thanks embellishment scissors) invitation into the pants.
    I downloaded a Walt Disney (FREE!) font, and created the wording:
    The envelopes were run through the printer so they had Disney font as well, and the return address was "Gavin's Playhouse".

    Right now, I'm working on signs for the food, a wreath for the door, a topiary for the table, 2 banners, and several other projects.  For other ideas, email me @, but for now, here's the start of a wonderful party!